Autor: by Alexander Fainberg
Authorized translation: by Sergei Zubkov
Illustrations: by Leyla Basharova
Is the sea pitching and rolling fast?
Yes, but let the wave be steep
to the most,
Dreamer crucified across the mast
Will be first-noticed by his Dream
from a distant spot.
I’m lazy sunbathing and fishing
At the riverside biting a grass-blade
Tackling the problem: to get up or
Or to flick from the face a cool
grain of sand.
A wave’s lapped. A martin
A ferryman shouted at boys
in a boat…
Afresh golden peace and quiet
And water surface does not sway
Dragon-flies are suspended over
grass in the air.
Spider’s web across the sky is
A narrow path runs through
To the river’s low bank green
with water meadows.
Clouds in the noon sky have
Such radiant joy’s reigning in the heart,
That there’s no way for being a skinflint
Ages for a wink of quiet bliss willing
So…Well, craving for a quiet bliss… You have got a hope!
TV and radio airwaves are packed to capacity with alarmed voices of studio commentators. Tragic newspaper and magazine photo-accounts lash across the eyes.
“Massacre in South Ossetia…water supply – destroyed…” “Terror in Mumbai – killers came by water in boats…”
“Flood in China…Evacuated…”
“Taiga is in flames…”
“Flood is progressing in Stavropol…Water-wells jammed with silt…No drinking water available…”
It is unbearable neither to listen to nor to watch. There is Venice in Siberia. Bellowing cows fright-stricken are taken across high waters in Gondolas. Halloo! America, UN, Europe, India. Hi! My crazy world! The world of terror acts, rapists, billionaires, beggars, show-gangsters.
Oh sheer mental house of mine! My dear Planet! Whom and what have we sinned against to receive so severe a punishment? Cities have been sinking; and as to Your woods, my Lord, they are blazing in fires and no water is available to put them out. Special fire-killing airplanes are not in sufficient numbers. What’s the matter?! But I must halt. What right do I have to disturb the Creator? Isn’t it high time for me and for you, and for all of us to use our heads and understand that one ought always to remember the popular wisdom – “cast no dirt in the well that gives you water” – the water-well granted to us by heavens? People are born to work but not to fight wars. You never know what may happen once. All may go to hell – and you and me and even leaders of religious confessions and governments. Here they are – seas befouled with oil, dolphins leaping out to beaches from radioactive contaminated waves, acid rains. And all these happen because of us – people. That’s why water rises in rebellion; – now…escaping from rivers and seas, now…attacking towns and villages.
To loll on the sand behind
Towards the wave I stretch
Let them wash and tell me
All should protect our waters
Wind and waves take my
In oblivion dispatching
all of them,
I’m not afraid to sail too far
and fall prey
To my sinful ever undying
Though I‘ve been unfaithful
My courage never failed me, I
broke no pledges
Seeking consolation in
The celestial protectress forgives
I’ll share happiness with all
Rocks, seagulls, waves, sails and
Where’s the Sea of Luck, where’re
Islands of Happiness?
Who’d provide me with heavenly
Also, I’ve got a vision of the Aral Sea rapidly disappearing with every passing day. Very long ago various committees had been established for saving the dying sea. Business trips, assignments, per diem, salaries…But skeletons of fish and ships remain to be skeletons. It’s tragedy of the planet. Truth to tell, one Russian sage caused confusion in the senior executives’ ranks of the committees on saving the sea, and for a while made them pondering. He uttered a word of wisdom: “It’s expedient to drop down icebergs from the Arctic Ocean into the Aral depression”.
A clever person he is.., – Ilya Muromets has wakened up. Would you, please, put him to sleep once more for the period of about eight hundred years!
No, not the vast Sahara desert can be seen on the African continent through seven-colored rainbows. I’ve the vision of a small country. I have something in common with it through my ancient ancestors. As a matter of fact, kinship is very distant – from time immemorial. The country is called Israel. I’d prefer to refrain from making a remark about dried-up limestone soil of the desert, serving as the farming land fertilized by sweat and human blood for growing green grass and palms, pine woodlands on the hillsides and tangerine groves. But then, one lady-emigrant from Kiev dared to lecture native Israelis on Sinai history:
– Your Moses (she used the abusive language) had been taking you along through the desert for forty years. Instead of bringing his people to Kuwait land full with oodles of oil, he dragged them here…
What a humor caper, ah! That’s wailing, isn’t it? My I ask you, young perky lady, – what brought you here from independent Ukraine – the blessed nation among the countries – to this pitiful state, the Promised Land? However let you —- off (I’d better abstain from using the four-letter language). It’s not that what I mean. I’m speaking about Н2О. There are three seas surrounding the country – the country occupying the territory that is hardly equals the area of Tashkent province. Three seas, but they are all salty. And desalination plants are more expensive than purchase of soft water from Turkey. Cisterns are everywhere – on every roof. Collecting drops. The only fresh water lake is Kinereth has been waiting for precipitation – snow or rain. All over the country – beg your pardon – toilet sinks are equipped with two handles; one of them dumps less, another one – more water. And it goes without saying, water meters are everywhere. Not to mention drip irrigation. By the way, the one who had hit the “drip watering” idea used to be a resident of Tashkent. But it so happened that at that time there lived soviet red tape clerks who managed to sink this flash of inspiration in the paper sea. So, the inventor had taken his heels and got to the Jordan River banks – and now descendants of those clerks purchase the drip technology from the Middle East country at the account of common taxpayers – and I am in their number.
