I call to mind voenkomat1: - For landing forces arenít fit, mate! - Not up to it - it would have been too bad for health! - What soldier can be out of you? - Right to a hospital, I view! Of me a soldier is as of somebody else. And at the war - means at a war; To me it comes off two times more, The blouse adhered, and because of boots - a sore; I lagged behind, did not keep pace, But in some fight, - canít catch the case, - My sergeant-major treated me as not a raw. ...The trench chaps want to have some fun: - Hey, student, what is one plus one? - Come on - was really Tolstoy of counts born? - And who was actually his wife? My sergeant-majorís twisted knife: - You are not saint to have not kip: a clash at morn. And once, when I stood up upright While playing down the death fight, - Lie down! - he barked, and stuck at further foul cry, - - What need to have two holes in head? And gently asked: Is it true that In Moscow houses can be five stories high? A burst has rolled, and he has groaned, In him a splinterís getting cold; A chance to answer to his question I have missed. Heís lain to earth for five stepsí worth, Just for five nights and for some mirth; Is to the West his head, his feet are to the East.
1 a military registration and enlistment office (transliterated Russian)
 
© Vyacheslav Chistyakov. Translation, 2017