‘Мама, мама, когда мы будем дома?’ (‘Mother, mother, when will we return home?’) by Yan Satunovsky

Mother, mother,
when will we return home?
When we will see
our sweet plebeian yard
and hear
our neighbors talking:

– Oh Lord, we were so frightened,
we ran so fast,
and you?
– In Andizhane we lived,
and you?
– In Siberia,
and you?
– And we were killed.

I want so much to be back home,
so that all that happened would be over
and so that everything was fine.
.                                         1941
– Yan Satunovsky

translated by Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya

Мама, мама,
когда мы будем дома?
Когда мы увидим
наш дорогой плебейский двор
и услышим
соседей наших разговор:

– Боже, мы так боялись,
мы так бежали,
а вы?
– А мы жили в Андижане,
а вы?
А мы в Сибири,
а вы?
– А нас убили.

так хочется уже быть дома,
чтобы всё, что было, прошло,
и чтоб всё было хорошо.
.                                         1941
– Yan Satunovsky

‘Мама, мама, когда мы будем дома?’ by Yan Satunovsky has been published in Rochford Street Review in both Russian and English with his daughter Viktoria Pashkovskaya’s permission. The English translation, ‘Mother, mother, when will we return home?’ is by Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya.


Yan Satunovsky (Iakob Abramovich Satunovsky, Ян Сатуновский, 1913-1982) was a Russian poet and literary critic. He had a degree in physical chemistry and worked as an engineer. He starting writing poetry in 1938 and his early work is close to that of the Russian constructivist poets in form and style. He was in the army in World War II. He was awarded several medals but was also wounded. After the war, he worked and lived in Elektrostal city near Moscow. In 1961, he joined the Russian unofficial poetry group Lianozovo. During the Soviet era, only his poems for children were officially published in the USSR, although a number of poems were published outside of Russia.
Satunovsky’s poetic voice is that of a person who was run over by the totalitarian era and who stands alone to oppose the mass insanity. He writes about humanism and human values when the state values prevail. He was possibly the first Soviet poet who spoke out about the Holocaust. His poetry was written after the horror of Auschwitz and the Gulag. It seeks the truth and genuine beauty among lies and terror.
His books include Хочу ли я посмертной славы. Москва, 1992 (Do I dream of the posthumous fame. Moscow, 1992); Рубленая проза. Мюнхен, Otto Sagner Verlag, 1994 (Rustic prose. Munich, Otto Sagner Verlag, 1994); and Среди бела дня. Москва, ОГИ, 2001 (In broad daylight. Moscow, OGI, 2001).

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