Vladimir Vysotsky. Who For What Runs.

The Sentimental Boxer’s Song.

A bang, a bang, once more a bang,
And then a bang again...
It’s Victor Gruzdev hits the bag—
Alas, it’s me today.

I’m hoping to survive this round,
I’m praying for the bell.
An uppercut, I’m on the ground,
And I’m not feeling well...

And my zealous rival, while hitting my nose,
Thought that life’s as pretty and sweet as a rose.

The ref says “Nine!”—I’m half alive,
But on my feet again.
I dodge, I leap, I block, I dive—
And thus even points I gain.

I don’t conserve my strength, by plan,
For rushing to a charge—
I just can’t hit my fellow man,
I just don’t think it’s right.

And my zealous rival, while stomping my toes,
Thought that life’s as pretty and sweet as a rose.

My fellow townsmen howl and cry,
As I let down their hopes.
My rival strives for a close fight,
While I attempt to dodge.

As he’s a Cossack, he should get
That fight, they’re hard to shake.
I told him, “Aren’t ye tired yet?
Sit down and take a break!”

But he didn’t listen to as he breathed our close—
His life was as pretty and sweet as a rose.

He keeps on hitting with a snort,
The curtain soon must fall...
Don’t call this murder—it’s the sport
Of strong men and so on!

He’s reached complete exhaustion, and
Collapses with a sigh...
The ref has lifted up my hand,
Which hadn’t hurt even a fly.

He thought, as he lay there, that life’s like a rose
For having free from striving for violence souls.

1966.

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