Vysotsky Vladimir: другие произведения.

Collection of Poems (Songs)

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    Vladimir Vysotsky. Collection of Poems. 1962-1979. Translated from the Russian by Alec Vagapov

Vladimir Vysotsky

Collection Of Poems

Translated from the Russian by Alec Vagapov


      -- What The Hell, You Viper...
      -- I Am On The Job
      -- The City Romance
      -- I Need Changes 'Cause For Years
      -- I Was Fond Of Nasty Tricks And Women
      -- The Letter
      -- We Were To Meet. I Waited For The Day
      -- The Song Of The Criminal Code
      -- It's No Use To Talk To You...
      -- The Stars
      -- The Informer
      -- The Common Graves
      -- Both The Pets And The Wild Beasts Of Prey
      -- My Sorrow Won't Fade
      -- The Tale Of The Wild Mammal
      -- The Reincarnation Song
      -- Saying Good-Bye To The Mountains
      -- The Ships
      -- There Is The Entrance But, You Know
      -- The Song Of Clairvoyant Cassandra
      -- The Icy World
      -- Suddenly Our Trodden Ways Must Part
      -- In My Soul
      -- My Heart Aches, So Does My Head...
      -- Well, Now, My Hands Don't Shake At All ...
      -- I Have Two Selves In Me ...
      -- He Hasn't Returned From The Fighting
      -- If You Are In A Strange Land At Night ...
      -- Up To The Mountain Height
      -- The Birds Are Alarmed Here...
      -- My Own Island
      -- The Ballad Of A Bath-House
      -- I'll Answer All Your Questions
      -- The Masks
      -- I Love You Now
      -- Make A Bridge On The Occasion
      -- The One Who Didn't Shoot
      -- Execution Of Mountain Echo
      -- The Song Of The White Elephant
      -- I Honour Dorian Gray And Faustus...
      -- The Fords Are Deep. The Bridges Have Burnt Down ...
      -- When By The Rhymes And Poems I Get Bored ...
      -- In The Beginning There Was A Word ...
      -- The Ballad Of The Time
      -- The Story Of The Truth And The Lie
      -- The Song Of The New Times
      -- Apples From The Garden Of Eden
      -- I Am Fated To Argue To Very Last Day...
      -- The Silly Dream
      -- I'm Feeling Shivery Again...
   Tell me, why you, viper, have your eye-brows pencilled,
   And what the hell you've put on your blue beret for.
   You are going out for a dance, I sense it,
   You have got two tickets to the club, I know.
   You should have no doubt that I dote upon you,
   I can do the stealing for you night and day,
   But you are unfaithful, and I want to warn you,
   I will put you down if you go astray.
   I have no objections if it's Nick or Slavka,
   I don't mind you going out with my friends,
   But if it is Victor from Pereyaslavka
   I shall crush you, stinker, tear you to threads!
   Listen to me, hussy, I'll be frank and solid:
   You had better get that beret off your head;
   If you don't, I'll have you buried in my soul, and
   You will not be found, -- coated with cement.
   When you come back, maybe, later in the summer,
   I'll have found a woman, -- a real bit of jam,
   Then you'll burst with envy, like a dirty bummer,
   Saying: "Please forgive me", -
   I won't give a damn.
   I am on the job, I've got a knife,
   Don't hurt me, or you'll lose your life.
   And then I go to have a drink.
   No matter what the rumors say,
   What I have earned I drink away.
   I'll always act that way, I think.
   A man comes up to me and says:
   "Life isn't easy nowadays,
   And men like you I want to kill".
   But I have outdone the boy,
   I do not talk, but I destroy,
   I kill my foes and always will.
   And if you care for a chat,
   Let's have a drink, sit down, lad.
   We'll work it out anyway.
   But if you are like that young ass,
   There is one law for all of us,
   And it will always be that way.
   The City Romance
   Am E7 Am
   I happened to be walking around
   Am G7 C(A7)
   And I hurt two people by chance,
   A7 Dm Am
   They took me to militia grounds
   Am E7 Am
   Where I saw her... and broke down at once.  
   I knew not what on earth she was doing there,
   She was probably getting a pass.
   She was beautiful, lovely and fair...
   I decided to search out the lass.
   I just followed her, walking behind her,
   She wouldn't talk to a bully, I thought.
   Then I made up my mind to invite her
   To the nearest restaurant. Why not?
   As we walked people smiled at my pretty one,
   I was furious, my mind on the blink!
   I just smote the face of a weird man
   'Cause he dared to give her a wink.
   She found the caviar delicious,
   And I didn't grudge the expense,
   I ordered smash hits to musicians,
   And the last tune they played was "The Cranes".
   I made promises, showing my feeling,
   I repeated one thing the whole night:
   "For five days I haven't been stealing,
   Believe me, my love at first sight."
   I said that my life had been ruined,
   Blew my nose and wiped tears from my eyes,
   And she said: "I believe you, yours truly,
   You can take me at a reasonable price."
   I slapped her on the face in despair,
   I was boiling like crazy inside.
   Now I knew what she really was doing there,
   In militia, my love at first sight.
   * * *
   I need changes `cause for years
   there have not been many.
   There's no money, and no girls,
   and there can't be any.
   I have filched for many years,
   and have not been lazy, --
   should have saved a heavy purse,
   but I drank like crazy.
   I'm as poor as a mouse,
   haven't got a penny,
   got no friends and got no house,
   and I can't have any.
   I have filched for many years,
   and have not been lazy,
   should have saved a heavy purse,
   but I drank like crazy.
   Somehow, I still get along
   playing cards and drinking.
   All I ever did was wrong,
   not just the beginning...
   * * *
   I was fond of nasty tricks and women,
   And at changing them I didn't draw the line.
   There were stories about my demeanor
   And the numerous love-affairs of mine.
   Way down south near the sea -- I mean it --
   I was walking once along the road,
   And I encountered one of those women
   That in my life I came upon a lot.
   She was kind, a very generous creature,
   And as open-hearted as could be,
   She was nicely shaped, and had fine features,
   While I didn't have a coin about me.
   What she wanted were little presents,
   Such as brandy, golden rings, perfume.
   In return she'd grant the little pleasure
   Of her dubious service, I presume.
   "If it comes to that, I'll give you, honey,
   The most precious thing I have," she said.
   "I agree, -- I said, -- to pay ye a hundred,
   Otherwise, I'll pool it with my friend."
   Women are like very angry horses,
   Bit between their teeth, they'll wheeze and chafe...
   I might've got her wrong, she was ferocious,
   Made her farewell and left.
   Later on the passions had calmed down.
   She turned up, her anger shaken off.
   My impression was that now she found
   The price I'd offered suitable enough.
   I couldn't bear my first term in the camp,
   So they will add a year or two (Don't argue with them!
   Please write me, dear fellows, if you can:
   "How goes it there in the world of freedom?"
   What do you drink ? We don't drink anything,
   All we have got is snow in sunny weather.
   Please write to me about everything,
   It's boring here, and I need your letter.
   I miss you all, and it's been years on end,
   I'd like to see your dear smiling faces,
   How is my sweetheart? Has she got a friend?
   No? Tell her she must write me a few phrases.
   It is as dreadful as the Trial of Ordeal.
   Your letter is a thread which mustn't fail us.
   They will not forward it to me, I feel,
   But write me anyway, my dear fellows.
   * * *
   We were to meet. I waited for the day.
