Vladimir Vysotsky. The Heavenly Airfield.

Commentary to “A Song about the Fallen Friend”.

To this section, it can be added Harold Adamson’s song “Coming In on a Wing and a Prayer”:

One of our planes was missing, two hours over due.
One of our planes was missing, with all its gallant crew.
The radio sets were humming, they waited for a word;
Then a voice broke thru the humming and this is what they heard:

“Comin’ in on a wing and a pray’r.
Comin’ in on a wing and a pray’r.
Tho’ there’s one motor gone, we can still carry on,
Comin’ in on a wing and a pray’r.

“What a show, what a fight,
Yes, we really hit our target for tonight!

“How we sing as we limp thru the air,
Look below, there’s our field over there.
With our full crew aboard and our trust in the Lord
We’re comin’ in on a wing and a pray’r.

“How we sing as we limp thru the air,
Look below, there’s our field over there.
With our full crew aboard and our trust in the Lord
We’re comin’ in on a wing and a pray’r.”

This song is one of those songs where Vladimir Vysotsky wrote about the Last Judgment, three final lines, to all appearances, refer to the Mahdi.

N i k o l a y S k o m o r o k h o v was an air marshal, a twice Hero of the Soviet Union. In the war, he was a fighter pilot, in individual hunting he found and de­stroyed a plane that shot down his combat friend Nikolay Gorbunov.

The literal meaning of the fifth line of the seventh stanza is “under (the supervision of) God we were flying”.

The song was performed by an anonymous artist in the play of the Yermolova Theater “Stars for the Lieutenant”.

The presented text is adapted from George Tokarev and Tamara Vardomskaya’s translations.

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