In a savage region thatís Unruly and benighted, A young manís ills were legion as Each card he picked was blighted. Still he scooped up with his hands tightly cupped Insults cruel and vile; But the bitterness he supped Still had a taste of bile. Drink the poison till youíre bloated; You wonít need to part with cash, For whichever way a rope twists It will twist into a lash. Wretches may not linger and Walk the earth with packs instead; Life slips through their fingers and Is as thin as spiderís thread. As for those with dues to pay, led astray, Who go beyond the pale, Winds have dragged them down the way That takes them straight to jail. Thereís no mercy there, itís hopeless; Clench your teeth and get a grip, For whichever way a rope twists It will twist into a whip. Oh, what a wild, troubled land; Many moons Iíve tramped through you. With your scaffold you look grand, And your slippery rope too. Satan takes in his own hands those whoíre hanged; Their bare heels he licks - Laugh or cry you still, goddamn, Wonít survive and wonít exist. Laugh, donít weep and quit your groaning; Now youíd better dry your eyes, For whichever way a rope twists It will still be cut to size. Night-time thoughts are dim and dark; Carpenters donít hang around; Long before the matins start Theyíll already cut you down. Donít you bother to complain; all the same It will not be put off! But still the rope that has your name Doesnít have a slipknot. Better lie down where itís warmest; Ere the gallows Iíll not snooze, For whichever way a rope twists It will twist into a noose.
© Margaret & Stas Porokhnya. Translation, 2007