All the prison terms are over, Gates are nailed crosswise and doors. There’s a scribbled posted warning Saying: "All have gone to war." For our sins we will be pardoned, That’s the kind of folk we have: If our homeland is in peril Then we all must go to war. Here, a year, If God is willing, Counts as three towards our term. With our guards today we’re equal, Since we all will go to war. And our warden’s such a number: Oh, he’s cocky, oh, he’s bold! His dark soul’s crisscrossed with lumber, But he also went to war. In the rear he’d done way better, He was only brave with us. He received the highest measure For his self-inflicted wound. Well, and we, we were forgiven, Were awarded afterwards. With a medal those still living, And the dead ones with a cross. Now the other Soviet convicts Pass the prison gates and doors, Where our memory is posted Saying: "All have gone to war."
© Kirill Tolmachev. Translation, 2022