Poems and Songs of Vladimir Vysotsky. The Demon Drink.

A Travel to the Past.Adapted from Stas and Margaret Porokhnya and
George Tokarev’s translations by Akbar Muhammad.

Oh, that house where I was — I wouldn’t find it again,

I recall just wallpaper with flowers.

I recall Kate was there with her friend, Ann or Jane —

Both of them I would kiss in the shower.

In the morning they said,

 when I stirred into life,

That I threatened the guests

 and abused the host’s wife,

That I skipped like a deer,

 shrieking songs, wild and queer,

And my dad, I revealed,

 had been ranked brigadier!

Then I rended my shirt, hit myself in the breast,

Shouting, “All of you traitors have cheated me!”

And all company hadn’t even a moment to rest,

As I played all the same chords repeatedly.

After seven highballs,

 I abstained for a while,

But, instead, on the walls

 started pouring red wine.

I got hold of a stick —

 crystal glasses I smashed,

Then a line of tea things

 I threw out in the trash.

They were frightened at first, keeping mum, but at last

It was clearly beyond their bearing —

They all piled upon me, with the cord tied my arms,

And became after that very daring.

Some just spat in my eyes,

 some poured booze down my throat,

And one smart dancing guy

 leaped on me like a goat...

But then suddenly came

 a young widow there,

She stopped that bloody game

 and released me from tear.

So they left me alone, bleeding there on the floor,

And I wheezed out, “You people, I’ll cut this trick!

“Let me go, do believe me that I’ll drink no more!”

They’d believed me, but hid all the cutlery.

Words aren’t able to describe

 how it all kicked off then,

Wonder where did I find

 so much bodily strength!

Like a hunted down boar,

 for my final farewell,

I smashed windows and doors

 and the balcony fell.

Oh, I wouldn’t find that house where we had quite a bust,

I recall just wallpaper with flowers...

In the mirror I looked at my face with disgust —

All it was with extravasations covered!

If they said something true,

 and that monster was I —

Out of shame, out of rue

 I’d to have lain and died...

But the widow smiled

 and forgave my disgrace.

She’s a kind thing, and I’ve

 lived since then at her place.


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