To Nikolay Skomorokhov and his deceased friend
All this war to the chock-full I would dream of my mother, And although I was fuming, I was fighting with skill. But my friend, he was hurrying, he forgot to take cover, Through the war back and forth did he hover; In two years it was virtually nil! Since the forty-third summer his heartís pulse havenít been heard. I myself fell in slumber of a conflict-free world. Every breath comes with effort; I stare down like a drunk. He was kind, he was better, much better... I myself had dumb luck. I did not ask for favors, nor was favored by Fortune, I did not seek reserves to be as snug as a bug; But the womenís eyes always reprimanded me watching: "And if only youíd stayed there forever, then perhaps my man would have come back." There is nothing so cryptic in their silent reprise; I myself feel so twisted that their dreams were capsized. I came up with an earnest: "Please forgive, Iím alive! By pure chance Iím returning, returning... But he failed to survive." Flames were reaching his cockpit, but his voice came back pulsing; "You must live! You will make it!" - through the noise I have heard. We were flying in heaven, near the Abrahamís bosom; He ascended and thatís where he landed, I myself made it back to the earth. The reception on heavens was a cold-hearted one. Forced to land on the belly, he would grovel to none; Now his sleep is long-lasting, but his song was cut short. I survived, Iím returning, returning... He will not come along. I will always feel guilty before those who had fallen, Before those whom today I would be honored to meet. And although weíre survivors of the last day of combat, We are burned by our past, by our morals - only those, who kept conscience clean. Someone, pedant and thrifty, is in charge of our clocks. Pilotsí lives run too swiftly Just like landing fieldís blocks. Some have crashed, some have made it, others took off for good. As for me, I have landed, have landed... Wish that he also would.
© Kirill Tolmachev. Translation, 2019