   It felt like waiting for a terrible disaster,
   But we began to live together right away,
   Without fearing what might come after.
   I got you out of gutter, dressed you, and
   I cut the number of your doubtful connections,
   You had a trail behind, without end,
   A long-long trail of casual relations.
   I battered, I recall, your so called friends,
   I don't know why, but I just didn't like them,
   Although there might have been, I sense,
   Nice fellows, genuine friends, among them.
   I'd do whatever you would ask me to.
   I wanted every hour to be night of wedding.
   One day I nearly killed myself for you,
   but my attempt, thank God, was unavailing.
   And if you'd waited for me on the year
   When I was driven to the "country-house",
   I would have stolen skies for you, my dear,
   and in addition stars from Kremlin towers.
   I'll give you anything, or I'll be damned!
   Don't drink, don't lie, and I'll forgive you, sinner!
   I'll give you Opera and Ballet and
   The smaller building of the Sports Arena.
   I'm not inclined to meet you now, my dove,
   I'm scared of our act of love occurring,
   The way the Japanese are scared of
   the horror of Hiroshima recurring.
   We don't need novels, stories and inventions.
   We keep ourselves enlightened all the time.
   The best of books to me is the collection
   Of laws that deal with punishment and crime.
   And if I cannot sleep, alarmed and saddened,
   Or if, after a spree, I get a head,
   I open Code of Laws at any page, at random,
   And read it carefully, from A to Z.
   I haven't given tips to my companions,
   Their cognizance of robbery is firm.
   I have just read about it in the manual:
   From three up to ten years of prison term.
   Just think about these lines, they are quite simple
   But more expressive than all novels of the world.
   Behind them there are barracks, wretched people,
   Cards, fights and scandals, cheating, and harsh word.
   I wish I wouldn't read these lines of drear.
   I see a person's life behind each phrase.
   It's nice when articles are not severe :
   Somebody may be lucky in that case.
   My heart jumps moaning like a wounded pigeon
   When I read articles concerning me.
   Blood hammers in my temples, -- I envision:
   It's cops who hammer at my door, I see.
   * * *
   It's no use to talk to you. I think
   all you say is unintelligible chatter
   So I'd better go and have a drink
   and discuss with friends a serious matter.
   They have vital questions to decide,
   For example: "Who's a better drinker?"
   Their range of interests is wide --
   From a grocery to places selling liquor.
   We debate two quite important points,
   as we hold a heated conversation:
   one is how to get the missing coins
   and the other -- who will fetch libation.
   You are giving me your brew instead of wine...
   Can I justify your twilight vision?
   Your intelligence doesn't equal mine
   You should polish up your erudition!

   Am Dm
   Shall I forget it, that fighting, oh my!
   G С
   Death overhung all around,
   Dm Am
   Stars were falling like rain from the sky
   E Am
   down on the ground.
   There is one falling... I'll live, in so far
   as I made a wish, willy-nilly...
   Now I have bound my life with a star,
   Isn't it silly?
   I thought the trouble had past and I had
   Managed somehow to escape it...
   Falling from heaven, a star hit my heart,
   So unexpected.
   We were ordered to capture the height,
   "Don't spare bullets!" -- they told us...
   There's another one falling now right,
   Down on your shoulders.
   Plenty of starlets, both seen and unseen,
   There are to be had in the heaven.
   I `d be a hero now hadn't I been
   lost in the hell then.
   I'd give the star to my son, as a note,
   A keepsake and all...
   Stars in the sky go to waste for they've got
   Nowhere to fall.
   In our gang no strangers we would let.
   And so one day -- God damn -- I took my chances --
   I brought the man along with me and said
   "He's one of us, now let us charge the glasses".
   He kept us company and seemed to be content,
   We welcomed him like a good friend, or brother,
   However, he betrayed us in the end.
   It was my fault, do not blame any other.
   I don't recall the trial, what a plight!
   And then there was the barrack, cold as grave, and
   It seemed to me it was a pitch-black night,
   And it was not a dream, it was apparent.
   I will reserve myself and I'll revive;
   He thinks that he will never ever see me,
   He was too fast to bury me alive,
   He was mistaken, boys, believe me.
   The day will come, the night will not last long,
   I'll ask you when atonement is around:
   "It was my fault, I brought the man along,
   Give him to me, and I will have it out".
   * * *
   I need changes `cause for years
   there have not been many.
   There's no money, and no girls,
   and there can't be any.
   I have filched for many years,
   and have not been lazy, --
   should have saved a heavy purse,
   but I drank like crazy.
   I'm as poor as a mouse,
   haven't got a penny,
   got no friends and got no house,
   and I can't have any.
   I have filched for many years,
   and have not been lazy,
   should have saved a heavy purse,
   but I drank like crazy.
   Somehow, I still get along
   playing cards and drinking.
   All I ever did was wrong,
   not just the beginning...
   Am Dm
   They don't put up crosses on communal graves,
   E Am
   And widows don't come to shed tears;
   But flowers are laid and eternal flames
   E Am
   Will never be quenched, it appears.
   The earth that was shaking and heaving of late
   With granite and marble is plated.
   There isn't a single separate fate,
   All fates are in one integrated.
   We see in the flame our burning tank,
   A house on fire and smoulder,
   The burning Smolensk and the burning Reichstag,
   The burning heart of a soldier.
   The tearful widows don't visit the place,
   To give and receive the blessing.
   They don't put up crosses on communal graves
   But does it make less distressing?
   * * *
   Both the pets and the wild beasts of prey
   Have human taste, smell and other senses,
   While humans have to prance and dance attendance,
   They are fated to act in that way.
   Today spectators, today spectators
   Do not want to see the charmers and the tamers!
   And if you want to tame a pet, or beast,
   You have to join the criminal police.
   Very few decent humans today
   Have human taste, smell and other senses,
   While beasts and animals must dance attendance,
   They are fated to act in that way.
   Today spectators, today spectators
   Do not want to see the charmers and the tamers!
   And if you want to tame a pet, or beast,
   Go join the circus -- you will be pleased.
   A human being will forget his woe,
   As time goes by it tends to vanish
   But my trouble, like eternal snow,
   Won't languish, won't languish.
   It won't melt in sultry weather
   On summer midday,
   I know that from my worries I will never
   Ever get away.
   E7 Am
In a kingdom where everything was quiet,
A7 Dm
With no cataclysms, no wars and no shocks,
A monstrous animal came as a plight,
F E7 Am
A kind of buffalo, a bull or an ox.
   The king had stomach trouble and asthma
   Frightening everyone to death with his cough.
   In the meantime the terrible monster
   Ate up people, or carried them off.
   The king proclaimed three decrees that ran as follows:
   "We must now do away with the beast,
   The one who dares to do it, I promise,
   Will take my daughter, the princess, to the priest."
   In that kingdom outraged by the catcher
   Somewhere right near the border line
   There lived a one time peerless archer
   Who enjoyed his disgraced, reckless life.
   There were people, wrapped in skins, on the ground,
   Their feast was going on with a swing
   When the air was rent by a trumpet sound
   And the archer was carried to the king.
   "I'll not lecture you on morals, you youngster,"
   Said the king as he coughed like a beast,
   "If you manage to kill that big monster
   You will take our princess to the priest."
   The archer said: "Your award is quite senseless!
   I would rather have a barrel of wine!
   I don't care a thing for the princess, -
   With the beast I shall work out fine."
