Field-marshal kissed the banner’s silk of dust, And, spitting out his dentures in despair, He called us “you, my sons, you’re born for cast, Disdain the death, my cutthroats, win, you dare!” And, proud with our colours, crumpled ones, Inspired by his speech of clever passion, Some soldiers came into the very fronts They pushed away the others in their hunts And falled by grape-shots in their first succession. Those cunning ones and those who didn’t rave And didn’t want to pay, who had their reason, They’ve got into the last ranks to be saved, But failed - by comrades they were kindly strafed In backs, for their escape and shameful treason. Hard days today, no boots for some of us, But, after all, we’ll celebrate the trophies The brilliant corps, the guys of highest class - all cutthroats in a military office! Another ones, who’ve been inside the worst, While tried both back and front to save and care They neither went attacking, neither first, Nor being the last, they fought as they were thirst, For very “golden mean”, for staying there. They’ll later give us memories, as they wont, They’ll die in verbs, with our past they’ll fiddle, Those, who’s not stepping out to confront, Who also doesn’t escape in latest front And proud for surviving in the middle. The pipe is silent, brasses are subside And voice on iron lowers down the roads The brilliant corps is crushed, so brave and bright, And were survived the very few cutthroats. But none of them have stained their banner’s cry - Field-marshal’s breathe was happy, calm and pure - For them, in children’s eyes to justify, He said: “It’s war, somebody used to die, Somebody - to survive, the fact is sure! Their stars are duller than one hero’s flash, They’ll surely live till death, that won’t be riddle, They, who conceal behind the brave man’s flesh While leaving rears for a coward’s lash Those “moderates” of comfortable middle. The trampled colors mark defeated cause Field-marshal’s batons, dentures and trophies There was a corps! - or if it really was? - - lost cutthroats in a military office!
© Dmitry Yefremov. Translation, 2001