Iím from Rostov myself, a foundling in fact, Could be from wherever is farthest, And if you, my God, will watch my back, My pig wonít devour my carcass. Iím living all over, today Iím in Tul, Care for nothing, but still canít forget That Orphanage where I was schooled, The Republic Chechen-Ingushet. They kept our childish souls alive, Shared our fate and daily crust. Life flew by on a rattletrap drive, And flew bang out the exhaust. Never knew what to do with my life, Loved my friends, my guests and my weed, Now, each trigger, I reach for my knife; Since I carry no knife, no-one bleeds. Like a tumbleweed, blown in the wind, Ate on foot, nursing grudges and gifts, Elbows poking my ribs are a friend As familiar as wagons and thrift. I was shipped there, where others survived, We carved up our fate as we must. Life flew by on a rattletrap drive, And flew bang out the exhaust. We toughened in climates frosty, Where they donít turn back any man, Like Chechens gone off from Grozny, In the Caucuses to Kazakhstan. Siberiaís sweet for the barbers, Piles of nations and unshaven bums, Space for Jew or for convict regardless, Basmach rebels whose dayís never done. In the Arctic, we gold-panners thrived, Broke our backs at the quarry til dusk, Life flew by on a rattletrap drive, And flew bang out the exhaust. We drank furniture polish and sicker, Glue or varnish, we tried not to talk, If we dodged fool-bullets with liquor - Could smarter shots hit the mark? I drink vodka with nuts for the lark, Cognac with the Uzbeks and rice, Once, in Norilsk industrial park, I tried molten steel with the guys. Gold-plugged holes in my gums so Iíve Pension funds to extract when Iím bust, Life flew by on a rattletrap drive, And flew bang out the exhaust. What songs orphans sang round the hearth! We jumped the rocks naked and bold! íTil I was made stray from the path, I was Chechen-Ingush in my soul. Some of them stabbed by the knife, Others another way, thirdly a third, Siberia, kingdom of yokes and strife, Space to live and die unheard. I am bald, my curls didnít survive, All the hair on my head has been lost, Life flew by on a rattletrap drive, And flew bang out the exhaust. Once the memories start again, Itís always the same: ďHelp! Watch out!Ē Volga Germans beating Chechens; And Siberia hosts their bout. By the time a lynch mob threatened, Grabbed a throat to back the Chechens; Neither side local, yet I reckon They think itís their land to defend. All those who forced us to strive, In their graves now, turned and tossed, Carried there on a rattletrap drive, Their souls flew out the exhaust.
© Brigit McCone. Translation, ?