Vladimir Vysotsky. The Heavenly Airfield.


“The Song of the Fighter Pilot” calls to mind what is written in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation.

This song was performed by an anonymous artist in the play “Stars for the Lieutenant” in the Yermolova Theater and in the Memorial Lenin Komsomol The­a­ter.

Another good song about two pilots — it is Robert Rozhdestvensky’s “The Very Large Heaven” (this text is partly inspired by Ludmila Purgina’s trans­la­tion):

This story, dear comrades, cannot be forgotten:
There served two close fellows in one fighter squadron.
And they’d always had in the service and hearts
The very large heaven, the very large heaven,
The very large heaven — one for both these ones.

Their friendship was lasting in gladness and grief,
When flying, they could touch the stars if they’d wish.
But came misadventure as tears to eyes:
The motor did break down, the motor did break down,
The motor did break down in one of their flights...

They could save their souls if they’d use parachutes,
But then, to the town, the waste plane would fall true.
Where it’d make its path, there would no living trace,
And thousands of people, and thousands of people,
And thousands of people would die in this case.

One after the other dart quarters below,
We must reach the forest, the fellows have solved.
We’ll carry the death from the town far away.
And let we’ll be lost then, and let we’ll be lost then,
And let we’ll be lost then — the town will be saved.

The strong bird of iron rushed down to the earth,
And for miles around the explosion was heard...
With time, not too short, glades would turn green again.
The town thought about that, the town thought about that,
The town thought about that: it was a war game.

’Midst silence they’ve lain in the grave since that time,
The excellent fatherland’s excellent guys.
Benignantly looks at them, full of the stars,
The very large heaven, the very large heaven,
The very large heaven — one for both these ones.

And there is a good novel about two friends, it is Jack London’s “Smoke Bellew”.

The text of “The Song of the Fighter Plane” is partly adapted from George Tokarev’s translation.

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