   The king said: "Yes, you shall marry the princess,
   Or I'll throw you to prison right off
   After all, it's the king's lawful heiress."
   "No," - the man said, - "ne'er in my life!"
   While the king was arguing with the weird man
   The big mammal, that monster, - oh my! -
   Had eaten up almost all hens and women
   And would hang around now nearby.
   Nothing doing, they agreed on the wine, and
   He killed the monster and ran off with the game.
   That is how the disgraced archer happened
   To put the king and the princess to shame.
   Am Dm
   Some may believe in Jesus, some in Mohammed or whatever,
   G G7 C
   Some don't believe in anything, just to spite them all.
   Dm Am
   There is a good belief in India, and it is rather clever:
   E Am
   That when we kick the bucket we don't pass away for all.
   Dm Am
   To rise to heaven you may strive:
   A7 Dm
   You'll have a dream when born again,
   But if you've lived a piggy's life,
   E Am
   A piggy you'll remain.
   If people look askance at you, take all reproaches easy,
   Don't worry, you'll be born again a man with a mordant tongue,
   And if you've seen the death of a foe, there's every reason
   To think that after death you will be born a keen-eyed man.
   So keep on living, and have fun,
   Be happy and don't bother,
   Maybe, your soul will settle down
   In some big boss's body.
   If you are engaged in sweeping streets, you'll be an engineer,
   And maybe slowly grow into a minister in time.
   But if you're dull and stupid, you'll be born a baobab-tree an'
   Will remain one for a thousand years or more, until you die.
   It's bad to live a parrot's life,
   Or be a snake-like demon,
   Hadn't one better live a life
   Of just a decent human?
   Well, who is who and who was who, to this there is no answer,
   Geneticists are off their nuts o'er chromosomes and genes.
   Perhaps that shabby looking cat at one time was a rascal,
   And this good natured person was a friendly dog, it seems.
   I jump for joy, just like a kid,
   And I avoid all hindrance,
   A very good belief indeed
   Has been thought up by Indians!
   To the bustle of streets, flow of cars, traffic blocks
   Am A7 Dm
   To city life we return, we come back, as it happens.
   Dm Dm6 Am
   We descend from the conquered high mountaintops
   Am Dm6 E7 Am
   And we leave our hearts, and we leave our hearts in the mountains.
   Am Dm
   There is no use to argue about it!
   I have known for a very long time:
   Dm A7 Dm
   There is one thing that's better than mountains,
   Dm E7 Am
   And it's mountain ns that we h aven't climbed.
   Am Dm E7 Am
   And it's mountains that we haven't climbed.
   Who would want to be left in the lurch, with no hopes?
   Am A7 Dm
   Who would want to give in, his heart disobeyin'?
   Dm Dm6 A
   We descend from the conquered high mountaintops...
   A Dm Dm6 E7 Am
   Nothing doing: gods, too, used to come down from heaven.
   Am Dm
   There is no use to argue about it!
   I have known for a very long time:
   Dm A7 Dm
   There is one thing that's better than mountains,
   Dm E7 Am
   And it's mountains that we haven't climbed.
   Am Dm E7 Am
   And it's mountains that we haven't climbed.
   Many beautiful songs, many hopes, words of love
   Am A7 Dm
   Are inspired by mountains, they eternally call us.
   Dm Am
   Yet we have to descend, for a year or for life
   Am Dm
   Потому что все|гда,
   Dm E7 Am
   For we have to return from the mountains... always.
   Am Dm
   There is no use to argue about it!
   I have known for a very long time:
   Dm A7 Dm
   There is one thing that's better than mountains,
   Dm E7 Am
   And it's mountains that we haven't climbed.
   Am Dm E7 Am
   And it's mountains that we haven't climbed.
They will stay for a while, a
nd then they'll take course
A7 Dm
But they will return breaking through winds a-wailing.
Dm Am
And it won't take six months till I'm back at my house.
Dm E7
Just to set out again,
   Am E7
   to set out for a six month's a-sailing.
Dm Am
And it won't take six months till I'm back at my house.
Dm E7
Just to set out again,
   Am E7
   to set out for a six month's a-sailing.
   Everybody returns but the best of our friends,
   And the best loving, faithful, adorable women.
   Everybody returns but for those we need most
   I believe not in fate
   I believe not in fate
   Nor myself I believe in.
   Yet I really want to believe I am wrong,
   And that burning one's boats will be soon void of meaning.
   I am sure to return full of dreams, friends along,
   And it won't take six months
   And it won't take six months
   Till I get back to singing.
   * * *
   There is the entrance but, you know,
   E Am
   I have a habit - don't you hinder -
   Am Dm
   Of coming in through a back-door
   G C A7
   And going out through a window.
   I don't want to upset anyone,
   Dm Am
   I can be an unbearable man,
   Am Dm
   I was on the booze yesterday
   E Am
   And was badly struck with dismay.
   I spat upon the drunken ass,
   Wrapped up my face in curtain tissue
   And threw myself straight through the glass
   Into the arms of the militia.
   All in blood and humiliated,
   Outraged and infuriated,
   With a good reputation,
   I was brought to the station.
   And, going far over the line,
   They kicked me, walloped and belabored,
   And then they made me pay a fine
   And told me not to be so wayward.
   Poor creature, all bandaged,
   And unfairly damaged,
   I accepted the offer
   to sleep on the sofa.
   I woke up in the dead of night
   And felt my anger was abating,
   I walked up to the window but
   It had a heavy iron grating.
   Well, I had an experience
   In confronting a hindrance
   But those bars over there
   Made me filled me with despair.
   And when the morning came, you know,
   I got up shaking and put out,
   But I walked out. Through the door!
   And ever since I've been in doubt.
   Life is quiet and ethical,
   Very clean and symmetrical,
   I feel low I'm hurt easily,
   And I'm living in misery.
   Winter 1966/67

   Dm A#
   Though besieged and threatened to be torn asunder
   Dm C7
   Troy remained impregnable to the assailant,
   if the Trojans had believed foreseer Cassandra
   A# A
   it would probably have stood up to the present.
   The frenzied maid kept shouting like witless:
   D[7] Gm
   "I clearly see Troy lay in ruins, fall and break!"
   But clairvoyants ( just like those who bear witness )
   A# A
   were always put to death by burning at the stake !
   Gm A Dm
   were always put to death by burning at the stake !
   At night when death on Troy descended, coming out
   straight from the horse's womb, winged, like a sudden blaster,
   somebody cried over the terror-stricken crowd:
   "The witch! The witch is all to blame for the disaster!"
   That night, amidst the massacre, unrest and devastation
   when her predictions had come true now, like a dazzle,
   the crowd might have seized the suitable occasion
   to savagely inflict their usual reprisal...
   The end was rather disappointing, though not tragic:
   a certain Greek had found her abode's location
   and took her, not just as Cassandra with her magic
   but as insatiable conqueror's possession.
   The frenzied maid kept shouting like witless:
   "I clearly see Troy lay in ruins, fall and break!"
   But clairvoyants ( just like those who bear witness )
   were always put to death by burning at the stake!

   The Icy World
   Hm C#7 F#m
   Mother Earth is all covered with ice -
   C#7 F#m
   all year long it is covered with ice.
   F#m Hm
   Mother Earth is all covered with ice
   E A
   There's no spring, it appears, nor summer -
   Hm F#m
   White as snow is the planet's garment -
   C#7 F#m
   now and then someone falls on the ice.  
