Trial By Fire

Анатолий ИЗОТОВ | Поэзия


Trial By Fire

I call to mind my first battle as a dream:
Our squadron was encircled in a ring,
And death impended as the only true,
But we all trusted we would battle through.
The missiles bursted in a vicious anger;
When our commander half-rose upon the sangar,
The canvas of the grass was coloured red
With shoulder and the halfmoon of his head.

He who returned us from the shock to fire line
Was our lieutenant, spectacles bright.
With the entreaty «Follow me!» he cried,
And so we did in this unequal fight.
We bristled up like storm upon the field —
That was the way how our squadron felt
When breaking out through the crisscross fire.
We brought on belts the wounds who was in dire,
We volleyed, felled, we bellied on the ground
In plots of land that had been plowed around,
And our luff led us, like seasoned fighter,
By throws to points where firing was quieter.
Through junctures in defences by the wrenches,
Through woodland fields and through deep drawn trenches,
By curving line between the mortal shells,
Through slopes of blind creeks, through wilds of dells,
Through the mistakes of those in head shed,
By bound between the living and the dead.

We were so angry drenched in sweat, with empty flasks
That were as pierced as fighters shot on task,
But our luff took easily a dare —
Now crouched to land, than straighten as an arrow,
He stepped out, taking everything aboard,
Like he was viewing enemy`s map-board.

He wasn`t strong at close-handed fights,
But when our squadron, like it was one mind,
Was forced into the heart of foe`s tranches
To cut the claws that hold so many dangers,
Our dweeby fixed his glasses with a swathe
And put in motion hideous grimace.

He bayoneted and knocked off the foe with butt,
He cursed like sailor, cried «Hooray» from heart,
And all of us were struggling with all might
To feel at once that we will win the fight,
And leaving thousands of the deaths behind
The way to the division we will find.
And in this battle — cruel, full of danger,
Our luff became for me the guiding angel,
A father and a brother in one man
For times of war, and life that lasted then.

But fortune left me suddenly that day —
At river sniping fire crossed my way,
And when that needle snitched me to end it,
Then our luff upon my wound had bended.
And I have prayed Gods, and skies, and hell
With all their force protect him from the shell.

The Red Army

(Miroslava Florian translated from Check into Russian)

Petrol and herbs smelled
Of soldiers of that parade
A nightingale rain on Vltava
Tasted homegrown Tabaco

The air crackled with ozone
I’d like to sip it now.
A cherry tree above the horizon
Bloomed an exploding bomb.

Petrol and herbs smelled
That May with “Katyushas”, with songs
They opened my wounded land
Like it was a book of songs.

At the Landfill

I jumped off the car and stood upon command
Put to a leg a bronzed AK
And listened to how to manage a weapon
To have a keen eye and steady hand

The last cartridge is downed in the magazine
The shutter, like a bulldog jaw, snapped
As a predator freezes before when fighting
I froze buried in a turf rest

I merged with an iron, monstrous force —
I pay for a death just grams of efforts.
I would not cope with the frail in a ring
Here come: can cope with anyone!

My enemy is stamped with green paint
But I see it clear: the chest and the head
And even the eyes under flattened helmet
Maybe he’s life? At all I don’t care!

I do not care that his mum in her womb
Has carried, has raised, and took care of him
To ruin and maim today I am called
It’s law and order: I must shoot!

The steel shook, I feel a recoil,
The stitched through silhouette slightly startled
Here I’m fine, I don’t squirm or cry.
And there’s no dead friend around.

Routinely they look down to targets,
A friend reported the shooting results —
Major noted «Perfect!» in journal: —
Whole long line shot in the heart.

A gun in my hand… the same chest I see
In a loop, it’s enough if you catch
Designer came up with a bigger calibre
That can destroy even with touch!

I’m a warrior, not a boy I discovered
With a cold heart and a stern face,
Defender of Fatherland, helmet and straps…
And my silhouette’s on the opponent’s target…

In the barracks, I dreamed a concrete prism —
I ruled over start of long-distance missiles
In the name of protecting communistic ideas,
And something like this, I thought to myself:

“You don’t hunt for tiger with atomic bomb
Even for animal – a giant elephant
With it megapolic can be burnt out to drop
And whole army will disappear completely

As before, the main enemy of man
Man himself appears, first!
In the twentieth century all the achievements
Have not changed this course.”

Then I thought about militant blocks
NATO, CENTO, other enemies,
About the future and past ages…
My eyes dazzles from the battles…

A cannot argue to myself too long,
It is worthless to keep an internal ringing
But my faith in world brotherhood
Was broken like glass at that landfill.

