trojka hier, trojka daar, kijk daar loopt een adelaar
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We’re riding in a Troika down a forest without end it’s thirty below zero which will drive you round the bend The horses’ hooves are grinding through the snow so crisp and clean a Siberian night is falling, and no lions can be seen
We travel with the children even though they’re very young through endless woods as I already mentioned in this song the scenery is beautiful, but wild, so I believe and that there are no lions is a source of great relief
We’re on our way to Omsk although the road is very long To bide the time we cheer each other up by singing songs But then I see a movement in the distance far away It’s dark and it is multiple and makes me quite afraid
Although they are still far away, I see them very clear there seem to be a lot of them and quickly they come near They get too close to us by being very fleet of foot our family’s in danger and that can’t be very good
They’re menacing and dark, and very rapid as they run I see it now, they’re quadrupeds, they’re clearly having fun with great big teeth and shiny eyes that I can clearly see they must be wolves, and mean ones too, this really bothers me
But though things are precarious, I will not panic yet I keep the spirits high by singing loudly this, and that We certainly know all our songs, and sing along we do the wolves are sticking close to us as if with superglue
From here to Omsk it is about a hundred Werst, I think So I am really glad we changed the horses this morning But all the same the wolves caught up and this is not so nice I see the hungry appetite is gleaming in their eyes
But still we act all nonchalant, and sing with steady breath whilst we are only too aware of our impending deaths So I turn to my darling wife and whisper in her ear “Who are we going to sacrifice, because we must, my dear”
What do you think of Igor? no! He plays the violin! Nor can it be Natasha as in Chess she always wins. Sonja can’t be it, indeed, her voice is really nice. So Pjotr draws the shortest straw, he has to pay the price.
And while we sing I grab the little rascal by the heels and off he flies into the night with one almighty squeal This juicy morsel does distract the wolves, and while they dine We pull away from them again as we sing “auld lang syne”
We really do appreciate that Pjotr’s edible Because it means we lose the wolves for a good while until They trail off in the distance like the remnants of a dream and we sing “Row, Row, Row the boat and don’t forget to scream”
But then we hear the howling and our hopes do fade once more So Sonja takes the plunge as she goes flying overboard There she goes, poor little thing, we ponder as she falls And all the while it’s “Humpty dumpty sitting on the wall”
All this does make me pensive and my wife is teary eyed but there’s no time to reflect now the wolves are back beside So Igor I’m afraid you won’t be playing for the crowd Just fifty-two more Werst and “I’m a tea-pot short and stout”
With Igor gone for just a while our peace has been restored but back they are as if to make damn sure we don’t get bored Natasha’s dying scream will cut through us just like a knife While we were singing of Jack Prat and of his hungry wife
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So now it’s a duet between myself and Mrs me And with a bit of luck we make it in time for Tea But then I have to hand her over to the hungry pack and sang about the little ducks, just one came swimming back
But then I cheer up quite a bit because I see Omsk’s lights And as I jump with glee I trip and fall into the night And while the wolves devour me my last respects I pay to Omsk, which is a lovely town, but just that bit too far away
Troika here, Troika there Yes, you see them everywhere Troika here, Troika there Stuffed with straw and horse’s hair Troika here, Troika there We deliver out of stock Troika here, Troika there Gents’ attire and ladies’ frocks Troika here, Troika there Omsk is just that bit to far Troika here, Troika there Long live our beloved Tzar!
© Pino Carafa (rozeboosje) reserves the right to be recognised as the translator of the poem – 11 June 2007. Original Dutch poem copyright Heinz Polzer
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