Life was dandy in the first third, Twenty prime years in the wide world, Up to common tide. Well to do and always busy, At my will used to be steering, Drifting on through life, Be it creaking at a turn or Be it cracking in a whirl, I Wasn’t listening. Putting on shoes, taking off them, Prizing my own face in water, I was wetting whistle. An’ just as I was thus elated, Found myself, when fog aba... fog abated, In a nasty spot. And a crone, enormous, evil, Cackled right into my ear, What a wicked fox! I yell out and hear no yell, I’m Much too scared to brace myself, I Feel like in a brume. In the gusts of wind I stagger: “Who is here?” and hear an answer: “Me, Uneasy ‘un! Quit out praying and bewailing, Blessed Virgin won’t be a... be able To redeem, this time. He who drops the oars and rudders, By the rule, becomes corrupted By Uneasy ‘un.” And, short-winded out of stoutness, Breaks her way through roots and stubs, beast, Tramping heavily. In the dark, I seek an outlet, This time, sipping booze in only Teeny-weeny helps. All at once, towards me, live is Going rickety, cockeye... cockeyed one, Mug is devious. “Don’t lament”, yells “unattended, Luckless wretch mine, on a bender, I will dry your eyes!” From the heart I let a cry out: “Get me out of here, Cockeye... Cockeyed ‘un, I am on a leash! Give no damn that you’re lopsided, Bandy-handed and squint-eyed, just Get me out of here...” In a fright, climb on her hump, Whereas Cockeyed ‘un circles about: Legs are different size. I fall down and crawl around, While the crones are giggling loud, Ugly, hideous. Quit out fat when you are for it, Troubles are plenty up the fall, and Lots of evil down... “Look Cockeyed ‘un, here’s a quarter To sort out your wryness, ‘cause ye Haven’t got me out.” And you also, Mom Uneasy, Have some veritas in vino As a medicine. Weighing much is lading, isn’t it? Gulping down a dozen beakers Should be easing." And the crones do fasten onto Honey potion in the bottle, a Soaker with a sot. I’m still hiding in the hummocks Looking round while moving backwards, Jumping down the drop. Look around, the boat’s not far, an’ After me, from snag to snag are Sighing heavily, Quick’ning their pace and whining, The two lots, the two lots of mine, Cockeyed ‘un And Uneasy ‘un. I rowed, getting into a lather, Whether steering to a rapid Or against the stream... Whereas Cockeyed on a bender And Uneasy in a dander, Vanished suddenly.
© Vyacheslav Chetin. Translation, 2010