Mimosa (Sergei Mikhalkov, 1972)

Who’s this person lying down,
Piled with blankets stuffed with down?
Who’s this, resting on three pillows
Near a table laid with food?
Who has left his bed a mess,
Who took centuries to dress,
Who washed his cheeks with tepid water
Just as gently as he could?

It’s a grandpa, you must mean,
Aged one hundred and fourteen?

Who grabs a cake and starts to chew
And says: “Gimme some juice now, too!
Gimme this,
And gimme that!
That’s not what you’re supposed to do!”

Is this someone we heard speak
Lame and weak?

So who is he?
And why is he
Given winter booties and
Thick fur mitts to warm his hands,
So he won’t catch any chills
Or a deadly flu that kills,
Though it’s sunny out and though
For six months we’ve had no snow?

Is he going to the North Pole,
To bears swimming in an ice hole?

Take a better look and — wait!
It’s just Vitya, he’s a boy,
Mama’s boy
And Papa’s boy
From Apartment Number Eight.

He’s the one who’s lying down,
Piled with blankets stuffed with down!
He’s the one who will eat nothing
But his pastries and his cakes!

For what reason?
For the reason
That as soon as he’s awake,
Someone will run up and take
His temperature; then someone puts
On him his clothes and then his boots,
And he will always, day or night,
Get what he wants without a fight.

If he’s sleepy in the morning,
He will stay in bed all day.
If a cloudy day is dawning,
He wears his rain boots all day.

For what reason?
For the reason
That he’s treated like a king,
And that he lives in his new house,
Unprepared for anything.

Unprepared to pull a trailer,
Or be a courageous sailor,
Or to fly a plane, or step in
And learn how to fire a weapon!

He’s raised warm like in a bathhouse,
With his Ma and Pa as wardens,
Like a mimosa in a glasshouse,
Which they have in botanic gardens.

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