Ilya Shambat

Ilya Shambat
Location
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Birthday
November 21
Title
Partner
Company
Adda Enterprises
Bio
Born in Russia, family moved to America when I was 12. Got a degree from University of Virginia at 18. Worked for Oracle, translated four books of classical Russian poety, was part of San Francisco and Washington, DC poetry and music scene. Good friends with San Francisco's own Persephone's Bees and acquainted with Patch Adams. Currently married with children, residing in Australia and working on a clean energy technology implementation.

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Salon.com
APRIL 5, 2012 7:14AM

Vladimir Vysotsky: Performances and Translations

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Included are links to Vladimir Vysotsky's peformances of his songs followed by translations. The performances are worth looking at. He was an amazing singer.

 

Uncontrollable Horses

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QouN4WOoZE4&feature=related

 

      By the edge, near the precipice, at the very limit, 

      I am beating at my horses with my arm, a whiplash in it. 

      I'm not getting enough air - drinking wind, the fog imbibing, 

      And I scent with deadly rapture: I am dying, I am dying! 

 

      Just a little slower, horses, little slower now! 

      Do not listen to the taut whip, it is wrong! 

      But the horses that I got are uncontrollable

      I can't live to the end, I can't finish my song. 

 

      I will let horses drink - the couplet I will sing 

      For a little bit more I will stand on the brink... 

 

      I will vanish - like a feather by the wind I will blown, 

      In the morning they will drag me in the sleigh through the snow, 

      O my horses, walk some slower, show a bit of moderation 

      Just a little bit, prolong my way to final destination! 

 

      Just a little slower, horses, little slower now! 

      Do not listen to the taut whip, it is wrong! 

      But the horses that I got are uncontrollable

      I can't live to the end, I can't finish my song. 

 

      I will let horses drink - the couplet I will sing 

      For a little bit more I will stand on the brink... 

 

      We've arrived: nobody comes late here to greet the Lord of Heaven - 

      Then, why do the angels sing with voices evil,  voices heavy? 

      Or the bell would shake from weeping, weeping gently, weeping deeply, 

      Or I'm shouting to the horses that they do not run so quickly? 

 

      Just a little slower, horses, little slower now! 

      I pray to you don't gallop along! 

      But the horses that I got are uncontrollable

      I can't live to the end, I can't finish my song. 

 

      I will let horses drink - the couplet I will sing 

      For a little bit more I will stand on the brink... 

 

Hunt for Wolves

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-BNU_k_1G8&feature=related

 

With all strength, with all legs, I am running 

But today's just like yesterday. 

They've ensnared me in a blockade 

They are chasing me with great joy. 

 

From the fir trees the rifles are firing - 

There the hunters are aiming at shade. 

On the snow the wolves are curling, 

Having turn into living aim. 

 

There is a chase upon the wolves, there is a chase on, 

On the grey predators, of every age. 

The hunters shout, and dogs bark till they throw up, 

There's blood upon the snow and the red flags. 

 

They're not giving us equal treatment. 

But the arm does not touch, does not turn! 

Having bounded with flags their freedom 

They are shooting determinedly on. 

 

The wolf cannot violate his tradition. 

As blind pups, as just little babes, 

We the wolf-pups were sucking the she-wolf 

And sucked in: Cannot go beyond flags. 

 

Our legs and jaws move very quickly. 

Why then - chieftain, answer us will you please - 

Do we rush to the shot in a trauma 

And cannot do otherwise? 

 

The wolf must not, he cannot, do elsewise. 

It's about the end of my time. 

He, who's bound to kill me 

Smiled and lifted the gun to his eye. 

 

I have come out of guilt, out of fear, 

Beyond flags - will to live is more strong - 

And behind me with joy I can hear 

The astounded shouts of the throng. 

 

With all strength, with all legs, I am running 

But today's not like yesterday. 

They've ensnared me in a blockade 

But the hunters got nothing today.  

 

 
Unfinished Flight
 
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIFPmjvZ39M&feature=related 


      Someone saw the fruit, that could not get ripe 
      They shook the trunk - it fell, just so... 
      Here's the song of him who did not finish his song 
      And that he had a voice - he did not know. 

      Perhaps he was not on good terms with fate, 
      And on bad terms with circumstance. 
      And the tight string lay on a fret 
      That was broken in single place. 

      He started shyly with first note
      But did not finish it, did not.. 
      His music was incomplete 
      Did not make anyone's soul rise.. 
      The dog was barking, and the cat 
      Was catching mice. 

