Vladimir Vysotsky. The Abortive Flifht.

It’s my fate—to the finishing line, to the cross...

It’s my fate—to the finishing line, to the cross,
To continue debating and shout myself hoarse,
To asseverate and prove till I froth at the mouth,
That all things there are wrong—silly words, crooked paths,
That the shopkeepers slander about Christ’s mistakes,
That the wailing still echoes at numerous wakes!

Princes quarreled with each other for many long years,
And in poorness and suffering folks were to exist.
But Ivan Kalita started founding a state,
And the Horde of Zaleses collected it’s strength.
Then there were Peter’s evil deeds and riots in vain,
Yemelyan Pugachev’s war, and poorness again.

Let ye can’t understand what I tell you at once,
I’ll reiterate even if I have to play an evil clown,
That ye’ll find no solution till the subject is changed,
That the vanities of all the epochs are same.

But I verily can’t drain the cup on the run,
Even if I spill a part, also it can’t be done,
And I can’t throw the cup in an enemy’s face—
I’m not lying or bragging, I simply confess!
On the slippery disk, swiftly turning, I reel,
And for keeping my balance, I writhe like an eel!

Should I smash into pieces the cup? But I can’t!
For a worthier man I’ll unweariedly hunt:
I’ll hand over the cup and go out from the disk,
I’ll be free from solicitude when I’m released!
I’ll hide out in the darkness, the fog and the snow,
Maybe he’ll drain the cup, only I’ll never know.

Now I graze in the meadow amongst my old chums,
I don’t hint at the cup left undrained—I keep mum,
Nor I murmur about ’stead of saving my breath,
It I don’t, it may happen that they’ll trample me to death.

I, in every way possible, trouble over you, pals!
Maybe, some of you later will light for me candles—
For the naked nerves’ sting as I descant and choke,
And the jovial way as I wisecrack and joke.
If it happens that I’m threatened with all kinds of woe,
If it happens that I’m promised rewards, I’ll say no!

I shan’t give any sound if my nerves turn out loose,
If it’s so, I’ll at once tighten the requisite screws!
And I’ll rather carouse, romp, raise all hell and fight,
And I’ll rather tear up all what I scrawled at nights,
And I rather shan’t descant till I pass away,
Than I act like the dust sliding on the sunray!

If it turn out that I drain the cup after all,
If it turn out that right are my sometimes harsh songs,
If I prove—even with froth at the mouth, I shall say,
“All isn’t vanity!”—after my passing away.

1978.

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