Vladimir Vysotsky: Songs: Trans. by Arkadiy Landa

Vysotsky's Lyrics: Translation by Arkadiy Landa


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Russian title: Pismo pered boem
Half an hour 'til warfare.
Soon again we'll hear flesh tear,
Through the fire, screams of death and of hope.
But to a young soldier,
Some one sent him a letter,
In a small, lightish-blue envelope.

You forget all the dismay,
If it's from your fiancÚ,
Or from your dad or your mother, perhaps...
But what happened was different,
And it seems all for nothing,
To rush the envelope to this chap.

The first part of the letter:
Well, I should have known better,
tired of waiting..." and that's the whole thing.
Just P.S. at the bottom:
leaving forever, I am,
So forgive me, and fight 'til you win." 

As the heart ache burned badly,
The lad yelled oh so sadly:
Mailman, why did you bring me this?! 
Moments, before death, I mope,
But in a blue envelope,
You have given my heart an abyss!"

Stepped up out of the trench, he,
Machine gun hanging freely,
Of bullets he saved himself not.
And in the middle of toil,
He has hugged with the soil,
Just the rips of the letter left flying about.
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