Vladimir Vysotsky. Serving the Elements.

Commentary to the song “The Storm”.

There is Stanislav Slutsker’s song “The Russian Columbuses”, which has much in common with this one. And it calls to mind the sailor songs “Now we don’t hear the sound of the sea...” and “The Old-Timers Go Home”:

He who was bound to ingest
The foam and spray of the seas,
Who, on his sailor striped vest,
Has washed off all of its strips,
Had, as a rule, a good cry
At night, when no one could spot,
When the old-timers for aye
Set off for home from his boat.

Now the old-timers go home — for all time, for all time,
They’re waited for by their kin,
And we without them shall go — far away, far away —
Tomorrow o’er the blue sea.

Last night we drank to their health,
The health of these trusty boys,
And we were glad to give them
The goods we had of their choice.
The sky is strewn with bright stars,
The sea sings her magic song...
The boys make haste to their towns,
No one will ever return.

Now the old-timers go home — for all time, for all time,
They’re waited for by their kin,
And we without them shall go — far away, far away —
Tomorrow o’er the blue sea.

Among their kin, kids and wives,
Far from the turbulent seas,
The boys will lead a calm life
They’ve hankered after for years.
But, in their mind, it will float
How, by the capt’n, they were seen,
And how, without them, their boat,
For a new trip, left the pier.

Now the old-timers go home — for all time, for all time,
They’re waited for by their kin,
And we without them shall go — far away, far away —
Tomorrow o’er the blue sea.

Now the old-timers go home — for all time, for all time,
They’re waited for by their kin,
And we without them shall go — far away, far away —
Tomorrow o’er the blue sea.

He who was bound to ingest
The foam and spray of the seas,
Who, on his sailor striped vest,
Has washed off all of its strips,
Had, as a rule, a good cry
At night, when no one could spot,
When the old-timers for aye
Set off for home from his boat.

And, of course, this song calls to mind the old sailor saying “Navigare necesse est” (“It is necessary to sail”).

The song was performed in the film “The Wind of Hope” (1978).

The presented text is adapted from George Tokarev’s translation.

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