Vladimir Vysotsky: Songs: Trans. by Alex Lvovsky

Vysotsky's Lyrics: Translation by Alex Lvovsky

Another's lane
Ballad about battle
Good religion created by the Hindus
He didn't return from the fight
Pilot's song
Song about the Earth
Tightrope walker
White silence

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Ballad about battle
Russian title: Ballada o bor'be
Amidst molten candles and sundown prayers
Amidst war trophies and fires of peace
Lived book children who knew no battles
Anguishing their minor catastrophies

Children always complain 
of their age and their lot
And we fought until slain
And schemed mortal plots.
And our clothes were patched
By our mothers with haste
We then swallowed books
Getting drunk of the taste

Hair stuck to our sweaty foreheads
Phrases sucking air right out from our guts
And our heads spun by combat's fragrance
From the yellowed pages descending on us.

And attempted to reach
We who knew battles not
With a war-calling screech
Giving it all we got
Secret orders were passed
Borders suddenly sprang
What it means to attack
And war chariots clang

In the boiling pots of past battles and wars
So much food for our tiny brains
To the roles of betrayers and cowards
In our childish games were our enemies named

Villian's footprints weren't even 
Allowed to cool
And to beautiful women 
We promised amour
Having calmed our friends worries
And our families loved
To the roles of the heroes
We lead ourselves on

But we can't always run to the dreams in our heads
Short the century for fun - mostly pain lives on
Try to pry open the palms of the dead
And receive a weapon from their strained arms

And distinuish, acquired
A sword from the hearth
Put on metal attire
What's it worth? What's it worth?
Find out - you a coward?
Or one chosen by fate
See a glimpse of your power
Give real battles a taste.

And when near by falls your wounded friend 
And the world hears the howl coming from you
And when you're left skinless - this isn't pretend
Because they've killed him and not you

You will see, you will know,
Find out from within
From the grin that is shown
That is deaths scowling grin
Lies and Evil - look and find
How their faces are harsh
And always behind 
Ravens, tombstones and marsh.

If you cleared your way with your father's sword
And your tears had dried leaving nothing but salt
If in heat of the battle found out what's what
Means your read useful books when you were only small.

If the meat from a blade
You did not eat a bite
And your arms folded - stayed
And looked down from a height
Entered not into battle
Against butcher and scythe
Means that life proved your mettle
You had nothing to give.
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Another's lane
Russian title: Chuzhaya koleya
My own fault, I'm shedding tears
And sighing pain
Drove in too deep
Another's lane
My aims were aimed by me
To choose myself
But now I'm in so deep
No outs left

Round and slippery banks
Surrounding me on my flanks

I curse those who laid out this path
Soon my patience will burst into wrath
Mouthing of like a student gone bad
On this lane, in this lane, lane that.

But why I feel so discontent
Pompous am I
Conditions in this lane 
Are normalized
No one will hit or rub against
Do not complain
And if you wish then go ahead
You've got a lane

Plenty of food and drink
Into this cozy lane I sink

Lively gotten myself to believe
Not alone in this lane I weave
Just like that, wheel for wheel
And we'll all go wherever it will

But someone yelled as if insane
"Hey let me be!"
Began to argue with the lane,
And in the heat he burned his stock
Of warmth of heart,
And then his engine overclocked
And fell apart.

But he managed to warp both sides
And the lane got that much more wide

Then he vanished without a trace
The fool's dragged to the dithch in great haste
So he won't interfere with us
Those behind him following un masse.

And now it seems my turn has come
The starter's dead
This ain't driving any more
Grinding instead.
I should get outside and push
Not enough speed
Perhaps someone will save my tush
And pull me free…

But I am waiting here in vain
This is, of course, another's lane

Oh I wish I could spit mud and clay
This lane ain't mine anyway
Since I deepend it all by myself
Those behind have no hopes left

Then struck by piercing cold sweat
Down to the bone
And I have moved a little bit 
The side alone
And look this flank's been washed away
By Springtime creeks
There is an exit from this lane
I am saved, I am free!

