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Vladimir Vysotsky's Translations by Eugenia Weinstein

Original of this page (uptodate, with illustrations and audiofragments) are placed on Eugenia Weinstein's home page © Copyright Vladimir Vysotsky © Translation Copyright, January-June 1999 by Eugenia Weinstein Email: eugeniav@interlog.com WWW: #www.interlog.com/~eugeniav/vysotsky.html
This page is dedicated to Vladimir Vysotsky (1938-1980), one of the most talented Russian bards, a poet so diverse, there is probably no subject he had not touched upon. He sang his songs to a guitar, and the power of his voice complemented the power of his lyrics. He was an actor, in film as well as in theater, where he created his unforgettable Hamlet. Below is my translation of three of his songs. The first one is a beautiful ballad, which many find to be reminiscent of Vysotsky's own life. The second song falls into the category of his war-related works. The third is another ballad, written for a movie "The Arrows of Robin Hood". In each case, I tried to preserve as much of the original as I could, and some of it has been translated word for word. I also included audio fragments of these songs. PLEASE NOTE: All translations on this web page are the original creation of, belong to and are copyrighted by Eugenia Weinstein. Reproducing them, or any part of them, without proper acknowledgement, as well as using them in a modified form or as a basis for derived work, violates the international copyright law.

Someone Spotted a Fruit...

; (Translated by Eugenia Weinstein, Jan. '99) Someone spotted a fruit, still green, Shook the tree, and it fell to the ground... Here's one who had no chance to sing, Never knew that his voice had a sound. Maybe something went wrong with his fate, Maybe something with chance was amiss. The guitar string had tightly been laid On the frets with a flaw that he missed. He started humbly with a "do", But no one happened to adore His first accord that fell so flat And disappeared in a trice. A dog was barking, and a cat Was chasing mice... It's so funny, is it not? He had no chance to show his wit, To taste his wine... He never got To even take a nip of it. Only started an argument, yet He was timid and slow to begin, And his soul, like droplets of sweat From the pores, dripped from under his skin. Only started a duel, again So slowly, like never before, Only grasping the rules of the game, While the judge hadn't opened the score. To know all he'd always strive, And yet he never quite arrived... He had no chance to reach his peak, To search below, to seek above, And her, the only and unique - To love enough... It's so funny, is it not? He hurried, ran, but all in vain. All questions that he never got To solve in time - unsolved remain. Not a letter of mine is a lie: He was faithful to his pure style - On the snow he was writing her rhyme... But the snow would melt in a while. It was snowing back then, and at least He was free on the snow to pen, And the large snowflakes with his lips He was trying to catch as he ran. To her, in a silver-gilt landau He never made it before dawn. He had no time to leap, to fly, Never quite ran, the runaway. His star sign - Taurus - was up high Lapping the ice-cold Milky Way. It's so funny, is it not? When seconds lack and time is tight... One missing link, and all you got - A halted flight!.. Seemed funny, didn't it? Of course, To you and even me, it did. A bird in flight, a racing horse... Whose fault is it?.. 1973

Song About Earth

(Translated by Eugenia Weinstein, June '99) Who could say: "All was burned to a crisp, Earth will never again be fertile!"? Who could say that it ceased to exist? No, it quieted down for a while. Earth of motherhood try to bereave - It's as hard as to empty an ocean. Who believes Earth was burned, who believes? No, it blackened of grief and commotion. Gash-like trenches are running across. Gaping wide, crater wounds never cured, Laying bare all Earth's bare nerves, Which unspeakable pain have endured. It'll wait, it'll bear anything, - Called a cripple will hardly be ever! Who would argue that Earth doesn't sing? Who would say it's been silenced forever?! No! It muffles its groans in a call, Every wound of it sings, every hole! Earth is our soul, after all, - How can boots trample down a soul?! Who believes Earth was burned, who believes? No, it quieted down for a while... 1969

Ballad of the Free Archers

(Translated by Eugenia Weinstein, June '99) If they scour, wicked fellows, Seeking your unruly pate, So your thin neck on the gallows Even thinner could be made, - Safest refuge, no doubt, Is the wood: you won't be lost, If some rat has sold you out With your guts, at no cost. All misfits and lonely paupers, Scornful of a servant's lot, All unlucky homeless loafers, So that debt is all they got,- Every flotsam, every jetsam Flee to freedom in this wood, 'Cause its master is a handsome Good old fellow - Robin Hood! Here, they listen to a loner, Aren't afraid of sharp remarks; Here, they accept with honour Dare-devils with a spark. Even noble knights' approach Is to hide, till time is right, - No fear and reproach - But the purse is always light! All reindeer tracks they know, Greenwood folks, from first to last,- Now free archers on the go, Slavish servants in the past. Here, the ragged and the poorest Will be saved and understood, While he walks around the forest, This good fellow - Robin Hood! Merry men, they live and cope In the face of all taboos, Never losing heart and hope, Those archers in the woods. They would sleep on moss and feather, Use for blankets starry skies,- No matter what the weather - Still alive, and that is nice! Yet, each sighs of being parted From his home and piece of land, Just before the battle started, Strokes a bow, his loyal friend. Better archers can't be found... And if morrow's any good - Knows the finest man around: One good fellow - Robin Hood! 1975

Last-modified: Tue, 02 May 2000 08:01:12 GMT
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