On that day sailors said to the captain ďHey, man!Ē And the shipís boy would shout at the skipper; And unleashing their hands and unbandaging bands, On the shrouds my sailors were skipping. All went crazy in order to gain their ends, Reaching phantoms of shores, reaching blankets of lands, Those lands of our dreams, of our slumbers - Of Magellan and of Columbus! As for me I will not See the shore or the land: At the speed of ten knots Boy, so fast did I strand! But the rest - they are bound To the glorious aim... Yes - for running aground I myself am to blame. And they left me behind, all my brothers, my fleet; Those more sensitive - swallowed a tear, That great voyage the Armada just had to complete, And no ship was allowed to veer. Cursing bad luck, the weather, The treacherous sea, All my shipmates together Walked out on me. They saluted me twice with a cannon - From Columbus and from Magellan! I drink foam, when hot - Water is way too low, And my starboard and port - Off the water they glow. They are dirty, of course, They, of course, are unclean; All my wounds, all my sores Can be easily seen. Thereís a hole in my port - it was wrought by a shot, And my starboard is ďscarboardĒ - look here: Marks and tracks on my decks from the battles we fought, And my spine wrecked by some buccaneer. My serrated old keel - Boy, was it brought to grief! All my belly is peeled - It was ripped by a reef! Iím decaying, forlorn and forgotten - Even salty things may become rotten! Winds my blood suck and drink Through so many a chink, Winds give me pain and kink, I am quite on the blink. Iím exposed to them Nights and days, nights and days... Into my soul and stem Winds are hammering nails. Winds behave like the rakes, evil, cheeky and bold, They mess everything up, play the goat; Wish theyíd choke with the wine that I keep in my hold, Or, rampaging, would set me afloat. Of this chance Iím convinced - Thatís a desperate creed! But itís not evil winds That at present I need; My sails droop like the breasts of a slattern, And my mast looks a creaky, thin batten. But my time I will bide - The eighth wonder must come, When a merciful tide Washes off all the scum. Dew will fall on my deck - It will wash off the spell; Like the veins on the neck Will my sails promptly swell! Iíll rush after my fleet, catch them and - Iíll forgive The Armada that badly remembers; I hold them no grudge, Iíll be glad to receive Back aboard all my former crew members. But they donít want to let Me inside their ranks. Shut your mouth, corvette, Donít sting me with your pranks! Iím your twin, donít you see? Iíve escaped from the blight, We are not short of sea, Frigate, take to the right! Wonít you lend me a hand? Do you mean I must go? If I was on the strand - Then Iím out of the row?! Let me feel here at ease - Arenít we ships, arenít we friends? We are not short of seas We are not short of lands! Those lands of our dreams, of our slumbers - Of Magellan and of Columbus.
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2001
Edited by Robert Titterton