He was neither imposing nor sprightly. Not a hero out of a table In his own curious way, with some verve He was walking through life, stepping lightly High above our heads on a cable Stretched taut as a nerve. Look, hes walking without Any belt, any net. If he leans too far out - Hes a goner, hes dead! He is dead, anyway, If he slips, if he sways... He is crazy, that fellow If he wants to play With death all four fourths of the way.
                         
Spotlights blinded him, searing as lava, Lights like pinpricks - Steady! Slowly... The trumpet mourned as for the dead. He was deafened by shrill cries of Bravo! And the kettledrums kept rolling - As if pounding him on the head! Look, hes walking without Any belt, any net. If he leans too far out - Hes a goner, hes dead! He is dead, anyway, If he slips, if he sways... But hes inching ahead, he has less time to play With death - some three fourths of the way. "Oh, how awful, how daring, how lovely! Fighting death - must be all an illusion!" The slack silly mouths gaping wide, From the stalls they looked up at him glumly - Lilliputians, Lilliputians They all seemed to him from the height. Look, hes walking without Any belt, any net. If he leans too far out - Hes a goner, hes dead! He is dead, anyway, If he slips, if he sways... Silence, everyone! All this man now has to play With death is two fourths of the way. He would mock at all fame and renown. But he would be the first ever - And anything less could be damned! Not a tightrope he danced on now, It was our nerves - in a fever - To the rolling of the drum! Look, hes walking without Any belt, any net. If he leans too far out - Hes a goner, hes dead! He is dead, anyway, If he slips, if he sways... But - be quiet! He has but a short time to play With death - just a fourth of the way. The trainer cried out, and the horses Stood quite still - they understood us. And the sentence was simple and crude: Lost his nerve - thats the worst of all losses. In the sawdust, in the sawdust He spilled his resentment and blood. Now another walks without Any belt, any net. If he leans too far out - Hes a goner, hes dead! He is dead, anyway, If he slips, if he sways... But theres also something that drives him to play With death all four fourths of the way.
Sergei Roy. Translation, 1990