Ilya Ehrenburg in the 1910s / Image courtesy of Чтобы помнили
In the Train Car
by Ilya Ehrenburg
The gentleman swayed and dozed in his cabin, swaying
to the right, to the left, and back again.
He swayed alone, restless.
He swayed away from life and what he’d lived.
My friend, you are on your way as well,
but where will we be bound tomorrow?
Believe me: these feeble faces,
the darkness, suitcases, and parcels,
the dawn that silently steams
among charred peasant houses
under a white sky, fleeing aimlessly,
shaking off and then absorbing
everything lusts, flags, and maddens at last
for its one and only end.