Neightbours starting to get plastered, At the feast them guests in rows, And the mistress of the master To the cellar down she goes. In the keys, the lock is tumbled, Out the food, the stove is hot, Flues are clean, so nary a rumble Or some other trouble spot. But in my place itís troubles round robin: One day the garden, next the cowís in pain, One day the stove is smoking, wonít draw beans, The next itís toothache or some such pain. Over there, itís cabbage soup with meat, The whole village hears them chewing. The daughter, bride, ripe enough to eat, All in boils, well, just a few oíthem. The lad he mustíve come to meet that broom. What those pancakes mustíve cost them, fancy! And whoíd have thought that puny bridegroom Was one for dancing! But at my place, them dogs of yours truly Donít bark no more, just howl and fight. And on my feet, old bunions oozing fluid From pacing round the empty room at night. Oh, at the neighbourís, they drink fast. But, hell, why not, itís not your last. And why not sing when itís a blast, And heís paying? But here, my womanís nine months, The geese I havenít fed for months, Not just the geese, the whole dance! I mean, a pain. Here them roaches run things, pure and simple, I chase one out of doors next day thereís ten. And also, in an awkward place, a huge big pimple: What, work, man? I can barely sit or stand. The neighbour sent his little runt To say I should come over soon, And so I thought Iíd better come, Declined, but then agreed. He mustíve downed a litre or more, Warmed right down to the very core, And so I went and drank the store, Still felt aggrieved. And in the thick of all that festive fare I whispered something to the bridegroom-to-be, And suddenly the lad is outta there, The bride upset, for all to see. The neighbour shouts that heís no fink, That common law is writ in ink, That he donít eat who does not drink, And takes a swig. Then one and all jump to their feet, The little runt corrects and blets, "Who does not work, let him not eat - Dad, youíre thick!" And me, I sat alone and fingered fondly The fiver I had stashed for morning-after blues, Embracing my accordeon, my only True pal who gets me invitations to these doís. The neighbour downed a litre more And like a dog right off the floor He got me up for an encore: What did I think, drinkís on the house? Then three of them big chunky lads Grabbed me tight by my shoulder pads: "You sing, you bastard!" and one adds, "Or else we rip your stinking mouth." So far so good, and then the fun got bendy, The bride had commeced to spread her tail, And I began to sing "O happy days unending" And "How I used to ride with the mail". And then a soup of fish was eaten, And the chicken innards with the feet in, And then the groom had to be beaten Good and proper. And then they danced like village swells, And then they fought among themselves, And everything that started well Came a cropper. And as for me, I moaned in a far corner. Iíd had my fill, the time to strut had passed, Thinking: Which of you fine fellows, come morning, Will I again be seeing through my glass? Next morning, over there all is tranquil, Plenty of good mood and, frankly, No hang-over bitterness to rankle: Eat your fill, in other words. And nobody is in a fight, The dog is squealing with delight, The tiled stove is clean and bright, And even the flue works. But over here, even in finest weather, Itís burning hell inside my swollen head. I drink the freezing water, clean the leather Of my accordeon, and the wifeís still mad.
© de Cate + Navrozov. Translation, 1995