Give meat to the dogs that are wailing - See if they start fighting; Give drunkards some cold saline - See if hangover gets lighter. Never let crows fatten - Scare off greedy ravens, But let lovers love - let ‘em Stay in some quiet havens. You must sow the seed and Soon they will sprout if you seed ‘em... Good, I will be obedient - Only give me freedom! Meat scraps to the dogs were given But - look! - no fight followed; Boozers got vodka, but even Not a droplet was ever swallowed. Scarecrows are not scarce - But ravens don’t care a farthing; Lovers are put in pairs - But all they want is parting. Soil is seeded, but - what a riddle! - No sprouts emerge somehow... I was yesterday given freedom - What on earth shall I do with it now?..
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2001
Edited by Robert Titterton