How proud and festive the parade, The thundering trumpets lead the way, And lines of soldiers in array Follow one another.
His wife is joyful like a bride, His daughter watches full of pride, Only his mother turns aside: 'Where are you going, mother?'
The silent guns have lost their sting, For nothing now is happening, And we may yet escape the thing - No need for grief or grumbles!
The music is for you today, For you the trumpeter will play; Watch on his lip the mouth-piece sway, It trembles, trembles, trembles...
by ბულატ ოკუჯავა a.k.a. Булат Шалвович Окуджава a.k.a. Bulat Shalvovich Okudzhava (1957 – 1959?) translated by Yakov Hornstein
Below is the original Russian version of the lyric in Cyrillic. Notably, regarding the English translation I provide above, the translator chose to change the title (or first line if originally untitled) to the more simple ‘Military Parade’ regarding the setting rather than provide a more direct translation along the lines of ‘Ah, the thundering brass trumpets…’
Ах, трубы медные гремят…
Ах, трубы медные гремят, кружится воинский парад — за рядом ряд, за рядом ряд идут в строю солдаты.
Не в силах радость превозмочь, поет жена, гордится дочь, и только мать уходит прочь… Куда же ты, куда ты?
И боль, и пыль, и пушек гром… Ах, это будет всё потом, чего ж печалиться о том — а может, обойдется?
Ведь нынче музыка — тебе, трубач играет на трубе, мундштук трясется на губе, трясется он, трясется.
Information: Bulat Shalvovich Okudzhava (Russian: Булат Шалвович Окуджава; Georgian: ბულატ ოკუჯავა) (May 9, 1924 – June 12, 1997) was a Soviet and Russian poet, writer, musician, novelist, and singer-songwriter of Georgian-Armenian ancestry. He was one of the founders of the Soviet genre called “author song” (авторская песня), or “guitar song”, and the author of about 200 songs, set to his own poetry. His songs are a mixture of Russian poetic and folksong traditions and the French chansonnier style represented by such contemporaries of Okudzhava as Georges Brassens. Though his songs were never overtly political (in contrast to those of some of his fellow Soviet bards), the freshness and independence of Okudzhava‘s artistic voice presented a subtle challenge to Soviet cultural authorities, who were thus hesitant for many years to give official recognition to Okudzhava.
February. Get ink and weep! Burst into sobs – to write and write of February, while thundering slush burns like black spring.
For half a rouble hire a cab, ride through chimes and the wheel's cry to where the drenching rain is black, louder than tears or ink -
where like thousands of charred pears rooks will come tearing out of trees straight into puddles, an avalanche, dry grief to the ground of eyes.
Beneath it – blackening spots of thaw, and all the wind is holed by shouts, and poems – the randomer the truer - take form, as sobs burst out.
By Бори́с Леони́дович Пастерна́к (Boris Leonidovich Pasternak) (1913) translated by Angela Livingstone
An alternate to Jon Stallworthy and Peter France’s translation of the poem ‘It’s February. Weeping take ink!‘ provided elsewhere on this site. The Original doesn’t have a specific title and is usually referred to by it’s first line, as is the case with many untitled poems, but my source for this translation titled it as ‘February’. Also of note this translation gives the date as 1913 but my research of Russian sources all agree to it being published, or at least written, in 1912. The discrepancy may be due to the date it was initially published in a collection of poetry or journal possibly.
A recital of the Russian version read by Sergei Yursky (a Russian actor who died on 8th February this year sadly) set to music by Chopin:
The original Russian Cyrillic version of the poem:
Февраль. Достать чернил и плакать! Писать о феврале навзрыд, Пока грохочущая слякоть Весною черною горит.
Достать пролетку. За шесть гривен, Чрез благовест, чрез клик колес, Перенестись туда, где ливень Еще шумней чернил и слез.
Где, как обугленные груши, С деревьев тысячи грачей Сорвутся в лужи и обрушат Сухую грусть на дно очей.
Под ней проталины чернеют, И ветер криками изрыт, И чем случайней, тем вернее Слагаются стихи навзрыд.