In the safety of bedrooms, beneath candlelight, In the world of war trophies and bonfires of peace, Kids were living adventures, knowing no real fights. Lived and languished their small tragedies. Boys are always a lot burdened by their years, And each other we fought, fought to scratches and tears, But our mothers repaired our clothes in time. While we stared and swallowed books, line by line. We were enchanted with books casting their spell. We were enamored with the magical age. And our heads were spinning from the magical smell When it carried the spirit of battle from every page! We have never known wars, but we honestly tried, Wielding our plastic swords, Imitate battle cries, Comprehend the commands and mysterious words: "Charge" and "ambush" and "borders" and "war chariots". Boiling in cauldrons of historyís wars Thereís so much food to digest with our brains. For the slots of traitors, deserters and other bad roles We appointed our personal enemies in our games. In the world of our games, villains werenít let off. And our beautiful dames we would swear to love. And the weak we consoled and protected our friends, And for heroesí roles we appointed ourselves. But inside the books one cannot eternally hide. Plays donít last, for thereís so much pain in this world. Try unclenching the fist of a friend that just died, And from the labored hand take the labored sword! With your armor on and the blade in your hand, What is right, what is wrong, you try to understand. Try to learn who are you? Born for battle or flight? Feel the taste of the true and the ultimate fight. And when by your side your comrade is killed, And over this loss now you howl like a wolf, And when you feel like you have been skinned, Just because it is him who is dead - but not you! Thatís when you realize you now found your path In the skulls without eyes - itís the snarl of death! Lie and evil, you see how cruel is their gaze! And their road always leads to the crows and graves. But if youíve never eaten your food off a knife If you calmly observed from on high all your life, If you didnít challenge the wicked and wrong, Then in real life you have never belonged! But if you made your way with your fatherís sword Taking heed whatís around you: both tears and joy. In the heat of the battle your lesson was learned. Then you have read some valuable books as a boy,
© Vadim Astrakhan. Translation, 2008
© Vadim Astrakhan. Performance, 2008