I’m “Yak” the fighter. My engine’s in glee, Heavens make me almighty; But he, who’s sitting inside of me, He reckons that he is a fighter. I have brought down the “Messerschmitt”, That fight was rather a bore! But he, who’s sitting inside of me, - I can’t bear him any more. Mechanics went crazy when they came to see Shell splinters in my metal skin, But he, who’s sitting inside of me, Again makes me dive in a spin. From out the bomber the bomb down brings Death to the airdrome, It sounds as though the stabilizer sings “P-e-e-e-eace to your home!” A “Messer” pursues me. I’m going to flee - So tired of wounds I am; But he, who’s sitting inside of me, I see he’s decided to ram! Oh, what is he doing!? I’ll split into bits! But no! I won’t burn on the sand! Overcoming all limits and speeds Up from the dive I ascend! I’m leading! Behind me - God damn all my sins! - Where’s my second, who covers? He’s flaming, he’s fuming, and, diving, he sings “P-e-e-e-eace to your house!” Alone my tenant has now to strive, He’s got himself in the soup. At first he misled me, then led me to dive Right after looping the loop. He jerks the controls and doubles the load - On this ace I won’t stake a dime! Today I obey in my usual mode, But it’s only for the last time! I swear, I’ll be disobedient. I think, It’s better to lie on the ground, Doesn’t he see - gas (my blood!) on the brink! My pulse has gone mad like a hound! The plane’s toleration has reached its extreme, My patience was made to pass... But he, who’s sitting inside of me, Stuck his face in the glass. He’s killed! I am happy! I’m flying unbound! I spare no strength at all! But what’s this? I’m falling straight down to the ground, And I can’t pull up from this fall. I deeply regret that so little I’ve done, Successor of mine, be more telling! It turned out that I in the end have sung “P-e-e-e-eace to your dwelling!”
1 A Soviet plane “YAK” was the best fighter plane in the Second World War.
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2001
Edited by Robert Titterton