RUSSIAN POETRY :: VLADIMIR VYSOTSKY :: A SONG ABOUT A FRIEND

Posted: January 27, 2010 in Russian
Tags: , , , , , ,

VLADIMIR VYSOTSKY
(1938-1980)

http://www.russianlegacy.com/en/go_to/culture/poetry/vysotsky.htm

A song about a friend

If your friend just became a man,
Not a friend, not a foe,- just so,
If you really can’t tell from the start,
If he’s strong in his heart, –
To the peaks take this man – don’t fret!
Do not leave him alone, on his own,
Let him share the same view with you-
Then you’ll know if he’s true.
If the guy on the peak got weak,
If he lost all his care – got scared,
Took a step on the frost – got lost,
Tripped and screamed in exhaust, –
Then the one you held close is false,
Do not bother to yell- expel, –
We can’t take such aboard, and in short
We don’t sing of his sort.
If the guy didn’t whine nor pine,
He was dull and upset, but went,
When you slipped from the cliff,
He heaved, holding you in his grip;
If he walked right along, seemed strong,
On the top stood like he belonged, –
Then, whenever the chances are slim
You can count on him!

Translated by Andrey Kneller

Песня о друге

Если друг оказался вдруг
И не друг, и не враг, а – так,
Если сразу не разберешь,
Плох он или хорош.
Парня в горы тяни – рискни!
Не бросай одного его,
Пусть он в связке в одной с тобой –
Там поймешь, кто такой.
Если парень в горах – не ах,
Если сразу раскис и – вниз,
Шаг ступил на ледник и – сник,
Оступился – и в крик, –
Значит, рядом с тобой – чужой,
Ты его не брани – гони:
Вверх таких не берут, и тут
Про таких не поют.
Если ж он не скулил, не ныл,
Пусть он хмур был и зол, но – шел,
А когда ты упал со скал,
Он стонал, но – держал,
Если шел за тобой, как в бой,
На вершине стоял хмельной, –
Значит, как на себя самого,
Положись на него.

1966

Friends waving goodbye to Basho

from the wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Vysotsky

Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky (Russian: Влади́мир Семёнович Высо́цкий, Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotskyj) (25 January 1938, Moscow, Soviet Union – 25 July 1980, Moscow, Soviet Union) was an iconic Soviet and Russian singer, songwriter, poet, and actor of mixed Jewish[1] and Russian descent whose career had an immense and enduring effect on Russian culture. Although best known as a singer-songwriter, he was also a prominent stage and screen actor. The multifaceted talent of Vladimir Vysotsky is often described by the word “bard” (бард), which acquired a special meaning in the Soviet Union. Vysotsky was never enthusiastic about this term, however. He thought of himself mainly as an actor and writer rather than a singer, and once remarked, “I do not belong to what people call bards or minstrels or whatever.” Though his work was largely ignored by the official Soviet cultural establishment, he achieved remarkable fame during his lifetime, and to this day exerts significant influence on many of Russia’s popular musicians and actors who wish to emulate his iconic status.

Comments
  1. One more Ruthenian says:

    Came here from the search “russian poetry”. Thank you for mentioning Vysotsky, – the recognition of todays’ Russian poetry outside the country is very poor though😦.

    It’s very different nowadays.

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