Peace In Time of War [translated from Russian]


Due to (various) recent events, I did not sleep well. I tossed and turned. I was chased. I was dragged away, my mother screaming in the background.

While danger is often the common element in the events we seek, these races all come with a privilege of implied safety. And many humans do not have that privilege. Crawling under barbed wire and running through electrical wires hardly has the same appeal in countries where you are risking your life simply by stepping a foot outside.

If your sense of basic safety has been threatened recently, this song is for you…

*I first heard this song yesterday, and felt the need to translate it, so my non-Russian speaking friends could benefit from it too. Share freely. Those who are fully bilingual in Russian and English, and can understand the original lyrics, please be kind. I do not translate from one language to the other often. I welcome revisions.

Here’s how this song came to be:

This video was filmed long distance, with everyone being in a different city – St. Petersburg, Kiev, Helsinki, Moscow, and Putevl. We filmed using the simple equipment – digital cameras, iPads, iPhones… whatever we had handy. Then we sent and resent the files to each other. The idea was simple – it was born, when Igor Lisov was touring with concerts from Finland across Russia and Ukraine in August 2014. He called that tour “Peace In Time of War”. And Tikki Shel’en suggested we made a song out it, and took those words for the chorus. The recordings and filming were done between September 2014 and February 2015. Mixing of the sound was completed in Kiev. Video was edited in St.Petersburg. [translated from Russian, source]

Peace In Time of War – Translated Lyrics

peace in time of war
peace in time of war
perhaps, my words would be funny,
but I am for peace in time of war

and we take the table outside
we take out grapes and figs
plums, apples, bread and wine
we make our own little feast

perhaps, we won’t save anyone
perhaps, we won’t save anything
but at our table, we’ll have tears and laughter
and bread and wine, and a little bit of peace

peace in time of war
peace in time of war
perhaps, they’d say I am a traitor
but I am for peace in time of war

and I would like to ask you
what does it matter
what you call the moon
that hangs on the balcony, both yours and mine
and what’s the name of this river,
where we dip our palms
when we are thirsty
the river flows, the moon hangs high

the table is ready, and wine is open
the sun and water are the same everywhere
and the same moon shined
wherever we’ve been

this feast is open to anyone who cares about what’s going on
who tries to find something, starts to look and finally finds it
for example, this table outside, and the crowd around it, who’s cheerful and drunk
from happiness, because they were able to build
this little bit of peace instead of endless war

and if the sun rises one day
and does not find us on this earth
that happens to everyone
so what?
those who were enemies under the sun
will be eternal friends at the end
death, the old witch with her scythe, brings peace to everyone
so is it worth it to drink to war?

and we will break bread
and we will refill our glasses
we will raise those glasses to us and our Earth
and clear sky above
our sisters on the other side
our brothers are just like us
I wish them health, and them, and them
why should we drink to the death?

feast in time of war
peace in time of war
perhaps, they’ll say I am a traitor
but I am for peace in time of war

peace in time of war
peace in time of war
perhaps, my words would be funny,
but I am for peace in time of war

I hope you run today.


For more, check out the post I wrote after the Boston bombings, why I went to the finish line a year later, and something you may not know about my hometown.



Posted March 2, 2015

7 responses to “Peace In Time of War [translated from Russian]”

  1. Igor says:

    Екатерина, здравствуйте!
    (Дублирую то что уже написал Вам на Ютубе))

    Здорово, замечательно! Спасибо!

    Только вот, есть пара неточностей в собственных именах:

    Putivl и Tikkey Shelyen

    И ещё:
    В Вашем переводе
    -why should we drink to the death?
    тогда уж
    -why should we drink to the plague?
    Или даже:
    – why should we drink to the health of plague. (Т. е. – “за здоровье чумы”, если такой оборот возможен.)

    А если ввести в текст деталь отношения первого лица, то, наверное можно так:
    – I wish them health, and them, and them, and I can’t understand
    why should we drink to the health of plague?

    Вы согласны что так более правильно? (И это, вообще, читабельно по-английски?:))

    А в остальном – спасибо ещё раз за Ваш труд!

    • SOLO says:

      Zdravstvuite, Igor! Bila rada chem to pomoch’.
      Esli chestno, netochnosti bili spetsialno – peredat’ smisl, a ne bukvalniy perevod. 🙂 Nadeus, shto poluchilos’.

      • Igor says:

        Да, Екатерина, конечно! Понимаю Вас. (Сам, бывало, переводил с английского на русский и ради передачи смысла сильно отклонялся от буквального следования оригиналу:-))
        Доверяю Вам, думаю что да, получилось.
        (Сам-то я в английском не силён… Но уже сам факт!))

  2. Igor says:

    И ещё, насчёт сведения звука и монтажа видео.
    (А именно слов “Звук сведён в Киеве. Видео смонтировано в Петербурге.”)
    Сведение, наверное, всё таки, mixing.

    “When recording is completed, the many tracks are “mixed down” through a mixing console to a 2 track stereo recorder in a format which can then be duplicated and distributed. Most of the records, CDs and cassettes commercially available in a music store are recordings that were originally recorded on multiple tracks, and then mixed down to stereo.”

    А вот монтаж видео – тут разные варианты. От Final Cut, до того же Вашего edited. Кстати, edited, наверно, и правильно.

    (То есть – The sound was mixing in Kiev. Video was edited in St.Petersburg. – так что ли?))

  3. Igor says:

    Можно ещё попробовать передать английским читателям что название песни (и строки рефрена) это производная, своего рода текстовая анаграмма от названия одной из маленьких трагедий Пушкина – “Пир во время чумы”. (Эта фраза, кстати, как Вы наверняка знаете, в русской культуре превратилась в идиому, смысл которой прямо противоположен идее произведения. То есть, как идиома, она означает “неуместное разгульное веселье на фоне всеобщего бедствия”. (В английском языке как раз похожий смысл у идиомы “Fiddling while Rome burns”). Интересно, что “Пир во время чумы” Пушкина это перевод одной из сцен пьесы Джона Вилльсона “Чумной город” (John Wilson, The city of the plague Но в английском оригинале нет этого словосочетания “Пир во время чумы”, поэтому в англоязычном контексте нет той отсылки, которая возникает в контексте русскоязычном. Правда, есть опера Цезаря Кюи по трагедии Пушкина, переведённая на английский, и её название звучит как Feast in Time of Plague (, что уже фонетически созвучно Peace in Time of War… но эта опера не настолько известна среди англоговорящих, как название трагедии Пушкина. Или, всё же есть отсылки? Кака Вы думаете?

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