Sing Me a Song, from The Songs of Siros

John-Paul Richard, with Ilia Shcherbakov

Спой песню мне, всего одну
Согрей в эту зимнюю ночь
Снега за окном, гонят ветры пургу
В снегах все могилы напрочь.
 Скажи, ведь бывает и хуже порой,
Дай мне не сломаться – вернуться домой,
Избавь от пронзающих воплей в мольбах -
 Страдающий стон на холодных губах.
Спой мне о вселенной. Дней не счесть,
Когда мир не был, таким, какой есть
Все были как братья, их можно понять -
Никто не хотел никогда воевать
За что я воюю? Дай мне ты ответ
Вот утро настанет: меня, может, нет.
Здесь Бог все решает -  он правит землёй
Сто грамм перед боем отмерим
Господь всемогущий ведет за собой
В него, лишь в него мы и верим.
Но ты отвлеки нас исторьей своей
Если ты врёшь – не поверим мы ей
И сказки-страшилки о Бабе-Яге
Уже не страшат, если был на войне.
Но ты всё же выдумай что-то страшней,
Напомни всем нам смысл жизни
Душа моя стонет от этих страстей
Полна голова скорбных мыслей.
Давай говори, тебя я прошу,
А я рядом буду, беззвучно молчу.

Sing me a song, just one small song Ang,
For I am weak and cold here tonight
The snow helps, falling all night long lamb,
Soft graves, entrenched in virgin light,
Tell me of the times worse than my own,
And help me not break -- run for my home,
Drown out the sounds, the shrill shrill sounds,
A man’s cold lips surrend’ when found,
Sing me a song of when things were not
Each Day creation—night conduct: 
Men, women, Worlds, to make unstuck
At gunpoint stood though nev’r have been taught,
For what, for who, i fight this war,
For morn… shall come, though I mayb’ gore”

For Gods may live and rule in your lan’
But here where vodka surpasses wine
Our God, sovereign, leads with strong han’
‘tis only him to whom we enshrine
But please, a story will pass the night,
And if you speak wrong we’ll turn you right,
Told bab’ yaga, till scare’d no more,
We found our true fears in this war
So make us laugh, and scared of worse things
Remind us of morals forgot,
Heal our souls, from destruction wrought—
Ho! Listen to me dark thoughts I bring,
And though I ask I further speak,
I’ll still, you shall not hear a peep

Author's Note

These two stanzas are taken from a larger work written originally in English and translated into Russian. Three Russian brothers who are serving in World War 1 ask an English soldier to tell them a story. The Englishman wandered into their Eastern-Front trench after trying to desert his post. The brothers are looking for the classically educated Englishman and his familiarity with the Grecian pantheon, to tell them wondrous stories, which they would not be familiar with because of their Orthodox backgrounds. We used a modified Onegin Stanza working with dactyls along with several iambic lines, making a nod to Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, and the Grecian epic model. 

John-Paul Richard is a twenty-year-old writer from Cleveland Ohio. He graduated Saint Ignatius High School and is enrolled at The College of Wooster. He mostly writes poetry and currently is working on an epic. He enjoys Walt Whitman, graphic novels, and is waist-deep into Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves.

Ilia Shcherbakov graduated from Irkutsk State Linguistic University in 2009. Now he teaches English in a linguistic center. Ilia does translations from English into Russian, and composes songs in English and Russian. Ilia enjoys conducting volunteer classes for English speakers and is always happy to introduce Russian culture to foreigners.