Babi Yar by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

 

 

Babi Yar is a deep ravine close to Kiev where the Germans killed tens of thousands of Jews, in September 1941, in retaliation for a series of bombs that the Russian resistance planted

 

No monument stands over Babi Yar.
A drop sheer as a crude gravestone.
I am afraid.
Today I am as old in years
as all the Jewish people.
Now I seem to be
a Jew.
Here I plod through ancient Egypt.
Here I perish crucified, on the cross,
and to this day I bear the scars of nails.
I seem to be
Dreyfus.

 WAXING

 

 I lovingly washed and waxed my car then stood back to look at it sparkling in the early morning sun. Sunday is my day for doing this and it is a form of Holy Communion for me.

 

It was 6.30am on a potentially gloriously sunny day and I was ready for the hearty full English breakfast that I always eat before my Sunday drive. By 7.30 I had done the washing up and my lovely wife and I climbed into my spotless auto and we move off as elegantly as a super model gliding up the catwalk.

We motored north up the M6 heading for the lakes and after taking the Kendal exit we meandered round the back roads admiring the magnificent views as we passed them by. After a while we came to a particularly splendid spot where a lay-by had been thoughtfully placed and there I parked. We sat in the car for an hour reading the Sunday papers, swapping sections of them between us from time to time. At 12.00 my wife produced the packed lunch, which was up to her usual high standards, and which we ate in silence, admiring the view all the while.

 

Once we had put way the picnic things, it was time to go home.

 

It was then that it happened, the ruddy car wouldn't start! "Perhaps its the big end dear" said my wife unhelpfully. Big end? She might as well as said it was the synchronised mesh or the bally fuel injected whatnot for all that would have meant to me. As you may know I'm not much of an inside car man myself, I'm more of the vacuum and polish type of bloke, leave all that mechanical stuff to the wrench-monkeys at the garage. All that I ask is that they do their job and leave me to drive unimpaired down the highways and byways and now they'd let me down so very badly!

 

I uttered a cry of despair! This was greeted with a very stern look of disapproval from my better half. What else could I do? I felt so helpless faced with this lifeless machine. I had absolutely no idea where we where, and even if I did I had no means of contacting anyone in this beautiful but isolated place. I snapped, I’d had enough! I rummaged in the boot and found a large spanner; I went to the passenger door, opened it and smote my lovely wife a tremendous blow upon her delightfully coiffured pate. In a moment I am going to do the same to myself and then I'm going to ride God's highway forever, when I'm not cleaning and polishing the car that is.