Poems and Songs of Vladimir Vysotsky. Life Is Twisted.

A Song about the Transmigration of Souls.Adapted from Jack Doughty and George
Tokarev’s translations by Akbar Muhammad.

Some people trust Muhammad, and some — Jesus for salvation,
And there are also such types who treat these ones with spite,
While there is Hindus’ idea of souls transmigration,
Which says that we don’t die for good, and I believe it’s right.

If for the high thy soul strives,

Thou’lt get thy dreams again.

But if thou’st lived a porker’s life,

A porker thou’lt remain.

If people look at thee askance, it’s not the cause for crying —
When coming back, thou’lt get a tongue as sharp as a steak knife.
But if it happens that in this life thou’lt see thy foe dying —
Thou’lt get a pair of keen eyes in thy forthcoming life.

Enjoy thy life and don’t be cross,

Don’t gripe about thy fate —

Directly into a big boss

Thy soul may migrate.

Don’t worry if thou’rt but a hand, thou’lt be reborn a foreman,
With time thou’lt be a minister — it’s really not a joke!
But if thou dostn’t behave thyself — it’s an unlucky omen! —
Then for some hundred years next, thou’lt stand there as an oak!

Get rid of venom, be deadpan,

Don’t imitate and fox —

We ought to live our earthly span

As normal decent folks.

So who is who and who was what? We’ll never get an answer.
The have-nots will possess the Earth, perceive what it implies!
There is a chance that this black cat was formerly a rascal,
And that nice chap was a kind dog, who won his golden prize.

To my delight I give free vent,

I’m like a saint, indeed...

These clever Hindus did invent

A comfortable creed!


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