Vladimir Vysotsky. A Song of Rossia.

Commentary to the song “The Wooden Clothing”.

This poem calls to mind Joseph Dzhugashvili’s poem “From one to another thorp moved he...”:

From one to another thorp moved he,
And met with both rich and poor folks.
On his old grandfather’s panduri,
Accompanied his simple songs.

And there, in his songs not pretended,
As clean as the snow on the tops,
Did sound, come straight from the Heaven,
A dream of new living of folks.

The hearts, cold and rigid as stones,
Became with his singing alive,
And sleeping beneath ashes coals
Gave birth to the powerful fire.

But those on whom wrath is brought down,
Who’re charmed with the dazzle of gold,
Instead of good wine, deadly potion,
Poured into his cup for his work.

“Ye’re one of the sons of mean bitches!”
Said they. “Drink it to the last drop!
Your fables aren’t what we’re in need of,
We’ve gotten the straight road to walk.”

Here also comes to mind Gabdulla Tukay’s poem “Love thou life and love thy people...”:

Love thou life and love thy people,
Share their ups and downs as well,
But when comes thy last hour, leave
With no pity this life’s vale.

Breathing the bright days to come,
Holding insults in contempt,
Bear up everything, and slum
It with credit, keep thyself.

And it is pertinent to recall here Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Captive” (this poem is given in the commentary to the song “Condemned to Life”).

The song was performed in the film “Intervention” (1968).

The presented text is adapted from Stas and Margaret Porokhnya’s translation.

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