To a friend

Категория: Поэзия
Don't take it hard, my friend, this too - soon exit.
Immortal life... who bought, or made a deal?
You see, the kind of life a fellow chooses
Marks off his years and on them sets its seal.
But time itself, between your birth and death,
Is relative, an aspect of your day.
Our blood, outpouring, might be a beginning
Whose deathless wonder time shall not allay.
I swore an oath: I swore I'd give my life for
My people, country - all that they imply!
For this, though years by hundreds lay before you,
Now wouldn't even you this moment die?
Through nights of endless dark, one waits the dawning:
So I, for news of home, in this grim hell.
But if a whisper reach me from my birthland -
And I on foreign soil - what strength upwells!
To save my skin at the expense of honour:
No, better let me die! What would remain
Of life indeed, if your dear Motherland
Could spit right in your face - the face of Cain?
Such "happiness" as that, I have no need of.
Far better, death - no wrong is meant, I swear.
But in my homeland to become a stranger
So even water is begrudged me there?
Old fellow, see, our life is the minutest
Of sparks - our undefeated country is so vast.
Like sparks we die, go out - from death so fearless
Will blaze a light transcendent, unsurpassed.
This death will put its mark on loyalty,
And as to courage - all our land will know.
Dear friend, and isn't it the culmination
Of our young lives? There'll be no bigger show.
If we're cut down so young, like growing saplings,
Our roots without our people still will grow.
And youngsters say: As brave as that, that's
something! Death must be met by everybody - SO!

*A.A. - Abdullah Alish, a Tatar writer, Jalil's comrade.
октября 1943