Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SODA-WATER SLOT-MACHINE, by BELLA AKHMADULINA

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE SODA-WATER SLOT-MACHINE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A modern enigmatic little boy
Last Line: Offering a traveler a drink.

A modern enigmatic little boy
Stopped before a soda-water slot-machine
And bought himself a beverage labeled "tangerine,"
As easily as winding up a toy.
He deposited a kopeck in the slot,
This tot, unimpressed by the fantastic,
And the genie, with machinery gymnastic,
Spurted water in the glass like a shot.
Oh, to share his cool conviction for an hour!
For an hour to be so intimate with magic!
But no, I am not unworthy; it is tragic
That my fingers cannot grasp the sugared shower?
This child, inured to miracles from birth,
Picks up the glass with facets seven
That shatter the refracted light of heaven
Into rainbows projected on earth.
Envying his feat, I do the same;
With fearful palpitations take the risk
Of slipping in the slot-machine my disc:
The stake that gives me entrance to the game.
Out of the confinement of its cell
The emancipated liquid gaily gushes,
An ebullience of smiles and rosy blushes,
Over-brimming the crystalline well.
I taste the glowing nectar, and my lips
Are stung by evanescent effervescence
And the seven rainbow flavors, its quintessence,
Imbibed in reverential sips.
The slot-machine emits a copper clink
As it watches me with aspect unimpassioned,
Like a peasant girl with courtesy old-fashioned,
Offering a traveler a drink.

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