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to Valentina Serova

Don't be angry if I write
Only just from time to time,
Writing now, and then again,
Waiting till another time.

Letters come in many forms:
Some are sick and some are sad,
Brilliant just occasionally,
Far more often very bad.

Letters leave a lot unsaid,
Often are not understood,
Seem to mean more than they do,
Fail to mention what they should.

If I live, you will not need
Letters, you will have the man.
If I die, to read my words
May be more than sorrow can.

When you travel, you will not
Heavy trolleys need to trundle.
They will fit into your bag,
Folded in a slender bundle.

When you're married, comes a time,
When you need a little cry -
You can quickly reach them down
And as swiftly put them by.

When you've locked the bedroom door,
Kept them from his jealous gaze,
Spare a kind and grateful thought
For your lover's lazy ways.

Say "It's better that he wrote
Only just from time to time,
Writing now, and then again,
Waiting till another time."

1941

Konstantin Simonov