Poems and Songs of Vladimir Vysotsky.

Vladimir Vysotsky.

A SINGER AT THE MICROPHONE.

I. A Singer at the Microphone.

I’m on the stage—this open to all eyes space,
To start to sing on it myself I’m bracing.
The microphone is an icon that I face...
But no, now it’s an evil one that I’m facing.

This one and I—we hardly get along,
But lots of persons dislike my voice, no wonder.
And if it happen that I somewhere go wrong,
It’ll mercilessly amplify my blunder.

The footlights beat me fiercely from below,
And right above me, the evil lanterns glow.
The spotlights blind me—I’m in a tight spot,
And it’s so hot! It’s hot! It’s hot!..

This microphone is exact like hell,
It gives heed even when I’m mistaken slightly.
It doesn’t care that this evening I’m unwell,
I ever have to sing the notes rightly.

My melodies are simpler than the scales,
But when I get out from the truthful tone,
I instantly get smart slaps in my face
From the thin shadow of the microphone.

The footlights beat me fiercely from below,
And right above me, the evil lanterns glow.
The spotlights blind me—I’m in a tight spot,
And it’s so hot! It’s hot! It’s hot!..

Its snake-like head turns to the left and right,
Its pliant neck before my mouth tenses,
And if I stop, it won’t reflect and bite—
I have to sing until I lose my senses.

Swear that I saw the microphone’s sting,
It’s a slick snake, its moves are so alarming!
I have to sing, but no, now I don’t sing,
There’s on the stage a cobra whom I’m charming.

The footlights beat me fiercely from below,
And right above me, the evil lanterns glow.
The spotlights blind me—I’m in a tight spot,
And it’s so hot! It’s hot! It’s hot!..

It seems that there’s no end of this disgrace!
To what can I the microphone liken?
Now it’s an icon-lamp before my face,
But I’m no saint, and therefore it doesn’t light me.

An ever-starving nestling is this one,
It snatches every sound of mine, a bully.
But no, the microphone is a gun,
One day I’ll for sure catch from it a bullet.

The footlights beat me fiercely from below,
And right above me, the evil lanterns glow.
The spotlights blind me—I’m in a tight spot,
And it’s so hot! It’s hot! It’s hot!..

II. The Microphone’s Song.

I went blind from the pleasant smiles of songsters,
I went deaf from a non-stopping clap,
I’m worn-out from the musical monsters—
Each of them chews the same fatuous crap!

Sifted through my long-suffering body,
Pure sound flew straight into your ears.
Stop! At last there’s a guy who’s not shoddy,
It’s for him I was tortured for years.

I heard hundreds of deep sighs about the moon,
I heard hundreds of light descants out of tune,
One big-shot would play the saw—I nearly died,
Yet I carried out my duty—amplified.

In the lower keys, his voice is hollow,
In the upper, it’s sharp as a knife.
But he’ll show his distinction as a songster,
And I’ll also show something of mine.

Now he’s singing, he took off the coat,
He’s perspiring, he’s truly all wet,
And I stretch out my microphone throat
To his face gotten golden from sweat.

I heard hundreds of deep sighs about the moon,
I heard hundreds of light descants out of tune,
One big-shot would play the saw—I nearly died,
Yet I carried out my duty—amplified.

But his song has become very candied...
Man, recover! Ye’re wasting your chance!
Ye must be more courageous, more candid!
People, tell him to shut up at once!

He continues with this goddamned litter,
And I’m tottering, I nearly fall.
But this syrup, emetic and bitter,
He still pours into my tired soul.

I heard hundreds of deep sighs about the moon,
I heard hundreds of light descants out of tune,
One big-shot would play the saw—I nearly died,
Yet I carried out my duty—amplified.

You may blame me for being too patient,
But one’s nature one cannot disguise.
Amplifying is my occupation,
So I suffered, but amplified lies.

Then I groaned, and the loudspeakers hollered,
But he twisted my neck, and I quaked.
They unscrewed me—I was deftly knocked off,
And replaced with some lousy old fake.

This new mike will accept all with patience,
With the false notes he’ll meekly comply—
Thus they always replace with replacements
Those who’re able to impede them to lie.

We were covered up, several hours after,
In our old dusty traveling case,
And the other mike told me with laughter,
“He was happy that ye’d been replaced.”

1971.

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