   F#m C#7 F#m
   Mother Earth is all covered with ice,
   Hm F#m
   all year long it is covered with ice.
   Everything is covered with ice,
   all year long it is covered with ice.
   You may fly all around the Globe
   and may not even touch the ground,-
   anyway you are sure to drop
   an a slippery plain or slope...
   To be crushed underfoot you are bound!
   Mother Earth is all covered with ice,
   all year long it is covered with ice.
   Everything is covered with ice,
   all year long it is covered with ice.
   There is nothing but ice, like glass,
   but it isn't a rink for skating.
   Perhaps a beast will quietly pass...
   All is iced ! A two-legged one has
   to land on all fours - no escaping.
   Mother Earth is all covered with ice,
   all year long it is covered with ice.
   Everything is covered with ice,
   all year long it is covered with ice.
   * * *
   Bm Fm
   Suddenly our trodden ways must part,
   C7 Fm
   One takes the eastern road, one the southern.
   Bm Fm
   It makes me sad to see my friends depart,
   Db+7 C7 Fm
   It's sudden, so sudden.
   F7 Bm
   He's gone, and many people, really,
   C7 Fm
   Don't care a pence.
   I don't judge others but I most sincerely
   Believe in friends!
   Bm Fm
   I am left unlucky, on my own.
   Db+7 C7 Fm
   Storms sweep off human souls and traces.
   Bm Fm
   I'm feeling bad, my friend,
   Db+7 C7 Fm
   no use to moan...
   No friend, no complacence...
   He's gone, and many people, really,
   Don't care a pence.
   I don't judge others but I most sincerely
   Believe in friends!
   When some day my friend comes back and says:
   "We both were wrong. Forget the bygones..."
   We'll recollect the past time days
   And smile in silence.
   He's gone, and many people, really,
   Don't care a pence.
   I don't judge others but I most sincerely
   Believe in friends!
   They light up candles for me every evening,
   Your fumigated image, is so sweet.
   But I don't want to know that time is healing
   And everything must pass along with it.
   I'll never know the loss of peace and quiet
   For all I had, stored in my soul, for a whole year,
   She took along with her when setting out
   First for the voyage, then for the trip by air.
   I have a desert in my soul, all bare.
   Why should you stand like that over my empty soul, all day?
   I've got song snatches and a web in there,
   And nothing more, -- she's taken all away.
   My soul has roads without destinations,
   Just search it, and you`ll find for once
   Some phrases and unfinished conversations,
   The rest is taken up by Paris, France.
   They light up candles for me every evening,
   Your fumigated image, is so sweet.
   But I don't want to know that time is healing,
   It doesn't heal but lacerates my feeling
   For everything must pass along with it.

   * * *
   My heart aches, so does my head, I think
   Please believe me, I am not pretending.
   Help me out, and I'll give you anything.
   And I'll do my best as long as aid is pending.
   I will go where pine-trees grow and winds are blowing,
   It's more interesting there -- it's just my ambition!
   I will give you cigarettes, and I'm going
   To present you with my singing in addition.
   Give me just a gulp of new fresh air
   Dare I grumble? Yes, I have a ground.
   Is it some perfume? The smell I just can't bear...
   I shall thank you, when I get around.
   I've got iron nerves, that are the worse for wear,
   I have lost the peace of mind for ever.
   Oh my nerves, my poor nerves, you're bare!
   If you came to life you'd be disabled.
   Bitter will be every word I'll say, --
   I have pursed my lips to curse and swear.
   To the thick wild forest I would run away
   Hide myself -- and howl in despair!
   Am E7
   Well, now, my hands don't shake at all
   So I'll move on!
   Into the precipice for all
   F7 E7
   My fears are gone!
   А7 Dm
   I have no reason for a halt
   G7 С
   Nor for a break,
   There are no heights in the whole world
   Dm E7
   I cannot take!
   Of all untrodden paths and roads
   One road is mine,
   Of all unconquered lines and fords
   I'll take one line!
   The names of those who rest in peace
   Are in the snow.
   Of all untrodden roads one is
   For me, I know!
   The bright blue radiance of ice
   Lights up the cracks;
   And on the granite, in disguise,
   Are someone's tracks.
   I have my dream and let it flow
   Around the world,
   And I believe in pure snow
   And pure word!
   Time flies. There's something I will not
   Forget about:
   It's here that confidence I got
   And killed my doubt!
   The water whispered on that day:
   "Good luck! No woes!"
   The day... What was it? Wednesday, eh?
   Oh yes, it was!
   I am an exotic man, to put it mildly,
   My tastes and my demands are rather strange,
   I can, for instance, nibble glasses madly,
   And read the works of Schiller for a change.
   I have two "Selves" in me, two poles of planet,
   Two absolutely different men, two foes,
   When one is eager to attend a ballet
   The other straight off to the races goes.
   I don't take liberties, when I turn out
   To be myself, going the whole hog,
   My other "Self" will frequently break out
   Appearing as a rascal and a rogue.
   And I oppress the scoundrel's intrusion,
   My life! I've never known such distress...
   Perchance (I am so scared of confusion),
   I'm not that other "Self" whom I oppress.
   When in my soul I open up the facets
   In spots where sincerity should be
   I pay the waitresses, on trust, in assets,
   And women give me their love for free.
   But suddenly all my ideals go to grass, as
   I'm impatient, angry, rude and such a bore!
   I sit like mad, devouring the glasses,
   And throwing Schiller down on the floor.
   The hearing is on. I stand and speak austerely,
   Appealing to the jury, showing tact:
   "It wasn't me who'd smashed the window, really,
   It was my other wicked "Self", in fact.
   Do not be strict to me. You'd better
   Give me a chance, but not a prison term.
   I'll visit court-rooms just as a spectator
   and drop in on the judges as a chum.
   I won't smash windows any more, distinctly,
   Nor fight in public -- write it in your scroll !
   I'll bring the halves of my split, sickly,
   Disintegrated soul into a single whole.
   I'll root it out, bury it and quench it;
   I want to clear and reveal my soul.
   My other "Self" is alien to my nature,
   No, it is not my other "Self", at all.
   Why has everything changed? Life goes on as it should...
   There's the sky over us, blue as ever,
   As before there's the air, the water, the wood...
   But he's lost in the fighting for ever.
   I do not understand who was right, who was wrong
   In disputes that we had, rather biting.
   It was not until now that I started to long
   For the one who did not come from fighting.
   He'd be awkwardly silent, he'd sing out of tune,
   And his absence of mind was exciting,
   He would not let me sleep, sitting up by the moon...
   but last night he did not come from fighting.
   I'm destitute now, and I've just touched the ground,
   It occurred to me : I'd been beside him...
   And I felt as if I had my fire blown out
   when he didn't return from the fighting.
   Like a prisoner from jail, spring has broken away.
   By mistake I addressed him now, shouting :
   "Got a lighter, old man?" -- but what could he say? --
   If last night he did not come from fighting.
   In the dugout we had room enough to get by,
   And for both of us time would be sliding...
   But now he is gone, and I think it was I
   Who did not come alive from the fighting.
   If you've found yourself in a strange land at night,
   If you sit on a barrel of powder,
   Don't hold back, don't keep silent but cry with all might,
   I shall hear your voice, shout louder.
   Perhaps, you lie in a ryefield, a bullet in chest,
   I am running to you -- treading lightly, with ease, just have patience.
   We'll go back where the grass and the air are healing and gracious,
   Wait, do not pass away, just hold on, do your best.
