There Lived a Red-Haired Man

There lived a red-haired man
Who had no eyes or ears.
He also had no hair,
So he is only called a redhead in theory.

He couldn’t speak, as he had no mouth.
He had no nose either.
He didn’t even have hands or feet.
And no stomach, nor back,
Nor spine, nor any insides at all.
He was absolutely empty!

So it’s unclear exactly whom we are discussing.
In fact, it’s better not to talk about him anymore.

Daniil Kharms (1937)

The Violin, A Bit Nervously

The violin, overcome, pleading,
Suddenly began to weep
So like a child
That the drum couldn’t bear it:
“Enough, enough, enough!”
But worn out himself,
He didn’t stay through the violin’s lament,
Crept out to the burning Kuznetsky Bridge,
And left.
The orchestra watched coldly as
The violin emptied itself of sobs,
Without a word,
Without a beat,
And only somewhere
A foolish cymbal
“What is it?”
“What’s going on?”
And when the tuba,
Yelled out,
You wimp,
Stop crying!”
I stood up,
Stumbling over the sheet music,
The music stands bent over in horror,
And for some reason I cried out:
“My God!”
And threw myself on its wooden neck:
“You know what, violin?
We’re awfully similar:
I too
Weep –
But can’t say why!”
The musicians laughed:
“Look at that!
– He’s found his wooden bride!
What an idiot!”
But I couldn’t care less!
I’m nice, violin.
“You know what?
Come – Let’s live together,

Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (1914)

A Man Set Out from Home One Day

A man set out from home one day,
With just a stick and sack,
And long he walked,
And long he walked,
Never turning back.

His walk was straight and forward and
His kept his gaze ahead,
He did not eat,
he did not drink,
He did not rest his head.

And on his way one afternoon,
He walked into a wood,
And since that time,
And since that time,
He disappeared for good.

But if by chance while traveling,
You meet him as a you go,
When you see him,
When you see him,
Kindly let us know.

Daniil Kharms (1937)

Note from the translator: This poem is from Kharms’ collection of poetry for children – I’ve tried to preserve as much of the meter and rhyme as possible.

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