Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wolf Hunt

A poem and a song by Vladimir Vysotsky.



From “Vysotsky in Different Tongues” (to see the lyrics, click on the Russian name on the right):

I rush out of my skin, out of sinews,
I’m again in the scrape with no rest;
I am chased; deadly chasing continues,
Hunters sighting their guns at my breast.

From behind pines the barrels are rumbling -
Hunters ambushing there in the shade,
On the snow wolves are helplessly tumbling,
Now they’re targets of blood and flesh made.

It is wolf hunting in full swing, it is wolf hunting!
Today the whole pack of wolves is doomed to die!
Shrill hunters’ shouting, dogs vomiting from barking,
Blood on the snow and bloody flags¹ that blind the eye!

Games they’re playing with us are not fair -
Our freedom is flagged from each flank;
And without turning a hair
With a firm hand they shoot us point blank.

We’ve got jaws, strong and full of desire,
Old leader, can you tell us then,
Why we frantically rush under fire,
And we never jump over the ban?

It is wolf hunting in full swing, it is wolf hunting!
Today the whole pack of wolves will soon be dead!
Shrill hunters’ shouting, dogs vomiting from barking,
Blood on the snow and bloody flags that drive me mad!

“Wolves must not ever break with tradition!
‘Cause the blind, newly born, in the den,
We, the cubs, sucked our mother’s nutrition
And we sucked in: ‘Don’t dare jump the ban!’”

Wolves must not break the rule - never wrest it!
Now I see that my time’s almost gone,
And the hunter to whom I am destined
Sneers wryly and raises his gun...

It is wolf hunting in full swing, it is wolf hunting!
Today the whole pack of wolves will soon be dead!
Shrill hunters’ shouting, dogs vomiting from barking,
Blood on the snow and bloody flags that drive me mad!

I got rid of obedience and fear -
Jumped the flags! Thirst for life made me fast!
And behind me I was glad to hear
Cries of people, abashed and aghast!

I rush out of my skin, out of sinews,
But today not as ever before!
I am chased and the chasing continues -
But the hunters will get me no more!

It is wolf hunting in full swing, it is wolf hunting!
Today the whole pack of wolves is doomed to die!
Shrill hunters’ shouting, dogs vomiting from barking,
Blood on the snow and bloody flags that blind the eye!

_____________
¹ An old Russian technique of wolfhunting is to encircle the spot where a wolf is with a rope, tied up to the surrounding trees. On this rope there are red flags or cloth strips. A wolf never crosses red flags.

2 comments:

e said...

Hmmm. The lyrics sound powerful, but when I listened to the song, I didn't feel anything. Maybe because it's a very dry tune. Or maybe it's just because I'm tired.

This song could be used as a metaphor for so many things...

Crawling Axe said...

Obviously the song only makes sense when you understand the words. Also, the melody is there only as an accompaniment. It’s not really music, it’s more like poetry accompanied with some rhythmic sounds. A bit like rap, I guess.