Vladimir Vysotsky. The Heavenly Airfield.

A Song about the Fallen Friend.

To Nikolay Skomorokhov and his fallen friend.

All the war I was longing


for my home and my town,

And though I got excited,


I performed things quite right,

While he was in a hurry,


once he didn’t bend his crown,

And turned backward and forward, and only


for two years he managed to fight.

So his pulse made no sound
From the forty-third spring,
As for me yes, I’ve drowned
In the sweet postwar dream.

My desires are whetted,
But my breath often gets stuck...
He was kinder and better,
He was kinder and better,
But it’s me who had luck.

I didn’t live under cover,


nor I asked for the rear,

I was ever aggressive,


never trying to stack;

But I took an allusion,


and sometimes with a sneer,

In the eyes of the widows I met with,


“Perhaps instead of my man ye came back.”

Each of them has her story,
And their look is so sad...
Do they think I’m not sorry
That their star is too bad?

Once I blurted, “Forgive me,
For the fact I’m alive!
I returned without thinking,
I returned without thinking,
And your one wasn’t in time...”

He cried out in the ending,


when his plane was flame-ridden,

“Ye live on! ye will make it!”


through the roaring I heard.

Close to Heaven we were flying,


near Garden of Eden,

He just zoomed a bit higher and sat there,


as for me I could make it to Earth.

He was met as a great man
On the Heavenly airfield.
There the staff, without question,
Heard a lot about him.

Too far off he proceeded,
Never he’d move astern.
I returned yes, I did it,
I returned yes, I did it,
And he failed to return...

I’ll for ever be guilty


toward my pals who were downed,

If I presently met them,


I’d be honored with it.

Yes, we were able to finish


this damned war safe and sound,

But we’re not able to quieten our conscience


those of us who had luck to get it.

God austerely and featly
Measured us days to keep,
Which we pass through as fleetly
As a plane the airstrip.

Some for ever ascended,
Some crashed on that airstrip...
As for me yes, I landed,
As for me yes, I landed,
It’s my fortune and grief.

1975.

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