Vladimir Vysotsky. A Song about Friendship.

A Song about a Friend.Adapted from Yevgeny Sokolovsky and George
Tokarev’s translations by Akbar Muhammad.

If it’s happed
 

 
 that ye’ve met a chap,

And what hides in his chest
 

 
 can’t guess,

If it’s hard to decide
 

 
 at once

Good or bad is this one —

Take a risk — walk uphill
 

 
 with him,

Think him from the word go
 

 
 a bro:

Let one rope join you both
 

 
 henceforth,

And ye’ll see his real worth.

If the hills make him feel
 

 
 quite ill,

If he can only fail
 

 
 and wail,

Having stumbled on the ice,
 

 
 he cries,

And his fortitude dies —

Then this one can’t be near —
 

 
 it’s clear,

Let he walk the straight way
 

 
 away —

Such a bird shouldn’t be brought
 

 
 along,

Nor deserves he this song.

But if he neither howled
 

 
 nor growled,

Maybe he was as tough
 

 
 as rough,

Yet when ye worked down on
 

 
 the stones,

He would groan,
 

 
 but held on;

If this one has broken through
 

 
 with you

To the top which is shining blue —
Then ye can altogether rely
On the new friend nearby!

1966.

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