      It's funny! Funny, yes it is! It is. 
      But he made jokes - they had no grace, 
      He did not finish tasting wine 
      Did not even touch it to his face. 

      While he started the argument 
      Unhurried and uncertain 
      Just like, on forehead, drops of sweat 
      The soul would shimmer through his skin. 

      He began the duel on the rug, 
      Barely, barely he began. 
      The judge did not open the score. 
      And little he saw of the game. 

      He sought to know all of it, 
      But did not reach, did not... 
      Not till the riddle, not the root, 
      He did not dig until the depth, 
      And her, that is still by herself, 
      He did not finish loving! 

      It's funny! Funny, yes it is! It is. 
      And he had hurried - all for none. 
      And all that he did not resolve 
      Was not resolved by anyone. 

      Not with single word do I lie - 
      He served the pure word, poetry. 
      And he wrote poems on the snow - 
      But snows melt beneath the trees. 

      But the snow was falling then 
      And the freedom to write on the snow. 
      And the big snowflakes and hail 
      He touched with his lips as he ran, so. 

      But her, the one in silver necklace 
      He did not reach, not at his pace... 
      Did not reach goal, the runner he, 
      Not finished flight, it was in vain, 
      And sign beneath which he was born 
      Was licking cold Milky Way. 

      It's funny! Funny, yes it is! It is 
      When seconds do not reach the light - 
      The sound that does not reach the end - 
      Unfinished flight, unfinished flight. 

      It's funny? Funny, well, it's so - 
      Funny to you, even to me. 
      The horse that jumps and bird that flies - 
      And whose fault could it be? 

  

Cupolas

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkO1o7ExZAs

 

      How I'll see it now, how I'll breathe it in? 

      Air is tight before the lightning, tight and choking. 

      How I'll hear it all today, oh how I will sing. 

      From the fairy tales the prophet birds are singing. 

 

      The bird Sirin is happily grinning, 

      Having fun, calling from nests. 

      And against him is now despairing, 

      Wounds the soul the strange Alkonost. 

 

      Just like seven promised strings 

      Ring again then stop - 

      This is the bird Gamayun 

      Imparting hope! 

 

      In the blue sky, bleeding with belltowers, 

      Copper bell, copper bell, 

      Will be joyful or will be sore. 

      Russian cupolas are covered in pure gold 

      That the good Lord will notice them more. 

 

      I stand, like before a timeless mystery, 

      Before great and fairy-tale country. 

      Before salty bitter sweet and sour land 

      Blue, spring-water, and full of rye. 

 

      Squelching dirt fat till the rust, 

      Horses go down till stirrup, 

      But they pull me with sleepy great power 

      That has soured and bloated from sleep. 

 

      And the seven wealthy moons 

      Interfere with my step. 

      It is the bird Gamayun 

      Imparting hope! 

 

      The soul, beaten with losses and sorrows, 

      The soul, tattered with horror, 

      If till blood the cloth has been worn, 

      I will gild with the golden glitter 

      That the good Lord will notice it more.  

  

White Waltz

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HtSDnZptSU&feature=endscreen&NR=1

 

      O what a ball! Intensity of movement, nerves and sound! 

      The hearts were beating in three beats and not in twain. 

      And ladies were inviting gentlemen 

      To a traditional white waltz - and took the breath away. 

 

      And you, that dance with sorrow together, 

      Decided to invite that one girl long ago - 

      But you must always leave to go somewhere - 

      To help somebody or to ready for a war. 

 

      And all, still closer, the more real it becomes, 

      She, one with whom you had intended to come in, 

      She comes in order to invite you to the waltz - 

      And in your temple blood was pounding. 

 

      Externally calm in a ball full of noise, 

      You're given away by the shadow of yours - 

      She tore, and broke, and trembled in blurry light, as you spun. 

      Held gently by the hand, and whirling her like mad, 

      And you could have put her across a knife's blade 

      So why do you stand, crossing arms, not your own and no one's? 

 

      It was white waltz - the end to doubts of unbelievers 

      And end of childhood consolations, dreams and games - 

      Today the ladies were inviting cavaliers 

      And not because the latter weren't brave. 

 

      The ladies are called forth in time of ball 

      And waltz spins heads around, like long before. 

      But we must always answer someone's call - 

      To help somebody or get ready for a war. 

 

      Whiter than snow is the white waltz, spin now, strive! 

