Iím unique among all racing horses, Iím an ambler - people call me so; I am not like most of the coursers - No horse can go as I go.
But my ribs are mercilessly spurred ĎCause my jockey never leaves his seat... I would rather pasture in a herd Carrying no saddle and no bit. From a sheath the sword should be extracted, Otherwise itís safer than a pin - I am saddled, hobbled and distracted, And my bridle is a biting sting.
And my back again is frayed and hurt, And I shiver drinking in the heat... I would rather pasture in a herd Carrying no saddle and no bit. At the starting gate Iím now rocking, Derby! Iím the favorite today! Stakes are put on me but itís my jockey Wheezing out his zeal to bear away! When again he spurred me up I heard Scoffers laugh - today theyíre full of wit... I would rather pasture in a herd Carrying no saddle and no bit.
Lining up, the steeds are filled with fluster - Prancing, prancing taking no pause. Each one hates the other and his master, Foam dripping down from their jaws. By the fans my jockey is preferred - He is always as a fiddle fit... I would rather pasture in a herd Carrying no saddle and no bit.
But for him I wonít win a fortune, At the finish I will be the last! I remember spurs-and-stirrups torture - Stumbling I will shuffle in the dust! Off we go! He flies for the award, He is full of undisguised conceit... I would rather pasture in a herd Carrying no saddle and no bit. But whatís this? I pander to my foe? I rush forward in my ambling pace. Why is that? I really donít know, I cannot help winning this damned race! Then to me it suddenly occurred What to do - to shake him off my back! And to run, as if Iím in a herd, Saddled, bridled but without this jack! And the fans could see my jockey shamble Towards the finish. Boy, was he depressed! For the first time I was not the ambler - I just tried to win like all the rest!
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2001
Edited by Robert Titterton