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The Parable About The Truth And The Lie (Vladimir Vysotsky)

Excerpted from Russian Poetry in English. Cynical but wise.
– Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal

The Parable about the Truth and the Lie

The gorgeous, delicate Truth was beautifully dressed,
Bringing joy to the cripples and orphans in stride.

The flagrant Lie had invited this Truth as a guest,
Telling her, why don’t you stay over here for the night?

….With a mug of a bulldog, the Lie was crooked and sly, –
– The Truth’s just a tramp, so, why all this ado?
There’s no difference at all between the Truth and the Lie, –
Strip them both naked, you’ll never know who is who.

The careful Lie weaved the ribbons out of her tresses,
Grabbed the beautiful outfits that the Truth often wore,
Took her money, her watch and her documents out of the dresser,
Spat on the floor, cursed aloud, and went for the door.

Not until morning did the Truth realize what transpired,
And when she looked at herself, she was taken aback, –
Someone already got hold of some soot and had mired
The untainted Truth, and abandoned her, dirty and black.

….Their report had concluded with cruelty, hatred and meanness,
(As they pinned on the Truth someone else’s offense)
There’s a scum that’s called Truth, but frankly, between us,
She just drank herself naked, and the rest is pretense.

….Even now, an oddball upholds the pure Truth’s travail,
But, if truth be told, there’s little of Truth in this guy:

– The untainted Truth will one day surely prevail
If it acts in the fashion of the blatant, deliberate Lie.


By Vladimir Vysotsky
Translation by Andrey Kneller


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