In essence, this idea springs from chygkyr. It’s the same, isn’t it?
There is a startling phenomenon. When wild nature is overtaken by the drought period then all the animals would simultaneously bend heads to remaining water sources: among them lions, cheetahs, leopards, and, what are most astonishing, – antelopes and zebras. None of these vegetarian animals escapes from beasts of prey and none of the latter attack to feed. At this time, water reconciles every creature, balance, so to say conflicting interests. It is normal, isn’t it? So, do we – people – need the doomsday global dry heat to make peace with each other in the long run?
What else? Ages ago it had been well known that to assure achieving a turn for the better a person has to start such betterment from improving oneself. And if misfortune overtakes personally you, look back – haven’t you once upon a time been a cause of pain, mental anguish or similar misfortune to someone? Let it be very long ago, let be unintentional. Doesn’t its return serve you right? Didn’t somebody’s tear roll down sometime – a tear of somebody whom you reduced to tears – tears that rolled down upon the page of The Book of Providence? Had not that page got covered with tar from a tree cut down to no purpose? Let it be not you who cut it. But you simply passed by, minding your own business. Everybody is guilty – of everything.
It’s my fault that in vain animals die.
I’m not quite aware of the reasons why –
A mother in countryside wipes sad tears,
Son in the metropolis is deaf – nothing
I am guilty of all railway-n-air crashes.
I’m guilty. Of my crime – no witnesses.
My fault – the crop is killed by
And the ship’s team drowned in the
For emissions of the reactor’s wreck I’m
for cracks of fires, age-old trees
I’m to blame for crucifying The Saviour,
who later rose from under the shroud
Volcano-torrents of inferno coals
Burn the planet’s face – to everything
I plead guilty, oh Lord, oh heaven, for
my only sin
Imploring: “Please, don’t you accuse me
There are many waterfalls on the Earth. Image of one of them has crossed my mind – it is called Niagara. Splendid! Super! Inconceivable amount of water! And there are also the Arctic and Antarctic. Immense amounts of ice!
I remember the day when the oldest Tashkent cinema theatre was demolished – for the building had been damaged in the notorious 1966 earthquake. What a sight! Firstly, plush fabric curtains fell down from the advertising windows, and all everybody sees Stalin’s sculpture busts looking at my – dusty at that time – mother-town. The sculptures that had been concealed – just in case – de bene esse. We see about a hundred small Stalin’s busts grouped around the big one. What were they looking at? Oh, but they stared at our land where aryks had desiccated because of our natural disaster. And from under the ground springy sprouts of stern camel’s-thorn (Alhagi camelorum) begin to shoot. Where do we live? So, a set phrase “Water is life” is not a garish slogan, but the noiseless genuine truth. Didn’t we once fish in the purest canal Salar catching out silver marinkas with bamboo fishing rods? There used to be such a fish in our time. This I say for youngsters, who might accidentally read these lines. There was time when the fish could be found in city waterways. Yes, we enjoyed the Salar and aryks from which we gulped down water – flushed from a football game. Surprisingly, even without concrete flumes those aryks were always clean, full of pure transparent running water similar to mountain springs. Tiny baby fishes dashed away when we cooled our faces in aryk water. Every spring all of us went out to clean and drudge these aryks – with spades and shovels, dustpans and choppers. Nobody forced anybody, nobody summoned – all on their own.
Transparent wings of dragonflies – they stand still over waterside brush of sedge. Water is flowing in the wide aryk. Let it flow forever – hope to God! And let a boy and a girl stand alongside a chigkyr.
– I cannot, – my young friend says – pull a hose over the tap. There is an aryk over there. I plop with my bucket into the aryk and water my furrows. Say, what about making myself some small makeshift chigkyr – why not?
Then staying for a while silent, he sighs out: – Provided if there is enough water…
And in conclusion: – I hate when Н2О has been permanently dropping from a faulty stopcock with no use – dropping to obscurity, to nowhere.
Not much remains. Now – just a little remains…
To look at the sky – wave farewell to friends.
Fairy-colored leaves of autumn grove-trees,
Bearing no grudge I touch red rowan berries.
Nothing’s left, but to remember only one thing,
Trees and flowers also suffer remorse’s sting.
An icy cold spring reflects all colors of the fall
And is iridescent like a Russian orthodox icon.
In the end I’d like to hear the parting song of
a sunset bird, to worship Water – all I long for.
So much remains! So little of you will be left!
So much is omitted to make…So much is left…
There is so much zest for life.
From the swimming pool…dripped with splashes of a city’s fountain…between boulders in a turbulent river…to sand beach pebbles of the blue lake… they are running out – a dark-haired boy and a golden-haired girl. And rainbows, rainbows, rainbows are emanating from their wide-spread hands.