For four long years we sailed the high seas in our ship And neither storms nor battles dulled our colours. We learnt to mend the sails that bullets ripped; Weíd press our bodies on our craft to plug her. Once a flotilla started chasing after us; The sea was calm, we couldnít dodge that meeting. But then our captain told us without fuss: "Itís not yet evening, itís not yet evening!" Their flagship drew up sideways on, its port side ringed With coloured smoke while blindly, without aiming, We shot back salvos - and our luck was in! We killed our foes and left their vessel flaming. We had escaped from tighter corners in our time, But still an ill wind blew; our hold was leaking. And then our captain gave his usual sign: "Itís not yet evening, itís not yet evening."
Through big binoculars a hundred eyes were trained; Through telescopes they saw us mad and blackened - But rest assured theyíll never see us chained And manning galley oars in servile fashion!
Our ship was listing as they fired from front and back; "God save our human souls", we started pleading. But then our captain yelled: "Boarding attack! Itís not yet evening! Itís not yet evening!" If youíve got heart, you want to live and youíre no drip Prepare your hands to be your deadly weapon! And let the rats desert the sinking ship - In combat we donít need them here to step on. The rats all thought: "Many a true wordís said in jest." As case-shot flew they dumbly started leaving. We neared the frigate till we sat abreast. Itís not yet evening, itís not yet evening! We fought them eye to eye, blades clashing, ear to ear! Not to be fed to tentacles and nippers Some waving guns and daggers, some in tears, We left for good and all our sinking clipper. But theyíll not send it to the bottom in the end - The sea will stop our vessel from receding Because the seaís our ever-loyal friend And like our captain said - itís not yet evening!
© Margaret & Stas Porokhnya. Translation, 2008