Why has everything changed? Life goes on as it should... Thereís the sky over us, blue as ever, As before thereís the air, the water, the wood... But heís 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. Heíd be awkwardly silent, heíd 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. Iím destitute now, and Iíve just touched the ground, It occurred to me: Iíd been beside him... And I felt as if I had my fire blown out when he didnít 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.
© Alec Vagapov. Translation, 1998