   If you're riding a horse, you get home, spreading wings,
   Your good dun ought to bring you around.
   It will take you to places with life-giving springs
   Will patch up all your wounds, make you sound.
   Now, where are you? Locked up? Do you ramble and roam?
   What conjunctions, and what intersections of roads are you facing?!
   Are you tired, have gone off the track, do you find it depressing?
   Can't you really find the way back to your home ?
   Spurting out from snow, oh so clean are the springs!
   Splendid brooks of the purest water.
   All the flowers and plants are nobody's things
   We can have them, in fact, if we want to.
   If you're dragging your feet, plodding, trudging all day,
   Getting stuck in the mud, scrambling, treading on stones and on
   Singed in flame, weather-beaten, worn out, on foot or on trotter,
   Walk, or crouch, or crawl but get home anyway.
   You are on the edge of icy steep
   Staring at the mountain heights intently.
   While the mountains seem to be asleep
   Breathing now with violence now gently.
   But they keep an eye on you as though
   You'd been granted safety and protection,
   They are sending cracks and slips of snow
   As a sign of warning and prevention.
   For the mountains know that this is hell,
   Smoke has filled the passes with commotion...
   You were young then, and you couldn't tell
   Roaring snow-slide from a bomb explosion.
   If you cried for help, the mountains would bring
   Your appeals back to the cliffs and dingles,
   Which would spread about the ravine
   Blowing in the wind like radar signals.
   When you fought for passes, shedding blood,
   Chain of mountains would be your loyal helper,
   Every stone would be your body-guard,
   And the rocks would offer you a shelter.
   It's a lie that wise men never go
   Up the hill if they can walk around.
   You were welcomed by the granite, ice and snow
   And the fog would spread low on the ground.
   Should you get your everlasting in the snow,
   Mountain ridges, like your near and dear,
   Will bend over you. They`ll be, I know,
   Your unbreakable memorial here.
   * * *
   The birds are alarmed here, boding no good,
   The fur-trees are all of a tremble.
   You live in a magical mystery wood,
   To leave it you are unable.
   Though the cherry-trees dry their linen in space
   And the lilac-trees bloom over here,
   I'll take you away to the Palace, -- the place
   Where trumpets and pipes you will hear.
   The wizards have hidden your world from man
   For ages ahead, I imagine.
   You think that no other thing under the sun
   Is greater than this wood of magic.
   Though the dew drops at day-break do not leave the trace,
   Though the moon and the sky cause commotion,
   I shall take you away to the tower, - the place
   With a wonderful view of the ocean.
   So when will it happen? What time and what day
   I'll see you discreetly come out
   And in my arms I shall take you away
   To where you cannot be found?
   I'll kidnap you if only you give your consent,
   Just think of the pains I have taken !
   Now to love in a cottage you'll have to assent
   Once the Palace is no longer vacant.
   We are setting out for good
   To warm lands.
   Years on end we'll be en route
   Off the strands.
   You may put the wheels of fate
   In the way,
   But the storms we shall evade
   Climb the mast and do it fast, my friend,
   Land for us is now
   Maybe, you will see a continent,
   Or an island, for that
   Someone wished so much to weigh
   Pros and cons,
   So he is now on his way
   To repose.
   All the others, stony broke,
   Do their best,
   They would rather go to work,
   Than to rest.
   You have turned, your fortune to a nun
   Laugh at her, and be
   Some have continents and some have none,
   Some have their own
   They have boded me no good,
   Cards at hand,
   They foretold me that I would
   Find my land.
   But the sorcerer was wrong,
   Cards tell lies,
   I would like to search and long
   For new isles.
   There's the shore in view in full extent
   Take your time and look
   What is that? Is that the continent?
   Or is it just my
   Winter, 1970/71
   Send Thy blessing and absolution
   To obedient servants of Thine!
   God, permit us to do the ablution
   By immersing in Sanctum of Shrine!
   Let the vivifying lustration
   Heal us sinners from wounds and filth
   It `s a kind of a bog reclamation,
   Or, should I say, a rebirth.
   All the sins, flaws, disputes, troubles, doubts,
   Boredom, apathy, rows and so on
   Like a shot from a gun are squeezed out
   By the steam which has just been put on.
   All that torments you will disappear
   And ascend to the sky, like on wings,
   Whereas you must descend, clean and pure,
   For the steam will have done with the sins.
   Take your time with the shower, don't hurry,
   Washing doesn't mean cleaning at all
   You should birch, lash and wallop your body
   Steaming out all smells from your soul.
   No one's "naked", so leave your ambition,
   No one cares if don't look good,
   It's like Garden of Eden: admission
   Will be granted if you're in the nude.
   When you take off you clothes you had better
   Dressing manners and habits forget!
   You'll be birched and walloped, no matter
   How you try to preserve self-respect.
   All are equal, and nothing is hidden,
   All endure the heat, in good trim,
   And equality, brotherhood, freedom
   You can feel in the devilish steam.
   Drive the new generation to sauna!
   Let the young take the rite of baptism!
   Pour your sacrament water upon us,
   Purify us from barbarism!
   I'll answer all your questions through and through,
   You are so curious, -- I'll give you satisfaction.
   I'm married, and my wife is French, it's true,
   By origin, however, she is Russian.
   Do I have lovers now? Oh no!
   Shall I have any? I have no intention.
   I gave up drinking two or so years ago.
   Will I start drinking? It's an open question.
   I do not live near the "Sokol" station
   And haven't penetrated Paris yet...
   Come on, don't try to make insinuations.
   Don't be allusive, ask me straight!
   I'll answer all your questions, and I'll be
   Quite frank, as if I were to make confession.
   I've made your mouths water as I see,
   And I expect now a confusing question.
   "You've not been faithful to your wife, have you?" --
   Embarrassingly asked me a reporter,
   As if he'd been behind the curtain, too,
   Or lain under the bed with a recorder.
   I do not live near the "Sokol" station
   And haven't penetrated Paris yet...
   Come on, don't try to make insinuations.
   Don't be allusive, ask me straight!
   Now I'm coming to the most important thing:
   A modest man, who tried to keep his balance,
   Inquired: "What did you actually mean
   By saying what you said in songs and ballads?"
   The answer was: "I'm not an Aesop nor
   Do I have anything up my sleeve
   I meant what I had written, -- nothing more.
   Look at my sleeve. You see ? I don't deceive".
   I do not live near the "Sokol" station
   And haven't penetrated Paris yet...
   Come on, don't try to make insinuations.
   Don't be allusive, ask me straight!
   Winter 1970/1971
   Somebody must have played a trick on me,
   I'm laughing, for it's like distorting mirrors, --
   Big noses, clown's grins, -- it seems to be
   A fancy-ball, or carnival in Venice.
   A dancing crowd has encircled me,
   They push me urging me to take my chances.
   My ordinary face, as I can see,
   Was taken for a mask by the rejoicing dancers.
   Confetti, fireworks... But all I do is vain,
   They look at me reproachfully, with sadness,
   The say that I am out of time again,
   That I keep stepping on the shoes of partners.
   What shall I do? Shall I just run away?
   Or had I better go on making merry?
   I hope beneath the masks of beasts of prey
   Some have a human face and normal bearing.
   They all are masked and "wigged", -- each is akin
   To fairy tale or literary figure
   Here is a hangman, there's a gloomy harlequin,
   And every third one is a stupid piggy.
