Poems and Songs of Vladimir Vysotsky. A Song of Rossia.

The crown...Adapted from Andrey Kneller’s translation by Akbar Muhammad.

The crown

Is broken into many pieces,
There’s no more the usual sequence —
The old way and even religion

Now are damned!

And we —

Being gotten into a scandal —
Just like bears closed in their caverns,
Just like burglars caught red-handed —

Have to stand!

For us,

It’s so difficult to sort out
What to keep and what to cross out,
Who’re agreeable, who’re opposed.
From this mess, where should we go out? We can’t tell!

Where’s spirit?
Where’s honor?
Where’s guilt?

Where are friends and where are strangers,
How could we neglect this danger,
Can we really cast our land and go to hell?!

And shame —

Upon those who choose safe living
’Stead of fighting for fair being,
And who count that always killing

Is a sin!

We’ll go —

As a wolf runs for the deerlet,
As an eagle swoops for the cygnet,
But before — kites should be whistled

For their meal.

Hey you!

Where’s the strength that lit your faces?
Where’s the pride with which you gazed round?
Doing nothing will disgrace you!
Grip revolvers firmly in your hands and go!

The end!
The end
To all!

What isn’t broken seems to be brittle,
And we’re left with just a little —
Till our very death, to fight against the foe!


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