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Bulat Okudjava

Bulat Okudjava

BULAT OKUDJAVA: The Little Tin Soldier Of My Son

The Little Tin Soldier Of My Son

1964
The nightingales fill earth with notes
And the May rain – with sense of charms, 
But a tin soldier, little and honest,
Is doomed to endless feats of arms.

May be, a craftsman, sad and shabby,
Pushed in the world him, with disgust.
Ask the tin soldier, “Are you happy?” 
And he’ll take aim at you at once.

In a change of feasts and weekdays, simple,
In a chain of ages, fast and lame,
They weep or laugh – the whole people –  
He waits his foes all the same.

He always waits the moment, sudden, 
When they’ll attack to trumpets blasts…
Ask the tin soldier: “Are you frightened?”
And he’ll take aim at you at once.


The little soldier of the tinning
Is prophet of the loss and stress –  
His little gun, condemned to killing,
He never looses off his hands.

And I’m to my defender grateful,
Though he predicts the battle’s chance.
Ask the tin solder: “Is it painful?”
And he’ll take aim at you at once.


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, September, 2002


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