PROLGUE II & III
Quietly flows the quiet Don,
Yellow moon slips into a home.
He slips in with cap askew,
He sees a shadow, yellow moon.
This woman is ill,
This woman is alone,
Husband in the grave, son in prison,
Say a prayer for me.
No, it is not I, it is somebody else who is suffering.
I would not have been able to bear what happened,
Let them shroud it in black,
And let them carry off the lanterns ...
Gently flows the gentle Don,
Yellow moonlight leaps the sill,
Leaps the sill and stops aston-ished as it sees the shade
Of a woman lying ill,
Of a woman stretched alone.
Son in irons and husband clay.
No, it is not I, it is someone else who is suffering.
I could not have borne it. And this thing which has
Let them cover it with black cloths,
And take away the lanterns ...
Trans. D.M. Thomas