   I join the dancers, laughing, yet I feel,
   Uneasy and disturbed: it may so happen, --
   Someone may like his hangman's mask and will
   Refuse to take it off and be quite happy.
   What if the gloomy looking harlequin
   Should really be disheartened and cast down?
   What if the fool should wear his stupid grin
   Upon his normal face, without a frown?
   I wish I could discern a really good face
   And tell an honest man from a dishonest ...
   To save their faces from a break-up and disgrace
   They put on masks and wear them in earnest.
   I know what masks are for, and I expect
   I'm right in guessing the ingenious riddle :
   The masks that people wear will protect
   Their faces from a slap and spittle.
   I love you now, in fact,
   And I don't hold it back.
   It's not "before", not "after" -- your rays set me afire.
   Whether I weep or I smile
   I love you in this while, --
   the future I don't want, the past I don't desire.
   "I loved you" (in the past)
   is worth than breathing last.
   My wings are cut, and I'm restrained by tender feeling,
   although the greatest poet stated once:
   "I was in love with you -- my love may still be living"...
   As if it were disavowed, faded,
   for it implies compassion, condescension,
   it's what one feels for overthrown kings.
   There is regret in it for something outdated,
   subsided striving, softened aspiration
   and disbelief in "love you" kind of things.
   My current love has got
   no detriment, no spot.
   My age is under way -- I want no venesection!
   At this continuous present I do not
   live in the past nor dream of future foundation.
   Through thick and thin I'll get
   to you somehow, you bet! --
   my feet put into chains and bound with heavy irons.
   But when I say "I love you", even yet
   don't make me add "I will", by error or with bias.
   "I will" has got a bitter connotation,
   for it implies a counterfeit, decay -- unpleasant,
   a loophole for retreating, anyhow,
   insipid poison and contamination,
   slap in the face, affront upon the present,
   a doubt that I really love you now.
   I dream my dream in French,
   it has a wide tense range,
   the future and the past are different from ours.
   I'm pilloried, disgraced and outraged,
   The language seems to set me at defiance.
   The language gap, oh my!
   I'm about to cry !
   Yet we can work it out, we have our firm intentions.
   I love you at the times which will comply
   with Future, Past and Present Perfect tenses.
   * * *
   Make a bridge on the occasion,
   Or a tunnel through the brine, --
   Come without hesitation
   To my shish-kebab and wine.
   Put in tune the old guitar which
   You'll be coming to me with;
   Cheer up, screw up your courage,
   Don't forget to hide your teeth.
   When you get to the idea
   That all roads will lead to Rome
   Then you will be welcome here,
   Come, we'll have a chat at home.
   Hide your horns and draw your claws in,
   Get unrigged, and don't be grim.
   Make at least a little crossing, --
   Throw a pole across the stream.
   You had better set about
   Mowing, sowing right away.
   If you miss the boat, look out, --
   You will rue the hapless day.
   In the morning you will stare
   Wond'ring, as you wake up: who
   Laid the bridges here and there,
   Without even telling you.
   Make at least a river crossing,
   Or a tunnel, underneath;
   Don't forget to draw your claws in
   And to hide your sharpened teeth!
   I'm not deceiving, really,
   It's true, upon my word!
   One morning I was nearly
   Shot by a firing squad.
   Why did this silly, saddening
   Misfortune come my way?
   I know it but that's something
   I'm not supposed to say.
   Commander almost saved my life
   But somebody insisted : "Execute!".
   The squad had worked it out well enough,
   But there was one who didn't want to shoot.
   Misfortune for some reason
   Had been attending me:
   I captured once a prisoner
   But somehow let him flee.
   The sneak, who was a sort of
   A fidget, a strange lot,
   Had made a mental note of
   that case, for his report.
   Then he disclosed it, and he brought along
   The filed material he had, the brute!
   No one could help it, the effect was strong...
   But there was one who didn't want to shoot.
   The hand fell in the abyss,
   And "Fire!" was the word,
   Thus I was given access
   To the unknown world.
   But then I heard a shout:
   "He is alive. How nice!
   Now call the doc. We cannot
   Execute him twice.".
   The doctor clicked his tongue and, with a sigh,
   Extracted all my bullets, pitching mood,
   Meanwhile I was delirious, and I
   Kept talking to the one who didn't shoot.
   I licked the wounds, and never
   Took treatment, it would seem;
   In hospitals, however,
   I was in high esteem,
   Beloved and well reputed
   By all the sisterhood :
   "Come, you, half-executed,
   A shot will do you good.".
   Our battalion fought on the Crimean shore,
   And I would send glucose there, when I could,
   To sweeten up the bitter pill of war
   For that same man, the one who didn't shoot.
   I had my tea and drowned
   In spirit now and then;
   So I did not break down
   And went to fight again.
   I joined my own unit.
   "Fight on, -- the major said, --
   I'm glad they failed to do it,
   and you were not shot dead".
   I should have felt quite happy, but instead
   I howled like a wolf, in a terrific mood,
   Because a German sniper shot me dead
   By killing that same man who didn't shoot.
   In a mountain pass where the rocks for the winds are no
   checkers (no checkers),
   where no one has ever set foot, so steep is the rise
   (so steep is the rise),
   there once lived a jubilant cheerful mountain echo,
   it answered the calls and responded to cries, human cries.
   When loneliness suddenly fills our heart with despair
   and when a low sound of pain down the cliff is about to
   land (about to land),
   adroitly, the echo will pick up the call
   and handling with care
   will then make it louder and with solicitude take it in hand.
   Some scoundrels, crazy and drunk, must have gotten around
   (gotten around),
   in order that no one might hear the footfall and snort
   (footfall and snort),
   intending to silence and murder the gorge, living canyon,
   they bound
   the echo and stopped up its mouth before it was shot.
   And so it went on, their bloody ferocious enraged
   no sound was heard as they trampled the echo, made fun
   of it, mocked...
   They shot in the morning the quietened mountain echo(mountain echo)
   and tears gushed out like stones from the wounds of a rock...
   and tears gushed out like stones from the wounds of a rock...
   and tears gushed out like stones from the wounds of a rock...
   Somewhere in India since the ancient times
   There were wild grey elephants of tremendous size.
   They rambled in the jungle here and there at random,
   And somehow one of them was white among them.
   It was known for its wisdom, noble birth and breed,
   Had a friendly look and gentle spirit.
   Being white it was "a rare bird" indeed
   In the herd among its swarthy kindred.
   Once the Indian ruler -- how could I expect? --
   Gave me the white elephant out of respect.
   "What do I need it for? -- I asked him humbly,
   "It has a heart of gold," -- he answered calmly.
   Then it made a curtsy and I made a bow,
   And the speech I made was soft, not vicious,
   Now I knew the elephant was actually a cow,
   Or, in other words, it was a female specious.
   Sitting on the elephant I really looked grand,
   I would roam around the Indian fairyland.
   We `d ramble here and there and everywhere,
   And every inconvenience we'd share.
   We would go and sing our serenades of love,
   Ladies would jump off their beds like crazy,
   I should say, the elephant was talented enough,
   And his music gift was just amazing.
   You have seen a world map or an atlas, haven't you?
   And you know in India there's a river, too.
   My elephant and I would feed on mangoes
   And somehow we were lost around the Ganges.
   I would dash around restlessly for days on end
   Having undermined my flesh and spirit.
   Later on they told me: "Your white elephant
   Had encountered a herd of its white kindred".
