From the frontier we made the earth turn in reverse (That was at the beginning) But our squadron commander corrected its course As his boots sent the Urals spinning At last we were given the word to attack, To retake every inch that we prized so - But we never forgot how the sun, turning back, Almost sank on the Eastern horizon. With our feet our advance we don’t measure, Nor vainly the flowers do we crush. With our boots we apply all our pressure, And we push! And we push! In the wind from the east the stacked hay is laid low And the sheep huddle up to the rocks as, Without using a fulcrum, directing the blow, We turn the earth round on its axis. Have no fear when the sun fails to set in the West, For Doomsday’s a tale for the old ones. The earth’s just rotated wherever is best At the will of our marching battalions. We cling to the low hills for protection - Hating this evil so much. We press down on the earth, our knees flexing, And we push! And we push! In this place shall you find not one soldier alive, Ready to hand himself over. But the corpses are useful to those who survive. To the living the dead offer cover. Will this stupid lead finish us all off at once, From the rear, or point-blank find its bullet? Ahead someone’s stormed an emplacement for guns, And the earth has stood still for a minute. My footsteps I’ve left with my fellows - I mourn for each poor fallen soul. I turn the earth’s sphere with my elbows - And I pull! And I pull! A soldier stands up, and then instantly falls, Got by a slug in the gizzard. But westward, still westward our company crawls To make sure that the sun rises eastward. We crawl through the mud ignoring the stench With which the dank marsh is infested. The sun from its usual path does not flinch, For we’ve burst through the battle-lines westward. Like wedding guests, fresh dews we sample Careless whether our limbs are still whole. Our teeth take the earth by the stubble, And we push! And we pull!
© Kathryn Hamilton. Translation, 1988