My neighbour’s laid out quite feast, Their guest is round, if not obese, And the hostess, moving at ease, Goes to the basement. The keys smash in the lock, The grubs come crawling out on top, And their oven’s got good ventilation. And all I’ve got are endless tribulations: My crops can’t stay alive, my cattle drop and die, My oven fumes from poor ventilation, And its door goes off to the side. My neighbour’s got meat in their soup, The whole village can hear them chew, Their acne’d daughter’s marrying soon, She’s ripe now. It follows there’s a bridal show, For guests who’ve paid right through the nose, Their skinny daughter even bellows and sings her heart out. And all my dogs, chained up, now in a rage, yes - Round midnight, their barks became a howl, And on my feet, my callouses got way worse ’Cos in my empty room, I stamp round. How quick they drink, my neighbour’s crew, And why not drink, when they let you? And why not sing, comfort is due Nothing, right? A nine-month pregnant lady there, A load of unfed geese despair, The geese don’t matter, to be fair, But nothing’s right. Just right then, the blues come running out, I chase them all away, they reappear, Out of an awkward place, a pimple comes out, Time to work, can’t get up or down here. My neighbour sends some kid around, He kindly tells me ’come to ours,’ Of course, I had to turn him down, He starts again, though. Surely, must have hit the bottle - And become a bit less hostile, And I went and drank and gobbled, Did it help? No. And, in the middle of the chaos, I whisper something in the groom’s ear - The groom then dashes, soon he is way off, The bride is left upstairs, sitting in tears. The neighbour screams: "please don’t think, I’d break the law, I’ll never shrink: He who doesn’t eat, won’t drink," Then hit the sauce. Everyone jumped from their seats, But some kid piped up with a tweak: "He who doesn’t work, won’t eat - You’ve got it wrong, boss!" I sat, three greasy three roubles in my palm, To chase out my hangover the next day, A tatty old accordion in my arms, They dragged me round here just to play. Another neighbour cracked a bottle, In a daze, began to wobble, Wanted me to sing, got hostile: "You come for nothing?" From the side, I was grabbed By two strapping, muscular lads, "Play, you bastard, or we’ll have to leave you puffing!" The merriment already hit its height, They’d already secretly snagged the bride - And I sang about that cheerful time "When I was a post-boy on the side." Then they had some fish soup And giblets in jellied gloop, After that, they caught the groom, And beat to him hell, Then they came to dance all night, Then they fought, not out of spite, And killed everything good inside Of themselves. And I groaned, I’ll drink in dingy sorrow, Getting sulky, then my fists come out, And I thought: "who’ll drink with me tomorrow Out of those I’m drinking with right now?" There, the morning’s always calm, Cheeks covered in breadcrumbs, No hangover, drinking on, Heaps of food stocked. Fury takes no one’s hearts, The dogs toils in the yard, The oven, with blue and hard Tiles and an ash-box. And I’m out in the bright daylight, My soul still on fire, free of gloom - Gulping well-water, back to my wife, I fix the accordion, she reproves.
© ?. Translation, 2017