I’m grateful to my Mom and Dad - I’ve grown up a gorgeous lad. I get along with different people well, indeed... I never bent My mighty back, I never meant To cheat or stack, My hands just helped my head in everything I did.             My life was full of jabs and kicks - I went to jail, then beat the bricks, I wandered over the country back and forth... But then I ran across a guy Who hired me and now I Am driving heavy trucks up to the North. ... The road’s slushy and the truck With axles in the mud has stuck. The cabin’s dark, my mate for long is keeping mum. I’d rather he would bark or bray - Three hundred miles either way - But he is clattering his teeth, my driving chum. We knew the folks would not survive If we in time did not arrive, So we set off despite the risks - such is the trade! It is New Year’s Eve today - Three hundred miles either way - The blizzard’s started, cutting us off any aid. My mate burst out with a yell: “Switch off this bloody truck to hell! By sitting here we just go to the doom! Three hundred miles either way - You’re crazy if you wanna stay, The snowstorm will turn this truck into a tomb!” I said: “Shut up!” but he would clench, His knuckles white, a heavy wrench, His wolfish look on me - he’s always quick to fight! Three hundred miles to either end - The one, who’ll outlive his friend, Interrogated, then, will prove that he was right! I treated him as next of kin, I brought him up and ran him in, And now he’s as beastly as could be... Three hundred miles to either end - And who will later understand That he forgot that all he’s got he owes me? And then he vanished in the dark, I let him go - best of luck! I fell asleep and dreamed about this merry feast: Three hundred miles on either side - And there’s a maze in which I ride, I seek the exit which, alas, does not exist! A rescue came when through the snow Rolled up a tractor with a tow, There was a doc - you see, the end is rather plain... And he returned, disposed of pride... Well, soon again I’ll have a ride, I hold no grudges - I will take my mate again.
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2001
Edited by Robert Titterton