In imitation of Bulat Okudzhava1
Delicate Truth then just walked in, in clothes of such fine grace - She had dressed herself up for the orphaned, the blessed and frail. Then quickly rude Lie lures pure simple Truth back to her place Says you’re welcome to rest here for the night - you look pale. And gullible Truth, she lay down to nap on the sofa. Soon she was drooling and smiling so sweet in her sleep. Cunning old Lie then pulled back the duvet from off her, Dug into Truth and took away something to keep. Then deceitful Lie stood and made a sour face at the sleeper: All women are the same, so why should you care for her more? There’s no difference at all between Truth and Lie when you see her - If you undress them both, of course - just to be sure. So Lie soon untied the gold ribbons from Truth’s lovely tresses And took all her clothes, after checking her out with her eyes. She grabbed all her cash and her watch and filched all her passes. She spat and swore filthily then left before the sunrise. Oblivious Truth only found out her loss in the morning And got the shock of her life when she saw herself in the day - The imp had grabbed soot from the old stove while she was snoring And smeared pure Truth all over. Otherwise, she’s ok. Truth merely laughed at the stones thrown in her direction: "This is all Lie’s, and Lie is wearing my dress." Two blessed fools then noted down their strong objections And called her rude names as well to compound her distress. They concluded their report with abuse - they couldn’t leave it. And by now Truth was blamed for doing Lie’s deeds as well. This scum calls herself Truth, they said - can you believe it? When she just got drunk and lost her clothes, as you can tell.         Now Truth cursed and wailed and couldn’t stop weeping She wandered for ages, fell ill and was desperate for cash. Filthy Lie stole the thoroughbred horse while she was sleeping And raced far, far away at a helluva dash.         There’s still an old weirdo who fights for Truth in his odd way But the truth is there is no truth at all in his claim: "Pure Truth will prevail over Lie, I’m certain, one day. If pure Truth copies Lie, and does just the same." Often, you’ll down several vodkas and forget what you’ve had. You can’t even tell where you’ll end up spending the night You maybe undressed by someone and that is the truth, lads. Look now - your jeans are stolen away by slippery Lie! Look now - your watch is stolen away by slippery Lie! Look now - who reins your horse but slipp’ry, slippery Lie?
1 Bulat Okudzhava (1924-1997) was a famous Russian poet and songwriter "whose spare, telling poems" as the New York Times said in their 1997 obituary, "helped forge an important new literature of dissent in Russia during the 1950s and 60s." He was one of the pioneers of the "author song," the songs of a poet with just a guitar, often out of tune, providing just a simple rhythm and allowing the words to dominate. The simplicity and individuality were dissident to the bombastic social realism of the Soviet state. Okudzhava was a major influence on Vysotsky.
© John Farndon + Olga Nakston. Translation, 2022