Filled with sloth and with languor, In the shade I relax... You can’t see in the hangar Who’s the slave, who’s the Rex, Who is strong, who is weak, who will stay, who will crumble, Who will laugh, who will cry Who will lose, who will gain There - up in the sky - Me or, maybe, the plane? On the earth the machine seems to be meek and humble! Fate must give me good blessing For tomorrow’s test; Now I’m gently caressing Metal wings and her chest; She’s my match on the earth but, perhaps, she is faking? She’s unwilling - I’m feeling - To come out of her shell, All my life I’ve been dealing With creatures from hell - And this plane is the devil whom I have to break in! I’ll see more in the morning, I know, No forces against me she’ll save! Now she weighs up - to hide or to show Her resentment to work as a slave? ...You were pampered and spoiled By the high-brow guys, Any jumble uncoiled On your way to the skies, You’ve been labeled "Top Secret" and strictly protected! An obnoxious teenager In labs you became, Your capricious nature Tomorrow I’ll tame. And your treacherous character will be corrected! Out of fun, out of pleasure, Excuse me, you’ve run! No more days of leisure - Like a top you’ll be spun! I will make you pay back all the debts that you owe! That is painful enough, Don’t you whimper or sob! I am ruthless and tough And I know the job! Don’t you think of a crash when tomorrow we go! But some doubts again make me frown - She could slack and she could misbehave! What to do if the plane lets me down And refuses to work as a slave?
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From the miry ground We’d take off like ducks, Flights and fights all day round - Classic Hell simply sucks... We’d mistake misty cirri for sauna steaming... We were swarming in crowds, The heavens would burn, The propellers cut clouds, These clouds would turn Into parachute canapes bullets were trimming... In the darkness we’d land, Gauges dead, lights collapse, And the radio man, Hanging down on straps, Injured engines instead of propelling would jerk us; Down your spine horror crawls Sweating palms, shaking knees; Being slammed, the controls Drumming mad, and you freeze Just like watching a dangerous piece in the circus... We would land with a nightmarish feeling, Only inches away from the grave, Which we’d meet if the plane was unwilling To be working for us as a slave! ...I will be urgent landing In a test flight tonight; Speed and flutter contending, From the height I’ll alight, Pray, the plane won’t betray me as we are a couple! We depend on each other, We make up a crew, And the plane shouldn’t bother To see if I’m true, Since I’ll never abandon her if there is trouble! But my aircraft spouse, Single winged but two-faced, Makes my doubts arouse If she’s really chaste, And I have to look out for her ploys and ruses For the prejudice I Never care a lot; While her limit’s the sky - No limits I’ve got! And we’ll see in the final who wins and who loses! I am not to resign or retire If I tame this perfidious knave! I will force her to burn with desire To be working for us as a slave!
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2011
Edited by Robert Titterton