My neighbor gives a mighty feast, his guests look good, to say the least; the hostess hurries, as if greased, towards the cellar. The keys are slipped into the lock, and food emerges from the stock; no problems with the chimney block, nor with the blower. And at my place - itís only getting harder: My livestock dies, the stove produces fumes, A meager cropís expected in the garden, Or else my cheek starts throbbing and balloons. The neighborsí shchi has chunks of meat, and cartilage is crunched to bits, the daughter-bride is all in zits - looks ripe, this lass is. Betrothal partyís going on, one hundred spent on guests alone; the groom himself all skin-n-bone, but sings and dances. And at my place - the dogs are howling gravely, Theyíve changed from usual barking in the night; the blisters on my feet burst open lately from pacing floors around my empty site. The neighbors have a drinking spree! And why not drink when itís all free? And why not sing when all agree, and itís not awkward? But here - a baby on the way, a flock of geese had run astray... Itís not about the geese, Iíd say, itís just untoward! Here at my place, there is a lice irruption, I chase them off, to see them in a bit. And in an awkward place a boil has ruptured - Itís time to plow, and I can neither stand nor sit. My neighbor sent for me his boy - to witness riches they enjoy. Well, I refused, just to annoy, But he insisted. He must have drunk a liter straight, became much kinder in this state, and so I went and drank and ate - my gloom persisted. And in the middle of this celebration I quickly whispered something to the groom. Heís gone, without a momentís hesitation, the brideís reduced to sobbing in her room. The neighbor yells that heís the folk, the basic law is not a joke: "Who will not eat, he shall not tope!" Then gulps another. All guests then bolted from their seats, so his young lad had to repeat: "Who will not work, he shall not eat. You blundered, father!" Expecting my hangover on the morrow, I sat and clutched my greasy ruble bill. An old accordion to drown my sorrow - I was invited just to show my skill. The neighbor gulped another one, and he got sick, and he was done. He wanted me to sing at once - to pay for drinking. I was surrounded on both sides by two athletic-looking guys: "Now play, you bastard, sing your lines! We need your singing!" But soon the fun had reached its culmination, the bride already had a drunken gaze, and so I sang about the postal station, where I, a coachman, spent my better days. And then were giblets with fish soup; the groom was looked for by a group, and when he finally was scooped, they beat him badly. And then they danced around the hut, and then they fought without result, and every good side they had had, was perished, sadly. And groaning like a bittern from the sorrow, I sat deep in my corner far away, while thinking: "Who will I drink with tomorrow of these with whom I eat and drink today?" Thereís always peace there in the morn, a slice of bread to nibble on, and drinking doesnít cause concern, and no hangover. Thereís no one yelling to skies; a dog is stumbling through the aisles; the stove has blue mosaic tiles and has a blower. And at my place, despite the perfect weather, the soul is burning, and the gloom remains. I drink well water, as I put together my battered squeeze box, and my wife complains.
© Kirill Tolmachev. Translation, 2023