Vladimir Vysotsky. Service to the Elements.

The White Silence.

It’s in each and all centuries been thus on this earth
That all things tend to run from the frost and snowstorms.
So why do toward the North their way wing these birds?
It’s the South the right subject the birds should long for.

They don’t need any fame, any stateliness.
Soon the ice will be out of sight—
And they’ll find there their birds’ blessedness
As a prize for this daring flight.

Why we couldn’t take a rest in a cozy bed,
What did force us to sail through the vehement ocean?
We’ve not seen—it’s a pity!—the northern lights yet,
For they don’t give light often—it’s the things of vast cost.

Silence reigns. Only seagulls like lightning streaks,
Pecking hungrily, flash all around.
But we’ll get for the silence and trustiness,
As a prize, the so-long dreamed of sound.

Even dreams in the North are in pale, bloodless white,
All the colors are hidden out under the snow.
With this whiteness around, we’ve long lost our sight,
With the first strip of black we’ll recover it, though.

Our throats will become free from wordlessness,
Our weariness will fade away,
And we’ll get for the nights of despondency,
As a prize, the perennial day.

There are hope and freedom, and space, and the snow—
Clean white snow with no mud, like a life with no lies...
Our eyes won’t be ever pecked out by crows,
For these things in the North can’t keep up their life.

He who didn’t trust in ill-fated prophecies,
Who didn’t lie in the snow on the way—
He’ll for certain for the long, utter loneliness,
As a prize, meet somebody—some day!

1972.

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