Konstantin Simonov

"I want to say to you 'You are my wife!'.."

to Valentina Serova

I want to say to you "You are my wife!"
Because you were not called that by the rest,
Because to my old home, destroyed by war,
You're hardly likely now to come as guest;

Because I have not always wished you well,
Because I've had no sympathy from you,
Because one night, without my asking, you
Came to me just when you wanted to.

I want to say to you "You are my wife!"
Not so that I can tell them you're my own,
For after all, our true relationship
Has long been guessed and generally known.

I do not boldly boast about your beauty,
Nor of the fame and fortune you have found.
Enough for me the gentle, secret woman
Who came into my house without a sound.

Death levels all the claims of worldly glory
And beauty's like a station that we pass;
And she who had it jealously compares it
With what she sees before her in the glass.

I want to say to you "You are my wife!"
Because the endless days of absence tear me,
Because I know a stranger's hand must close
The eyes of very many of those near me.

Because you were so honest with me, darling,
And made no vows of loving evermore,
And only at the final hour of parting
Lied that you loved me, as I went to war.

Whose are you now? Are you still mine or no?
My heart cannot stretch out to what I lack...
Forgive me if I say you are my wife -
It is my privilege. I may not come back...