Thoughts of a trophy British tank

The symbol of evil and engineering vision
This tank was put to guard
That in vile, predatory mission
Had to burn down or totally crush.

From armor sewn with stitch of rivets,
Emerges through the rusty mold
Consumption heat of working Europe
And Entente’s peg that have come down.

And slants remember heavy armor
Sacrifice of cabala, fear and lie:
A rookie pressed down in ground
In the conflagration of ripe rye.

He was shaking like in winter frost,
He trashed like fish about in the net.
The Commissar convinced him: there’s no Christ
Saw: The power of evil there is!

Death Beast squints with eye sockets,
Smashing the front, creeping to rear.
And plows with tracks
The narrow gaps mass graves.

Tried-and-true warriors shuddered,
People experienced like —
And they scatter in panic around
To the bones ironed platoon.

Here a sailor, a tall guy from Kursk,
Overcame cowardly rigor,
With steam of choicest four-letter words,
Went to monster with binded bombs.

Motivates him a stubborn courage —
To a fear rebellious soul
(Later, the whole army rushes
The ice boiling water of Sivash …)

And yet loner is crawling
In a hot and prickly stubble —
No a tuber or saving mounds,
And he has no protecting armor.

Moans and horse neighing relented,
Even the roar of cannons hushed.
Only Mars growls in anticipation,
Every moment demanding lives.

Why the sailor takes so long like dead?
Maybe he was pecked by death. —
Of the seven embrasures guns
Checking every meter.

No, he’s alive! (I’m so glad my friend,
Even tears gushed from eyes).
Here flies under bottom of iron
Tied with a ribbon fougasse.

Whether confidence made shooters dizzy
Whether driver gaped for a moment,
But the battering ram, crawling fortress
Suddenly stumbled on the dynamite,

Suddenly crack changed with chirring,
As if repenting of what had done ,
And stood like a grinning lizard
In a strange devastated land.

It’s nightmarish than Goya’s fictions
Until now, the whole horror it keeps.
I’d forged busts of heroes
On the armor of the defeated.

Their will and nerves were not trampled
Tons of steel and chain track clang,
They had to rush at first,
But, alas, not the last tank.

They have proved that can endure,
And Win, later and ever!
Black ghost of burned down planet
Causes fever in labor planet.

It spins around in space routes,
From sea, from the thickness of the ice,
It creeps out like giant track
In the living flesh of cities.

You can’t keep it a network of radars,
Palisade of supernova missiles ….
And yet in the hands of billions people
There is no way to rinse it from Earth.

The rocket

A simple rocket has a thought embodied:
To burn itself for good to ashes,
To only dash its whole way skywards,
No scattering major things en route.

To stop in focus of its pathway
in sky o’er the muslin furrow,
And spatter sparkles all around
As it explodes as dazzling star.

A rocket has the flames of splendid souls,
As bright these souls possess a part of it
So captivates us singer with her voice
When spirits are her gone ablaze.

A rocket has some lofty sense embodied:
Unmatched in corruption and blast-off,
The dream is dead as mighty Sphynx,
Until it burns down, fades as sweat.

In simple rocket with sorcery of fire
And speed mislaid solution is:
As how to leave the gravity of earth
And brace the emptiness of space,

As how to join the tons of power
Collect in a cigar shaped ship
So that civilisation’s son Gagarin
Could beam with rocket all of earth.

One can’t forget the flames of rocket.
Filed as a history they are,
When cruel fireworks of Katiushas
Led us to Victory through pain and tears.

Attire festive is in the flames of rocket,
But mourning ribbons are in trail
And smouldering ruins of the planet,
And blissful eyes have restless glance.

The age of rockets. Who could have guessed!
The toy grew up and up as fable,
Behold some play the world with it:
So let mankind exist or not?

A rocket big has thought embodied:
To show the way with light to people,
So that mankind could rise, ascend
No loosing major things en route.

About the author:

Anatoly Izotov is a poet and a writer. He was born in the summer of 1940 in the Kaluga region. He graduated from the Novocherkassky Polytechnic Institute. Worked in the VIOGEM Research Institute of (Belgorod) and has become its chief engineer. Now he is the assistant professor of the Belgorod State University and has been writing in prose since 1965. 
His early works include the novel «Hunting for Cleopatra», the short novels «Farhad», «For those who are in field” he couldn`t publish for a long time in virtue of the specifics of his job in a secret field of work. From 2005 to 2010 he published four books in limited edition — a book of poems, a story-book and two novels. He is a member of the International Union of Writers (candidate).

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