Vladimir Vysotsky. Family Affairs.

A Family in the Stone Age.Adapted from George Tokarev’s translation by Akbar Muhammad.

Thou, silly, give me back my stone ax!
Don’t hide the skins which I put on my thighs!
Stop talking, my poor head already cracks!
Sit still and add some wood — the fire dies!

Thy pettiness impairs my soul and heart,
It gives our life a very boring touch!
The cave’s a mess and soot’s all o’er the hearth —
This matriarchy pampered thee too much!

Man’s the boss and the principal,
Wife’s obedient and cordial!
Thou must stick to this principle,
Keep in mind — we’re primordial.

My tribesmen killed a mammoth in the pit,
They must be now sharing the prey...
Forever by thy side I cannot sit —
I need to kill somebody every day!

Today I’m waiting for the tribal sage,
Don’t meet him naked, dress the way thou shouldst!
It’s a great shame that in the Stone Age,
I’ve gotten no stones, genuine and good!

Several wives — that’s for what I long,
Then ye’d know your place probably!
But at present I’m not so strong,
So I live in monogamy.

Thou’rt all to blame! My uncle alerted me —
He who went for a lion and was lost,
“Those cannibals are come of the Devil’s kin —
Their wives are stiff and try to rule the roast!”

Stop setting me against my own tribe,
No one harassed thee, drop thy stupid lies!
Don’t vilify our youth, don’t even try,
But in the youth our happy future lies!

Man’s the boss and the principal,
Wife’s obedient and cordial!
Thou must stick to this principle,
Keep in mind — we’re primordial.

Stop whimpering, so far I was polite!
Where are the skins? Look, people will laugh at me!..
Give back my ax — I ask of thee, my wife,
Or I will bite thee when I count to three!

1969.

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