Пустые бочки... 1986
Translated by Genia Gurarie © 1996


I'll fill with wine every empty barrel,
Stretch out the sails of a buccaneer.
Forget all wrongs, peace be with you, farewell,
The day is breaking, the heavens are clear.
I'll start at daybreak and go to sundown.
There, at the sundown, the spring's arrived.
As long and far as the ship will run sound,
The buccaneer will live it all right.
        The east grates hot like a crust of rye,
        Somewhere peals the metal of drum.
        But you, Maria, please don't cry,
        For the hour still hasn't come.
        I'll stand a tempest, survive a fight,
        Overcome all venoms and fears.
        But there is one thing I can't abide,
        Only one –  and that is your tears.

                The hour... still hasn't come...

From time to time other people murmur
That I am no buccaneer for real.
Indeed, I live not by theft and murder,
And it is true what those people reveal.
For I could sooner amuse the royalties,
Set foot ashore, tend a herd of sheep...
But to commit executions and cruelties
On others –  pray you, may heaven keep!
        A ruthless fog hangs below the sky
        Over waters, milky and gray.
        But you, Maria, please don't cry,
        Mind you, death is still far away.
        There's no eternal, no thing to fear;
        Take your breath, let go of the dread.
        Don't trust each wayfarer passing near:
        Mind you, everything's still ahead.

                Yes, death... is still far away...

And though to home I shall never come round,
Though all around there is little light,
As long and far as the ship will run sound,
The buccaneer will live it all right.
No one will harness the ocean –  neither
I, people, vessels nor clouds above.
But I won't perish as long as be there
In gloom of anguish live coals of love.
        And I am dreaming those coals run high,
        Blaze and make of seas a conquest.
        But you, Maria, please don't cry – 
        Let this be my only request.
        But wait, there is yet another: please,
        Toward the final day's very end,
        As you'll be dying, do tell the priest
        You remember me... will you, friend?

                All... is still ahead...
                Death is still far away...
                Don't cry!..