I am fated to argue to very last day, Till I yell myself hoarse, till Iím wasted away; I am fated to prove, going out of my way, That this isnít quite right and thatís gone astray, That Christ was belied by unproved hearsay, That the tombstone has not yet converted to clay, And life under Tartars was driven to bay, Three hard ages of misery, plight and dismay, Good intentions, rebellions, entreaties to slay, Devastation and robbery day after day, They may not understand right away what I say, I will say it again, like a fool, come what may... Though itís not to the point and not urgent to-day: "All the vanities are void and vain anyway".     I am sorry, I canít drain the cup on the run, I could share it with all, still it cannot be done. Shall I throw it in the face of my foe, wicked man? No, I cannot just do it, I wonder who can. Onto spinning smooth slippery ring I am thrown, Iím keeping my balance and holding my own. Shall I throw off my burden? It cannot be done. I would rather be patient and wait for someone, I will hand it to him and withdraw from the run. On a dark pitch-black night to the wide open lawn, Having given the cup to my friend, - Iíll be gone. Will he drain it or not? - that will never be known. I am now in the meadow amongst the withdrawn, But about the cup I wonít tell anyone, I had better keep mum for if I make it known I presume, Iíll be trampled upon on the lawn. I am doing my best for your sake, as you see, Maybe, some of you will put a candle for me, For my nerves that squeeze out a shout from me, For the manner in which I make fun of all thee. If they promise me wonders and gardens for free, If they threaten with darkness - I shall not agree! If I slacken my nerves I shall sing out of key, I would rather get strained to the proper degree! I had better carouse and go on a spree! I shall crush what Iíve done and whatís laid up for me! I would rather root out my best song than be Whirling round and sliding like dust over me.. If I does come to draining the cup one fine day, If the lyric and melody sound O.K., If I manage to get them to see it my way, - Saying: "All is not vanity" Iíll go away!
© Alec Vagapov. Translation, 1999