      That snow does not get interrupted as it falls! 

      She came in order to invite you to a life - 

      And you were white - whiter than walls, whiter than waltz! 

 

      Wherever you were - in the lyceum, in the tavern - 

      In palace halls, in school - whatever luck despite - 

      In Russia ladies were inviting gentlemen 

      In every age to the white waltz, and all was white. 

 

      Dulling the sight, not looking to each side, 

      Through the despair, silence, quiet, resignation, 

      The women hurried to come to our aid - 

      Their hall - the size of the entire nation. 

 

      Where you will go, wherever you will fly 

      Recall the waltz - how you were white - and smile, you'll learn: 

      They'll wait forever - and from sea and from the sky - 

      They will invite you to white waltz when you return.

 

Microphone 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVXAIfgozWE&feature=related

 

I'm in the light, open to every eye -

I do as I do often; like an icon

I come up to a microphone; today

It's more like I'm approaching a cannon.

 

And I will not rub against the microphone

Yes, my voice is loathsome to many

Yes, I know, if a lie comes on

It will augment it surely without pity.

 

Rays beneath the lamp on ribs assail me

Lights shimmer into my face unkindly

And from every side projectors beat

And the heat! The heat! The heat!

 

Today I rant again without control,

But in the tone I don't risk making change -

For if I make a turn inside the soul

It will correct the curve with rage.

 

It's thinner than a blade of knife, this beast,

The flawless hearing, it hears lies till the iota -

It does not care I don't fit in the beat

But that I more completely sing the notes!

 

Rays beneath the lamp on ribs assail me

Lights shimmer into my face unkindly

And from every side projectors beat

And the heat! The heat! The heat!

 

Upon the supple neck this microphone

Is rolling with its snake head;

If I get silent - it will sting

I have to sing - till stupor, till the end.

 

Don't move, don't touch, don't dare!

I saw the sting - you are a snake, I know!

And I am like a charmer of a snake

Not singing, putting spell upon a cobra!

 

Rays beneath the lamp on ribs assail me

Lights shimmer into my face unkindly

And from every side projectors beat

And the heat! The heat! The heat!

 

It wants to eat, and with a birdling's greed

It takes the sounds out of the mouth,

In forehead it will put nine grams of lead

I won't raise the hands - the guitar binds them!

 

Again it will not reach the end!

What is this microphone - who will respond!

Today it is like lamp against the face,

But I'm not holy, and there's no light from the microphone.

 

My melodies are simpler than the scales

But barely beating from a sure tone -

I am sickly beaten on the face

By an immobile shade of microphone

 

Rays beneath the lamp on ribs assail me

Lights shimmer into my face unkindly

And from every side projectors beat

And the heat! The heat! The heat!


 

Ballad about Love

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fp5SUbEkBXg

 

      When waters of a flood that swept the planet 

      Returned once more into the ocean bed 

      From foam of a departing ocean current 

      Love climbed so quietly upon the land 

      And disappeared in air before its time - 

      And for it there are sixteen hundred times. 

 

      And some strange people - there are some such yet - 

      Inhale this mix with full chest that is heaving 

      Reward and punishment they don't await 

      And thinking that they are only but breathing 

      They do appear to breathe, or so it's seeming, 

      Unevenly, unevenly, at that. 

 

      Only sense, just like a river boat, 

      For so long, so long remains afloat, 

      For before I know that "I love" - 

      That is, that I breathe, or that I live! 

 

      And there will be enough wanderings and travels 

      Land of love - such a great land it is! 

      And it will be asking for ordeals 

      From its knights, before they can have bliss. 

      It will ask departures and despair 

      And deprive of calm, of sleep and peace... 

 

      But you cannot drive off the insane 

      From this land, they have agreed to pay 

      Any price - their life if that is called - 

      Just so not to cut, to keep instead 

      The magical invisible thread 

      That is woven in between their souls.... 

 

      The fresh air intoxicated them, 

      Knocked them from their feet, raised up again, 

      For if I had never ever loved - 

      I'd have never breathed, have never lived! 

 

      But the many that are choking on their love - 

      You won't reach, however you may shout... 

      Counted by prayer and empty word. 

      But this count has been mixed in blood. 

      And we will place candles at the head 

      Of ones dead from the unknown love. 

 

      Their voices have to morph in single one 

      Their souls must wander in between the flowers 

      To breathe with the eternity at one 

      To meet each other sighing in some hour 

      Upon the fragile bridges and roads 

      Upon the narrow crossroads of the world... 

