Itís my lot to the finishing line, to the Cross, Till the dumbness of death to be reasoning hoarse Giving proofs, talking my mouth out in froth: Neither this one, nor that one is true, and so forth! Chandlers lie towards Christ that mistaken he was, The tomb-stone still isnít embedded due course, - Pretty life under Tartars, three hundred years, stores Only three hundred years of begging and loss. But Ivan Kalita lived the Tartars across, And was not he alone, whoís alone against force. Good intentions resulting in riots chaos, Blood, destruction again from the South to the North... Not at once, let them learn it a bit, let them pause, Like a harlequin bad Iíll repeat and endorse, But the subject is naught, and the themeís not worth, - Of all vanities vanity is it, because. Only no one can drink the cup running his route, Even if to spill down it, neither I could; Or then splashing it out in face of a brute, - Donít pose and lie, all the same, never could, On the spinning and slippery disc as if stood Trying balance to keep and a hold for my foot! What to do with the cup, break it? Hardly I could! Iíll ambush in wait for another guy good: Just to hand it - on tí circle Iím no longer glued, And away to the wood from the desperate mood, - Having given the cup to the next Iíll scoot! If he managed to drink it, my view ítwill elude. Herding with outsiders Iím grazing for food, And about the cup being quiet and mute, - Iíll keep it with me, to nobody Iíll put, Or, confessed, will be killed under a trampling foot. Almost retching for you, friends, I busy my way! Maybe someone remembers a candle some day For my scream when a drowning man couldnít pray, For the gleam when in clowning is my display... If they promise somewhere an ever high pay, Or the highway to evil they swear to lay, - Were the nerve a bit lax, and my voice should betray! I would tighten it, swaying and fraying, Iíd stay On the whoopee that might lead mí astray, even slay, What is scribbled at night let be sent to ashtray, Be my song better slaughtered and taken away, Than to act like the dust sliding over the ray! So, if drinking the cupful on me is to fall, If the poetry rude a lot couldnít you call, If froth-mouthed to prove thereís a chance very small, - Before dying Iíll say: "No vanity all!"
© Natalia Tverskova. Translation, 2000