Vladimir Vysotsky. Chances.

Chances.

We all seem to be living, but
It’s been a long time since our hearts
Were stirred by distant hoots or wails
Of disappearing ships or trains.
Some who can get out of the rut,
Go deep and see the seabed, but
This action is no more than child’s play,
So let the fry play while they may...

And all around, our chances fly nearby, like bullets
Stray, spent, belated, blind, some really knockouts.
Some took the risk, disclosed themselves and duly
Reaped the reward: some coffins, others honors.

But we just looked aside
And let them pass ourselves,
And, mindful of the signs,
Tried not to make false steps.

In this hullabaloo and fuss
How long we’ve not been upright ones!
Our trunks are constantly inclined
To make a bow, to tow the line...
We want to know what waits for us,
But all our reasonable ones
Lay their accounts with a long time
By putting things between the lines...

We seek a way to rise sky high,
Our thoughts can do it, they soar high
So light and pure, they there reign,
Without a blemish or restraint.
It was so great our wish for sky
That yesterday we got quite high
Despite all bitterness and strain,
We ate and drank time and again...

By horrors shaken us to the core,
We’d like to batter down the door
Of basements filled with customs dead,
Though we may put at risk the head.
And soberly, without furor,
We hit the past all stained with gore
But with the hand inert as lead,
And weak with unforgotten dread.

It’d be so nice to free our minds,
And shed it all before God’s eyes,
And show the empty hand, so they
Could see we aren’t armed for a fray,
Without the apprehension to die
When shrapnel flesh at random slice.
But, made of iron, we decay,
Our minds is the snake’s thinking prey...

And all around, our chances fly nearby, like bullets
Stray, spent, belated, blind, some really knockouts.
Some took the risk, disclosed themselves and duly
Reaped the reward: some coffins, others honors.

But we just looked aside
And let them pass ourselves,
And, mindful of the signs,
Tried not to make false steps.

1974.

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