   I was angry and upset at first but then
   I received an elephant from India again:
   As an ornament of cane in all its finery:
   Nice white elephant but made of ivory.
   Having seven elephants at home is good,
   They allegedly protect us from misfortune.
   I would rather have them wonder in the wood,
   And I wish they wouldn't bring me fortune.
   I honor Dorian Gray and Faustus. However,
   I cannot sell my soul to Deuce - no way!
   Why did I listen to the gypsies ? -- Well, I never! --
   They prophesied my death up to a day.
   Don't bear it in mind, put it away,
   Don't mark it in your calendar. On no account!
   Or, when it comes to that , just change the day,
   Lest I should wait for it and crows fly all around,
   Lest wining angels should be fluttering about
   And people sneer, setting up for wit.
   Before too long, please keep me safe, I bid!
   Now hurry up, and don't delay a bit
   For they have filled my heart with fear and doubt.
   And, truly, in return for immortality
   I don't want much: a road, a horse, a friend...
   I beg you, humbly bending down my head,
   The instant you release me in the end
   Don't cry for mercy and sentimentality!
   The fords are deep. The bridges have burnt down,
   And only skulls are visible. It's close.
   The ins and outs are blocked all around.
   There is one way to go, -- it's where the crowd goes.
   Like harnessed horses fastened to a vehicle
   and as a vivid proof that our world is small,
   The crowd moves in an exclusive circle
   Without any bearings at all.
   Caught in the rain the pallet spreads about
   A gallops bursts into a polonaise,
   smells, flowers, tones and rhythms have faded out,
   And oxygen has vanished in the haze.
   No act of thoughtlessness nor inspiration
   Can stop this spinning movement, -- never once.
   Is this the everlasting circulation
   And what we call ` perpetual advance'?
   * * *
   When by the rhymes and poems I get bored,
   When of a written line I can't make any sense
   I desperately squeeze the finger-board
   And sing about sailors to my friends.
   In spite of all the cares that there may be,
   And though I've got so many things to do on land
   Sailors, take me with you, out to the sea
   On board the ship I'll be a helping hand.
   All kinds of creatures swim about the sea,
   And none of them impedes you in the way,
   Whereas on land each passerby you see
   Will push you, step on you and run away.
   The world is not held up by whales or boats,
   You know it's not for company of three.
   You can't take liberties in alien ports;
   But I don't do it in my own, nor at sea.
   In spite of all my cares that here at home may be,
   Regardless of the things I have to do on land;
   Take me to the sea, send out a boat for me,
   On board the ship I'll be a helping hand.
   There was a word of sorrow,
   a word of grief at first,
   The world was in the throes of its creation,
   Huge fragments of the land flew off
   to God knows were from burst
   Converting into islands in succession.
   And wandering about,
   unloaded, with no banners,
   Through centuries and ages
   and millions of long years,
   A hermit and a roamer,
   the island changed its manners
   But had preserved the soul and
   the nature of the earth.
   There was a word of sorrow
   but then there came a hush.
   The Earth was now inhabited by sailors.
   Towards the islands up the steps
   they made a frenzied dash
   And called the islands "ships", --
   (they liked the alias).
   The shore is keeping hold of
   the islands near its border;
   So one day or another
   they'll come back to the strand.
   The islanders have set up
   their special, naval, order
   Regarding their law and
   the honor of the land.
   Will scientists forgive us
   for parallels we draw,
   For tackling theories too freely, rather?
   They say there was a word in the beginning. Well, if so
   It certainly was "sea" -- not any other.
   Ancient castle, worn out by time, is now clad
   In a tender, green cover of sprouts,
   But the reticent granite will throw off the plaid
   To disclose the historical past it has had
   With its conquests, crusades, fights and bouts.
   Time has not wiped heroic deeds out.
   Just unveil what is hidden from view,
   Take the time by the throat and, no doubt,
   It will open its secrets to you.
   Heaps of fetters and locks will fall out like one,
   And the numerous ages will seat to the bone,
   And from hundreds of poems old legends will flood,
   Tales of tournaments, archers, and sieges and blood.
   Be prepared to listen to tunes you've heard of,
   Look attentively, with comprehension,
   After all, love is love and will always be love,
   Even there, at your destination.
   Steel would crack with a clank, at the slash of the sword,
   And the bow-string would fume under tension,
   Death would settle on spears, and groan, sitting squat,
   Foes, appealing for quarter, would fall on the spot,
   And surrender themselves at discretion.
   Anyhow, not all of survivals
   Have retained their kindness of hearts,
   Though they've saved their good names from rivals
   And from downright lies of the rats.
   It is good if the horse dashes off all at once,
   And the fighter has got a good grip of the lance;
   It is good if he knows how the arrow may fly,
   And it's bad if it comes from the back, on the sly.
   What about the rogues ? Do you fight them ? OK.
   Do the witches inspire you with horror ?
   Don't you think, what is known as evil to-day
   Will be known as evil tomorrow
   `cause for ages it's been an unwritten law
   That the cowards and traitors are battered,
   That a foe is a foe and a war is a war,
   That the cell is too dark, and freedom's last straw,
   And we always hope for the latter.
   Time has not washed away all these notions.
   Just remove the top layer of mud,
   And a flood of eternal emotions
   Will gush out upon us like blood.
   Nowadays it's acknowledge as ever, old man,
   That the price is a price, and that wine will be wine;
   And it's good if you've saved your good name from offense
   And you have a reliable backing from friends.
   Plainness, purity come from the ancients to us,
   From the past we take fables and legends
   For the good will be always the good : in the past,
   And in future, as well as at present.
   Delicate Truth, all dressed up, had a beautiful bearing,
   Smartening herself up for cripples and wrenches and freaks.
   Lie tricked the Truth into visiting her at her dwelling
   Telling her that she could stay for the night, or for weeks.
   Gullible Truth fell asleep with no bad premonition,
   Slack'ning, she broke into frivolous smiles in her dream.
   Rough Lie pulled up to herself all the blanket and cushion,
   Driving her sting through the Truth she was pleased, it would seem.
   Then she got up, and she pulled her a bulldog's face rudely,
   She 's only a woman, so why should she bother at all?
   There is no diff'rence between Truth and Lie, absolutely,
   (certainly, if you can strip them to swallow them whole)...
   Then she untwisted the beautiful band from her hair,
   Then grabbed some shoes and some clothes taking measures by sight,
   took all the money, the watch and the documents, too, lying there,
   swore like a fishwife, spit out and then took to flight.
   Only at daybreak the Truth had discovered the loss and,
   taking a look in the mirror, she stood in surprise:
   someone had daubed her with soot, she looked dirty and glossy,
   but on the whole, she believed, she was looking all right.
   When she was beaten and stoned Truth would laugh in their faces.
   "She has my clothes on. She lies. I reject all the blames ..."
   Two freaks wer' taking the minute. They weren't very gracious,
   scolding her angrily, shouting and calling her names,
   calling her "wicked" and saying "she's worse than just wicked",
   setting a dog at her, smearing all over with mud...
   shouting: "She's got to be exiled, kicked out, evicted,
   twenty four hours will be sufficient for that!"
   They wound up with a long angry scolding conclusion
   (having imputed additional crimes to the Truth):
   "She took the name of the "Truth", for the sake of confusion,
   while she had swapped all her things for indulgence and booze".
   Genuine Truth wept and sobbed, swore by God and by honour,
   wondering, going through poverty, illness, what not.