Under my tires I sling dirt
Into the lane from which I swearved.

You behind me do as I do
Which means don't follow me
This lane is for me - not for you
Find a way that's for you - not for me
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White silence
Russian title: Beloe bezmolvie
As the years and centuries and epochs go by
All things strive towards warmth from the blizard and frost
Why do these birds toward northern lands fly
If for birds to the south the earth must be crossed

Fame and grandeur to them is not wanted
Underneath all that ice leaves from site
And the'll find a birds paradise granted
As reward for their daring flight

For what could we not live, what could we not dream?
What expelled us to trek on high waves?
We've not seen seen the light's brilliant beam
Seldom brilliance with value behaves

Total quiet - just segulls like lightning
Feed them emptiness from our empty hands
And rewarding us for our silence
Will be the sound of our song when we land.

For so long we have dreamt only white
Other shades of snow do not exist
We've been blinded by this brilliant light
But the black line of earth can be seen through the mist

Our throats will let go of silence
Our fear like shadow melts away
And rewarding us for our nights of violence
Will be eternal polar day.

North, will, hope, a land without border
Snow without dirt like a life without lies
Ravens will not gouge our eyes to bring order
Because in these parts no raven flies

Those who did not believe in dark prophecies
Never lay in the snow to rest
As reward for their lonely policies
They'll be met by a true friend at last.
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Tightrope walker
Russian title: Kanatokhodets
He rose high not by rank or by status
Not for pay, not for note
Onto his uncoventional stage
Thru his life marched above the big circus
On a rope, on a rope
Like a nerve tigntened by rage

Look up there, without protection he walks
One slight move to the right - there death for him stalks
One slight move to the left - still no saving him then
But it must be important for him to trancend
Four quarters to go till the end.

And the lights pushed him off of his stride
And pierced, namely laurels
The horn rumbled breaking in  two
His ears deaf from the "Bravos" we cried
And the cymbals, and the cymbals
Like a monolith crashing on you

Look up there, without protection he walks
One slight move to the right - there death for him stalks
One slight move to the left - still no saving him then
But now there is less for him left to trancend
Three quarters to go till the end.
Ah, so feared, so brave, so precious
Fighting death for 3 minutes
Made us gape and stand still in suspense
From the ground we watched very anxious
Liliputians, Liliputians
We appeared to him at a glance

Look up there, without protection he walks
One slight move to the right - there death for him stalks
One slight move to the left - still no saving him then
But be calm even less for him left to trancend
Just two quarters till the end.

Though he laughed at the fame he was given
He wanted to be only first
Try to put one like him in a grave
Not on wires above the arena,
On our nerves, on our nerves
Calmly walked as the drums raved

Look up there, without protection he walks
One slight move to the right - there death for him stalks
One slight move to the left - still no saving him then
Hush, stay still, there isn't much left to trancend
No more then a qaurter till the end.

Then cried out the trainer and trained
Laying limbs on the strecher
The prognosis severe and harsh
Was he certain or just simply brazen
Into splinters, into splinters
He had spilt his vaxation and blood

And today, unprotected another one walks
A thin wire beneath - there death for him stalks
Leaning right leaning left - no saving him then
But for reasons untold he begins to transcend
Four quarters of rope till the end.
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Song about the Earth
Russian title: Pesnya o Zemle
Who has said "All is burned into ash?
No more seed in the Earth can be sown"
Who has said that the Earth is now dead?
No! For a time she quieted down.

Motherhood can't be taken from her,
Try to scoop up an ocean with leaves 
Who believed that the Earth has been burnt
No! She has blackened from grief.

Like gashes, the trenches were laid
And like gaping wounds ravens were gawking
Naked nerves of Earth, our maid,
Pain unearthy experieced knowing.

She'll endure all, she'll go on living
Don't write of Earth as if she is crippled!
Who has said that the Earth doesn't sing?
That forever she's silenced and muffled? 

