One day you walk, slightly drunk, safe and sound, But thereís a car from around a bend... With all these vehicles speeding unbound Lots of us donít reach our natural end. Friday a hearse badly crashed on the highway, Overturned on a funeral ride, Maiming three people as well as the driver, Only the stiff in his box was all right. Weepers were slipshod, the deacon was mumbling Kind of a dirge, insincere and dry, Trumpets blew out of key, often stumbling, Only the guy in his box didnít lie. His former boss, a notorious rascal, Kissed him despite inner shiver and spurn, All did the same, but the guy in his casket Didnít produce any kiss in return. It started raining - all went helter-skelter, Thunderous clouds blocked out the sun, Everyone ran away looking for shelter, Only the stiff in his box didnít run. He doesnít care for rain any longer, Thereís no cold heís likely to catch; I must admit that the dead are much stronger Than living folks who are not their match! Life is so scandalous, so impure, Gossip and slander around you fly, You are protected and fully secure Only when in a coffin you lie. Separate coffins or joint - doesnít matter! Housing problems donít bother the dead, Their behavior canít be any better - Quiet and shy, never driving you mad! Hades is silent and strict and profound, Thereís no mess, no dirt, no sludge; While we, like crazy, are fussing around, Our stiff in his box doesnít budge.
ďHe praises death!Ē - someone angrily hisses. No - just Fate makes me gloomy and sad! We any time can be crushed into pieces - But for the ones who already are dead!
Death is persistent, relentless, sequential, Treating alike both servants and chiefs. Thus, each of us is a stiff in potential, But for the ones who already are stiffs!
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2009
Edited by Robert Titterton