With what clause, from what positions Can one justify that march? Why did we flee from our borders, Why did we fail to attack? Maybe itís a clever tactic, A maneuver of some sort, But it would have been much better Not to fight at Moscow walls. Not so often wounds are aching, Twenty five is quite a time, But this memory still pulses In the temples like a drum. Muscovites were writing letters That their city wonít be sacked. Well at last thereís understanding That we canít fall further back. But our letters were delivered In an hourís time at best. Thatís too fast, weíd love that years Passed before they could be read. We craved fights like one craves women. Hulking down in the snow No one tried to look for guilty, We all had a common foe. The retreating Brestís battalions And Siberian red guards All were getting very restless, All were ready for a charge. The Siberians are wiry. Help them God, to live through hell! In the snowy Moscow evenings They lay down right where they fell. Waiting for this hour and minute To attack, for days and nights! So that later lines were written "An unprecedented fight..." By revenge for our withdrawals, By our unrelenting faith, By such devastating losses, One canít think of or forget. Those who got a dreary message Read, "Your husband, our good friend..." Long the trains will host those beggars: Some lack arms and some lack legs. Memory eternal, heroes, In our hearts in peace you rest. But it would have been much better To avoid the forty-first. Will you help me, just a little? Pry me from my wife, comrade. May God give you faith in living, Even Heís a warring god.
© Kirill Tolmachev. Translation, 2022