Katherine E. Young

“Spring rain beats on broken branches”


Spring rain beats on broken branches

everything smells strong, wet, restless. 

Where are we going, where will we turn?

Here’s the mouth of the alley with

the bell tower at the end. Here’s

the drowned boulevard. Here’s the courtyard

and playground with the foot-worn earth. 

And, like a gift, a child’s lost glove….

Swings, pigeons, the litter of trees.

Remnants of snow in the shadow

of ancient walls. Push me, swing me.

I go numb on takeoff, even now.



Translated by Katherine E. Young

“Spring rain beats on broken branches” first appeared in English on the website of the Stephen Spender Trust, where it was presented with other winning translations in the 2014 Joseph Brodsky-Stephen Spender competition for the translation of Russian poetry into English. 


 You can read and listen to the poem in the original Russian here.