For many years this buccaneer split the waves Our colors haven’t paled, however bloody. We’ve mastered the art of stitching sails And plugging holes in the hull with bodies. The royal fleet is now on our heels. The sea is still, and they are getting closer. The Captain spoke calmly: “No big deal. “The game’s not over! The game’s not over!” The flagship tacks to the broadside, And smoke surrounds her as she fires. Return the salvo! Though it’s suicide. An unexpected blast - and she expires. We’ve been through hell and worse than that, But the wind is dying, and we barely hover. The Captain shrugs his shoulders: “Don’t fret! “The game’s not over! It ain’t over!” They stare at the grimy men in rags, As for the final battle we all rally. But they will never see our bloodied backs In shackles on a royal galley! A lopsided fight; our time runs short! “She’s lurching! Save the soul of this poor rover!” The Captain bellows: “Set to board! “The game’s not over! It ain’t over!” “Who wants to live, who’s merry, not a drip, For a hand-to-hand now get your weapons handy! The rats, meanwhile, can abandon ship And don’t ruin what will be a dandy!” The rats thought: “Hey, the devil may be right!” And bowed to the shrapnel, ever lower. As we lined up against them, side by side. “The game’s not over! It ain’t over!” Now face-to-face, and hand-to-hand, and sword-to-sword - So not to feed the lobsters or the tuna! - With pistols, daggers, prayers to the Lord We were leaving our sinking schooner. But no, they will never win this fight! Great Ocean, pick us up and carry onward! We know the Ocean must be on our side! And right the Captain was: it wasn’t over!
© Vadim Astrakhan. Translation, 2017