 

      I will lay the fields for those in love, 

      Sleeping or awake, just let them sing! 

      I am breathing - therefore, I love!

      I'm in love - and therefore I live!

 

Mountain Echo

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF-SWB3v4Ik&feature=relmfu 


      In the quiet valley where rocks do not stand in the way of the windstorm 
      In such places that no one got there or will get again 
      There joyfully lived a happy mountain echo 
      It answered the cry of mankind - yes it answered the cry of the man. 

      When loneliness comes up to throat as if with a stone 
      And moan once suppressed falls into the crevasse in the land 
      The echo would take up this cry that comes out of the throat 
      Augment manifold and then gently lift up in its hand. 

      Perhaps it was people, made drunk on a horrible potion 
      In order that no one would hear their stomping and shouts 
      Came over to kill, to make soundless the mountain valley 
      And they tied the echo and they placed a gag in its mouth. 

      All night they continued the bloody and cruel amusement 
      And nobody heard but a sound as on it people walked 
      In morning they shot in the face the quiescent mountain echo 

      And stones just like tearsdrops burst from the wounded rock.
 
  

Ships 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-OUfGmPvVM 

 

Ships will dock for a while and set out on high seas,

Ships will dock for a while - and through storms and through fear

They will lay once again on the course without cease

To return once again in half year.

 

All return but the best and most loyal of friends,

All return but the most devoted ladies,

All return but the ones on whom heart most depends

I have no trust in fate, in myself even less faith.

 

 But I’d like to believe that this is not the end,

That someday we'll no longer burn ships in despair.

I of course will return - full of dreams full of friends 

I of course will return - it won't be half a year.

 
 
Others Will Finish
 
 
 
 

My beloved fiancee will weep for my passing,

And my friends will pay off all my debts,

Others all the songs will keep on singing,

And my foes may toast me perhaps.

 

I don't get good reading any longer

My guitar is broken, out of tune,

And I can't go higher and I can't go lower

And I can't have sunlight or the moon.

 

I can't free myself - don't have a right to -

Only wall and door and in between

I cannot turn leftwards and I can't turn rightwards

Only just the piece of the sky, only just the dreams.

 

Dreams of how they'll free me, of how I will exit,

How they'll give my guitar back to me

Who will meet me there, how they will embrace me 

 And what kind of songs they'll sing to me. 
 
 

Bath

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShoBMYVHQEg&feature=related

 

Make a bath for me, hostess, a bath for me, 

I will get warm in it, I'll get hot. 

In the bath, by the very edge of it, 

I will surely extinguish my doubt. 

 

I'll get good to the point of indecency, 

The cold stream - everything's left behind. 

And the left chest will get blue infernally 

With the cult of personality's pin. 

 

Make a bath for me, hostess, a bath for me, 

I'm no longer used to the light. 

I will get hot, and when I get hot again, 

The hot steam will untie my tongue.

 

How much faith, how much forest, has fallen down, 

How much, seen of the woe and the loss, 

On the left chest is profile of Stalin, 

On the right is my Marina's face. 

 

How much time I'm residing in paradise 

For my endless faith that God may bless - 

For the life that does not have a light in it 

I have traded my own foolishness. 

 

Make a bath for me, hostess, a bath for me, 

I'm no longer used to the light. 

I will get hot, and when I get hot again,

The hot steam will untie my tongue. 

 

I remember as in early morning light 

I asked brother of mine: "Help me please!" 

And from Siberia to Siberia 

Handsome guards took me to keep the peace. 

 

And then either on cliffs or in valley, 

Having drunk of the water and tears, 

Close to heart we put needles in profiles 

That he'd listen to tearing of hearts. 

 

Make a bath for me, hostess, a bath for me, 

I'm no longer used to the light. 

I will get hot, and when I get hot again,

The hot steam will untie my tongue.

 

Oh he envies the story till dizziness 

Steam dispelled all the broodings somehow. 

From the cold fog of the past times 

They dip into the hot fog of now. 

 

My thoughts knock on me under head 

It has happened in vain I see them 

And I beat with birch branches instead 

On inheritance of the past time. 

 

Make a bath for me, hostess, a bath for me, 

I'm no longer used to the light. 

I will get hot, and when I get hot again,

The hot steam will untie my tongue. 

 

Translated from Russian by Ilya Shambat. 

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