All the war I was longing For my home and town; Though being hot-blooded I was fighting all right. But he hurried and once he Didnít bend down his crown, And his war in a second was over, Just two years he managed to fight. So, his pulse made no sound from the forty-third spring... As for me - now Iíve drowned In a sweet postwar dream... Though my appetiteís whetted, My breath often gets stuck... He was kinder and better... But itís me who had luck. I was not playing truant, Didnít hide in the rear, I was always aggressive, Never trying to stack. But today women give me Wordless hints with a sneer: ďHad you only stayed there forever, Then my man, I believe, would be back.Ē No one tells me her story, But I know itís gist... I am really sorry That they got no feast. Mam, I share your mourning, Sorry, I am not dead! I had luck in returning, returning... But his luck was too bad. In the end he was yelling When his plane was flame-ridden: ďYou live on! You will get through!Ē - In my phones buzzed that sound; Under God we were flying, Very close to Eden, He just zoomed a bit higher and sat there, As for me - I made it to the ground. In the Paradise valley He was met with no treat; Yes, he flopped on the belly, But did not crawl on it! Too far off he proceeded, He would not move astern... I returned - yes, I did it, I did it... But he failed to return! I feel guilty as though I have let my pals down, Those pals, whom to meet now Iíll be honored a lot! And although we finished This damned war safe and sound, Our memoryís burning and conscience is aching - If this conscience at all you have got. Someone ruthless and greedy Measured us days to stay In this life, short and speedy, As a concrete runway. Some forever ascended, Some would crash down in flame! As for me - well, I landed, I landed... Itís a shame, such a shame...
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2001
Edited by Robert Titterton