No! She is ringing and deafening groans,
Coming from all her wounds and her roots,
Because Earth - is really our soul,
And a soul can't be trampled by boots!

Who believed that the Earth has been burnt?
No! She just quited down for a time. 
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Good religion created by the Hindus
Russian title: Pesenka o pereselenii dush
Some believe in Budha, some in Allah, some in Jesus
Some believe in nothing just to spite everyone else
A good religion was created by the Hindus:
When we succumb to death we never really die ourselves.

If you are one whose spirit strives
Be born anew with dreams
But if like swine you lived your life
Then you'll remain a pig.

Let people give you croocked looks - get used to criticism
And disappointing - though reborn still targeted by slight
And if you saw your foe die while still in this existance
Then you'll be gifted in the next with vision sharp and right

So let life take its natural course
There's reason to be happy
Cause it might be into a boss
Your spirit will inhabit

So if you are a janitor - reborn an engineer
And then from engineer to a minister you'll fly
But if you're dumb as wood - be born a tree of Cedar
And be a Tree of Cedar for eons till you die

Doesn't it suck as parakeet
Whole century repeating,
Isn't it better in life to be
A decent human being.

So who is whom and who was what? - we never really know
Their minds lost, geneticists, from genes and chromosomes
Cause it could be this balding cat was previously a rouge
And this lovable man had been a kind dog.

I am jumping higher from delight
I'm stepping round temtation
Convinient religious rite
This Indian creation!
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He didn't return from the fight
Russian title: On ne vernulsya iz boya
Why has everything changed? Everything is the same:
The sky is still shedding blue light
The same forrest, same air, same water, same rain
Only he is not back from the fight.

Now I'll never find out who was right among us
In our disputes, without respite.
Only now I find I miss him because
He didn't return from the fight.

He was awkwardly quite, out of turn he would hum
And he missed all the points outright
He would not let me sleep, he was up with the sun
Yesterday he was lost in the fight

That its empty - that's not what this is about
There is a TWO that is missing from sight
And it feels as if wind had my fire blown out
When he didn't return from the fight

Burtsing out, as if from captivity, Spring
By mistake I call out for a light
"Friend, a smoke" but only the wind answering
Yesterday he was lost in the fight

Our dead will not leave us in fires to bake
Our fallen - like gurdians defend
And the forest reflecting the sky, like a lake 
And the trees radiating blue stand
For us, space in the bunker was plenty enough
And together we watched time's flight
Now it's all just for one, but it feels like a bluff
Feels like I really died in the fight.
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Pilot's song
Russian title: Pesnya Letchika
8 of them - 2 of us.  The deal prior to battle
Not ours, but we'll play anyhow
Sergei! Hold on, doesn't look very bright
But we'll have the trumps evened out.

This heavenly quadrant I will not abandon
Those numbers do not concern me
On this day my friend has my rear defended
That evens the chances for me

There is one on my tail, but now he is smoking
His engines begin wailing
They don't even need crosses on graves
They'll shed them right from their wings

I'm "First", I'm "First", below you they hover
My course set to intercept
Put out your flame in the clouds, I'll cover
In battle no miracles left 

Sergei! You're burning! But still there is hope
Time to test the eject
But No! It's too late - and another is flying towards
Goodbye! I'll receive him direct.

I know - our brothers will even the score
Ascending on clouds we slide
Like planes our souls will take off from the earth
Cause only together they fly

Archangel will tell us that heaven is crowded
But right when they close the gate
We'll ask God to have us enlisted and routed
To some angelic brigade

And then I will ask God, Ghost and Son
To have my will carried out
Let my friend remain my eternal guardian
Like in this last battle of ours

For wings and for arrows we'll go to God 
They must need an angel ace
But if they have too many fighters among them
Protectors we'll be in that case

Protecting - a business deserving our praise
To carry fortune on your wing
That's how in life we had been with Sergei
In air and after landing.

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