All the sentences are finished now, Boarded up with planks criss-crossed, Are the gates, the entrance to the camps, - With a sign: "Went to the front." For our sins we’ll be forgiven, All our people are this way: When the Motherland’s in danger - All went to the front, away. If God keeps you - there a year’s like three - At the camps the count’s the same. With armed prison guards we’re equals now, All went to the front, away. And our chief, Beryozkin is his name, He’s conceited, thinks he’s hot! His soul’s criss-crossed, boarded up with planks, But he too went to the front. It’d been better to leave him at home, Only with us was he brave, The tribunal sentenced him to death, For self-shooting to evade. But we all-we all had proved our worth, Afterwards, we got our prize, Those who lived-received their medals, Crosses-for those who had died. And now all the other prisoners, Will read standing at the gates, Our glazed memory, a simple sign: "All went to the front, away..."
© Arkady Yanishevsky. Translation, 2008