from Greek and Roman Catholic Songs and Nursery Rhymes

Timur Kibirov

[When Pontius Pilate, from the vantage]

When Pontius Pilate, from the vantage
of progressive culture and cutting-edge knowledge,
asked the arrested Jew,
"What is Truth?"—

He didn't expect or even want
to hear an answer.
He knew, of course, that
there are no answers . . .

Lately, those a priori notions,
the loftiness of that philosophy,
have become axioms for all our poor kids,
reprinted all over the Internet,
in newspapers, pamphlets, and on cassettes,
not to mention my half-witted couplets.

Any questions?
No questions.

Corporate Event

But when the vine-growers saw the son,
they said among themselves, This is the heir;
come, let us kill him, and let us seize on
his inheritance.
Matthew 21:38

Vine-growers and winemakers!
Free workers
of the free vineyard!
      Eván, evohé!
During the last quarter,
our productivity, unfortunately, has fallen off.
In addition, we can't deny a certain decline
in the characteristic quality
of the products we deliver.
Naturally, we are alarmed
by this downward trend,
      Eván, evohé!—
the issue of land rights
and the issue of property holdings
have finally been resolved in our favor
and officially documented
in the proper legal format.
We have every reason to hope—
      Eván, evohé!—
that we'll overcome any negative propensities
in the very near future.
Now we can finally
build up our enterprise
on scientific principles
in an effort to attract some of the most advanced,
cutting-edge technologies.
Our creative department has already prepared several—
      Eván, evohé!—
exceptionally interesting proposals.
In order to implement them,
of course, we need
major capital investments,
but, ladies and gentlemen,
but, my fellow comrades,
we have already received confirmation
that a controlling stake in the company was sold
to a certain very experienced manager—
to the most experienced one!
To the one true Lord!
And now—
      Eván, evohé!
Let's eat! 

After Dorothy Sayers

In the night, the dumb ox lowed to the donkey:
"Can you hear, brother, the sounds from the valley,
            the neighs and the horseshoes' clang?
From magical lands, from the edge of the world,
wise magi hasten and kings gallop toward us
            to bow to the King of Kings!
But before all the rest of them, I—a silly,
            dawdling ox—bowed to Our Child!"

In the night, the lop-eared donkey cried out:
"Look at all the angels up there, brother ox,
            who have lit up the midnight darkness!
For this one and only time, this joyful time,
the Heavenly Powers have come together
             in the sky to sing His praises!
But before them all, I—a stubborn old ass—
             have already praised Our Child!

Glory to God in the highest! Hee-haw, hee-haw!
Glory, glory to the Child in the manger!"


translated from the Russian by Jamie Olson