You have gone for a short time. God forbid we should meet again. I am headed East by cattle car, Sentenced, God willing, to the mines. You wonít cry and you wonít grieve, Nor see the family, young or old. I donít give a damn, Iíll be out here Digging the fatherlandís gold. All has stopped; the wheels stand still. The rails and ties have reached an end. Had I the tears, the air Iíd rend, But tears no longer flow on earth. Never mind, donít wait, Godspeed! Donít let my hardship cause you pain. But remember this, God willing. Our paths shall one day cross again. My term will end; I shall survive And be a free man yet! But here in exile I sleep on planks And try my best to forget. If windswept forests, endless blue I find, How can I hold my tears? Kilometers seven thousand lie behind. Ahead? Seven blue years1.
1 The Russian word for "blue" used here (sineva) also means "blue rot", a fungus disease of timber, implying the psychic and physical rot of imprisonment.
© Misha Allen. Translation, 1969