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He Returned Not From Yesterday’s Battle

Translation by Nikita Pavlov


Why is everything wrong?  It all seems just the same.

The same sapphire sky glows above me.

Same warm wind, same crisp air, and the same bubbly brook...

Except he returned not from the battle.


I shall never find out who was right, who was wrong

In our endless debates by the fire;

I have started to miss him only today,

After he returned not from the battle.


He’d be awkwardly silent, he’d sing out of tune,

He would always be rambling off topic;

He would keep me awake, he’d get up at the dawn...

And today, he returned not from battle.


It is emptier now, but it’s not even that;

I’d just noticed: there used to be two of us!

It was though the chill wind had extinguished the flame

When I learned he returned not from battle.


Spring has sprinkled its flowers throughout the fields;

By a habit, I called to him, “Buddy,

Could ya spare a light?”  But there came no reply –

He returned not from yesterday’s battle.


We could easily share a bunk or a ditch;

Time would evenly flow for us both.

Now it’s all to myself... But it seems to me that

It is I who returned not from battle.