   Dirty Lie'd stolen a thoroughbred horse from the owner,
   and she set off at a gallop before she got caught.
   There is a crank that still fights for the truth with persistence,
   though there is little of truth in what truth-seeker says.
   "Truth will undoubtedly triumph one day if, for instance,
   she plays the treacherous tricks as the lie always plays..."
   Sitting at table with friends, drinking wine or whatever,
   you never know if you'll manage to really get by.
   You'll be relieved of your clothing, as sure as ever.
   Look at your trousers worn by insidious Lie.
   Look at your watch on the wrist of insidious Lie.
   Look at your horse ridden by the insidious Lie.
   I shall die
   for some day we all reach our last destination.
   And I'd rather be stabbed,
   than decease just like that in my bed.
   People pity the killed, pay them tribute
   and promise salvation...
   I'm not sure of the living,
   however, we cherish the dead.
   I shall fall on my face,
   turn to one side and then to the other,
   and on stolen old horses
   my soul will then gallop ahead.
   In the magical Gardens of Eden
   some apples I'll gather...
   It's too bad that the gardens are guarded, --
   they shoot in the head.
   When we got to the place
   what I saw there wasn't quite pleasant:
   just a wide open space,
   barren soil with no plants and no trees,
   and a huge iron gate
   towering over the boundless desert,
   and a crowd of convicts,
   thousands of them, -- on their knees.
   Now the wheel-horse got very excited.
   I calmed him by calling him "darling",
   and removed all the prickles on him,
   and smoothed out his mane.
   In the mean time, a grey-haired man
   fumbled, humbling and grumbling,
   with the bolt, but, alas,
   his attempts were vain.
   And the worn out people
   did not even utter a sound.
   They just rose from their knees to sit up,
   they were at a loss...
   Den of thieves, mob of gangsters
   came out to welcome the crowd!
   All returned to it its source,
   and a man was up there on the cross..
   Well, we all have some wishes,
   but was it so much that I wanted?
   All I need is my friends,
   and my wife, -- to shed tears when I'm dead.
   I shall gather some rose-colour apples for them --
   good and sorted...
   It's too bad that the gardens are guarded,
   they shoot in the head.
   I could tell who the grey-haired man really was
   from his tears:
   it was Peter, the holy apostle,
   while I was a stupid blockhead.
   There they were, the gardens,
   with pink frozen apples. Oh, cheers!..
   It's too bad that the gardens are guarded, --
   so I was shot dead.
   Then I urged on the horses,
   away from the horrible premises !
   And I rushed, -- I had oats for the horses
   and apples for you.
   Whip in hand, I was driving, like mad,
   on the brink of the precipice.
   You were waiting for me to return
   from the Paradise, too.
   * * *
   I am fated to argue to very last day,
   Till I yell myself hoarse, till I'm wasted away;
   I am fated to prove, going out of my way,
   That this isn't quite right and that's gone astray,
   That Christ was belied by unproved hearsay,
   That the tombstone has not yet converted to clay,
   And life under Tartars was driven to bay,
   Three hard ages of misery, plight and dismay,
   Good intentions, rebellions, entreaties to slay,
   Devastation and robbery day after day,
   They may not understand right away what I say,
   I will say it again, like a fool, come what may...
   Though it's not to the point and not urgent to-day:
   "All the vanities are void and vain anyway".
   I am sorry, I can't drain the cup on the run,
   I could share it with all, still it cannot be done.
   Shall I throw it in the face of my foe, wicked man?
   No, I cannot just do it, I wonder who can.
   Onto spinning smooth slippery ring I am thrown,
   I'm keeping my balance and holding my own.
   Shall I throw off my burden? It cannot be done.
   I would rather be patient and wait for someone,
   I will hand it to him and withdraw from the run.
   On a dark pitch-black night to the wide open lawn,
   Having given the cup to my friend, -- I'll be gone.
   Will he drain it or not? -- that will never be known.
   I am now in the meadow amongst the withdrawn,
   But about the cup I won't tell anyone,
   I had better keep mum for if I make it known
   I presume, I'll be trampled upon on the lawn.
   I am doing my best for your sake, as you see,
   Maybe, some of you will put a candle for me,
   For my nerves that squeeze out a shout from me,
   For the manner in which I make fun of all thee.
   If they promise me wonders and gardens for free,
   If they threaten with darkness -- I shall not agree!
   If I slacken my nerves I shall sing out of key,
   I would rather get strained to the proper degree!
   I had better carouse and go on a spree!
   I shall crush what I've done and what's laid up for me!
   I would rather root out my best song than be
   Whirling round and sliding like dust over me..
   If I does come to draining the cup one fine day,
   If the lyric and melody sound O.K.,
   If I manage to get them to see it my way, --
   Saying: "All is not vanity" I'll go away!
   The silly dream had beaten me
   With a big truncheon,
   And in that dream, as I could see,
   I wasn't catching.
   For in my sleep I told a lie,
   Betrayed and dreaded...
   I really didn't know that I
   Was so degraded.
   I also saw me clench my fist
   And then hit out.
   It was a kind of twist of wrist,
   Unstrained, soft clout.
   All of a sudden, from the dream
   I would arouse,
   But then my eyes would grow so dim,
   And I would drowse.
   I didn't walk, but dragged my feet
   Along the paling.
   I only tried to step on it
   In fear and trembling.
   I fawned like crazy on the strong,
   Stooped to the wayward.
   I knew that all I did was wrong
   but wasn't wakened.
   It's rubbish! Half asleep, I heard
   My own murmurs,
   And it was I, in fact, who had --
   That dream. Not others.
   When I came round I discerned
   My murmur's meaning.
   I blinked my eyes, and though it hurt
   It was relieving.
   My vision hovering above
   Crawled on the ceiling.
   Prophetic dream? So here I have
   The question sneering.
   It gave me shivers for I had
   To take decision:
   What was a lie and what was right
   About my vision.
   For if a dream is just a dream
   I should be joyous.
   But what if it's the vicious scheme
   Of clairvoyance?
   Are dreams what our days reflect?
   Oh no, I doubt it!
   But when I come to recollect
   I get dumbfounded.
   And when I hear: "Burn!" I seem
   To have no spirit.
   I'll be ashamed like in the dream
   Where I was timid.
   Or if they say: "Sing on the beam.
   Be energetic!..."
   And I will know that it's a dream
   Which is prophetic.
   * * *
   I'm feeling shivery again. My heart
   Is rumbling like a boulder in a barrel:
   A vicious rogue is living in my blood,
   With horny, hairy hands of a big scoundrel.
   When, noticing my anguish, people say
   Reproachfully: "He'll take to drinking,"
   I cannot get along with him. No way.
   He breathes, in my stead, while I am shrinking.
   He's not my double nor another me, --
   No use to give a stupid explanation.
   He is my flesh and blood. How can it be?
   It is beyond all imagination.
   He's waiting till I finish up my twine,
   When he can use my hand to write the summery,
   And I become a prudent, ruthless swine
   Betraying everybody, all and sundry.
   I do not want to look for an excuse,
   My life may fade, go past, dissolve or harden;
   But I will not excuse myself when, cutting loose,
   He gets a hold on me, all of a sudden.
   But I will summon all my power and strength,
   This time he won't elude and dodge it:
   I'll swallow poison, let him gorge it
   And turn to dust, -- I've cheated him at length!
   "The Cranes" -- the song which was popular in Russia (Soviet Union) in the early and mid-sixties.

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