All goes wrong, although nothing has changed here of late. Air and water, the sky and the lighting - They’re just like they were always, but there’s no my mate - He was shot down in yesterday’s fighting. Now it’s of no account, who was wrong, who was right In our arguments that went on nightly. What this lad was for me, I saw but the last night, After he was shot down in the fighting. He’d be awkwardly silent, he sang out of tune, And just smiled when I said something biting, He’d prevent me from sleeping, he sat by the moon, And was shot down in yesterday’s fighting. I don’t talk of the emptiness—we knocked about In all kinds of time—dull and exciting. It felt as if my fire by the wind was put out When they downed him in yesterday’s fighting. Spring is here, at long last, royal blue is the sky. I called out, without thinking, most likely, “Buddy, leave me the butt!”—but there was no reply, He was shot down in yesterday’s fighting.         There was plenty of room for us in the dugout, Time for us ran coequally and lightly. Now I own all alone, but I’ve started to doubt: Wasn’t it me who was downed in the fighting?
© Akbar Muhammad. Translation, 2016
(akbarmuhammad.awardspace.co.uk)
[Adapted from translations by other translators:
Sergey Roy’s “He Was Shot Down in Fighting”,
Alec Vagapov’s “He Hasn’t Returned from the Fighting”.]