We all seem to be living, but Itís been a long time since our heart Was stirred by distant hoot or wail Of ship or train speeding away. Some people get out of the rut, And they go deep but deep, man, but All this is no more than childís play - So let the fry play while they may. And all around, our chances fly nearby, like bullets - Stray, spent, belated, blind, some real stunners; Some took the risk, jumped at a chance - and duly Reaped the reward: some, coffins, others, honours. And we just looked aside And nimbly past them ambled, And, mindful of the signs, Took good care not to stumble. In this fuss and hullabaloo Weíve long grown used to bending low: Our torsoís constantly inclined - To take a bow, to tow the line. We love to know whatís false, whatís true, We know, though, what the bright ones do: They squeeze all meanings between lines For future use by better minds. And all around, our chances fly nearby, like bullets - Stray, spent, belated, blind, some real stunners; Some took the risk, jumped at a chance - and duly Reaped the reward: some, coffins, others, honours. And we just looked aside And nimbly past them ambled. And, mindful of the signs, Took good care not to stumble. How we would like to rise sky high - Our thoughts soar high up in the sky - Eternally up there they reign, Without a blemish or restraint. And we, too, longed so much to fly That yesterday we got quite high: To ease the bitterness and strain. We drank again - and drank again... And all around, our chances fly nearby, like bullets - Stray, spent, belated, blind, some real stunners; Some took the risk, jumped at a chance - and duly Reaped the reward: some, coffins, others, honours. And we just looked aside And nimbly past them ambled. And, mindful of the signs, Took good care not to stumble. By horrors shaken to the core Weíd like to batter down the door Of basements filled with our pastís dead - Though we may put at risk our head. And soberly, without furor, We hit the past all stained with gore - Our arms, though, are inert as lead, And weak with unforgotten dread. And all around, our chances fly nearby, like bullets - Stray, spent, belated, blind, some real stunners; Some took the risk, jumped at a chance - and duly Reaped the reward: some, coffins, others, honours. And we just looked aside And nimbly past them ambled. And, mindful of the signs, Took good care not to stumble. A load off our minds feels so nice. Nice, to bare all before Godís eyes. To show your empty hand, so they Can see we arenít armed for a fray, - Though, armed or not, one simply dies When shrapnel flesh at random slice. But our ironsides decay, To rust and wormlike spirit prey. And all around, our chances fly nearby, like bullets - Stray, spent, belated, blind, some real stunners; Some took the risk, jumped at a chance - and duly Reaped the reward: some, coffins, others, honours. And we just looked aside And nimbly past them ambled. And, mindful of the signs, Took good care not to stumble.
© Sergei Roy. Translation, 1990