Youíre not on the plains. Itís quite a change: An avalanche after avalanche. And falling rocks explode by your tent. You can turn back, avoid the crag, But still we choose the tougher track: The perilous route of the first ascent. Till you climb a wall and risk a fall You havenít proven yourself at all. Even if down below you were in command. Down below, try as you might, Youíll never set your marveling sight On anything so wondrous and grand! No flowers and no laurels, and Looks nothing like a monument The rock upon your final resting place. The eternal flame burns in your name: The summit you have failed to tame Shines in the sun, its emerald ice ablaze. So let them talk and let them complain. But no! No one dies in vain! Itís better than from booze and the common cold. Others will trade their life of ease For dangers and difficulties And finish your work of conquering that wall! A vertical drop. Two miles high. On Providence here you canít rely. Donít trust the rock, the ice, or the cliff you scale. We place our faith in our own hands, The metal spike, and the hands of friends, And only pray the gear doesnít fail. Weíre cutting the steps. No stopping now! Your heart is ready to leap out And run to the top, heeding the summitís call! The world at your feet. You have no words, Euphoric and envious towards All those whoíve yet to experience it all.
© Vadim Astrakhan. Translation, 2017
© Vadim Astrakhan. Performance, 2020