The mountains differ a lot from a plain - The avalanche thunders again and again; The landslide is roaring and filling your soul with awe... We might turn away From the chasm in dismay But we select the hardest way Which is as risky as the path of war! The mountain crest puts you to test When hazards give you no rest - Your downworld virtues count here no more... Way down below you’ll never meet This magic beauty - a tenth of it! - Which up in the mountains you already saw! They say with disdain that we are insane, That we all perish just in vain, But it’s much better than from vodka or rum - The others will come, Quitting lives, so calm, Afraid of no risk or harm - They’ll make it to the top if you succumb! On vertical ice you may often get stuck; Watch out! Never count on luck! No cliff and no crag in the mountains ever you trust! Rely on your hand, on the help from your friend And pray that the piton, on which you depend, Inside that rock was driven rather fast! Around the stone, where he rests in peace, There is no ribbon and no wreath And on its top the stone carries no star... The peak in sight Is shining bright With cold icy heavenly light, That very peak you’ve failed to conquer so far! We’re chipping the steps - no way to retreat! The heart’s running wild in a feverish beat, It’s ready to mount the mountain, so to speak! The world is beneath you - you’re silent and glad And only slightly you envy the lad, Who’s going the first time to make it himself to the peak!
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2001
Edited by Robert Titterton