Poems and Songs of Vladimir Vysotsky. Serving the Elements.

A Corsair.Adapted from Thomas Beavitt, Stas and Mar­gar­et Porokhnya,
Dmitry Sivan and George Tokarev’s translations by Akbar Muhammad.

To Yury Lyubimov.

For seven years our corsair sailed the seas,

And our banner hasn’t lost its colors.

We’ve learned to fix the clipper sails in storm or breeze,

And plug with our bodies cracks and holes.

We’ve met a squadron, and it’s firmly chasing us.

The sea is calm, we’re longing for a blow.

But our captain said to us without fuss,

“It isn’t over until it’s over!”

The flagship frigate took in sails and made a turn,

Her starboard portholes started spitting fire.

We’re gunning back, and our balls have smashed her stern!

We hear shrieks of anguish, loud and dire!

We’ve been through worse, and our fortune is still in;

But storms are brewing; and we’re holed, moreover.

Yet our captain shouts above the hellish din,

“It isn’t over until it’s over!”

Through mighty telescopes a hundred glaring eyes

Spy how we endure these deadly rallies;

But no one will ever view us in the guise

Of slaves chained up to oars in navy galleys!

They outnumber us, soon our ship may sink.

Could anything save our lives leftover?

But our captain doesn’t ever even blink!

“It isn’t over until it’s over!”

He who is merry, who is brave, who isn’t heel,

Prepare your blades and handguns for infighting!

We’ll let the rats take leave — it isn’t a big deal,

They’re but a hindrance in the mortal fighting!

The rats were praying doing jumping overboard,

“God rescue us!” — and came to death quite sober,

While we were nearing the frigate board by board —

It isn’t over until it’s over!

Knife knifing knife, face facing face, eye eyeing eye!

Lest we be cut with crabs or lobsters’ nippers,

Some in a rage, some in a fury, some in cry,

We were departing our sinking clipper.

But our ship! They won’t sink her in the end.

She’ll carry us to port — we’ll be in clover.

The sea will keep her — she is our loyal friend,

And it’s quite so that it isn’t over!

The sea will keep her — she is our loyal friend,

And it’s quite so that it isn’t over!


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