Our country’s in the fire like in tentacles of squids; The flames are dancing happily in their jig and galop; Today both Time and Fate have changed their old nags for steeds - You rush ahead, Alive or dead, The whole world has shrugged in dread From our merry gallop! So stupid and obtuse, Stray bullets fly around, To trot away from them - it takes a bit too long; The horseshoes would come loose And fall onto the ground To bring good luck to those folks who’ll find them later on! Our curls and thoughts are scrambled, mixed and mingled; Evasive, like an eel, and agile are the reins... The wind blew hard and it unplaited ringlets, Uncoiling convolutions of our brains! We fear no fires and we aren’t afraid of frays, Our Time has come at last and Fate would pull the trigger; The horsemen bravely crossed their swords with nothing but sun rays... The rider sings, His horse got wings, The fire dims and then it sinks, But tumult grows bigger! The world had never seen such a terrific clutter, The hooves would drum and send bright sparks into the dark; Blood-craving bullets got some wits and, thus, became much smarter - More often, than they used to do, these bullets hit the mark! Who’ll win the race? - The one who never groans! But no one’s late to grab his share of the pool! The wind blew all the muscles off the bones And pleased the skeleton - the air was so cool! Don’t wait but catch your luck - all cripples will be healed! Time’s rushing straight ahead instead of spiral tripping... Although the promises tomorrow may easily be killed - No doubts here: The friend is near, And enemies must disappear! Along the field Fate’s sweeping! So gullible is Death! We turned to be much stronger, Despite its scythe we swindled Death and that was not so hard! The bullets lagged behind our backs and reached us no longer... By Gosh! When will we wash ourselves with dew and not with blood?! Time has been wounded, Fate is deadly tired; The wind has changed its songs to those calm and sad... Both winds and horses carried off the fire Both crippled souls and bodies of the dead!
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2001
Edited by Robert Titterton