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All through his life he drew the scenes of war.
One starless night, he hit a mine at dawn
And traveled to the bottom with the ship,
His final picture incompletely drawn.

All through his life, they came to him for cures,
He fought a furious battle against death
And died, from self-injection of the plague,
Research unfinished at his final breath.

All through his life he tested planes - and hearts,
Beginning with the Neuport as a boy.
He crashed when he was forty, to the end
Not having tested out the final toy.

We simply cannot get into our minds
That people do not always die in bed.
They die abruptly, with unfinished work,
Before they reach the target, they are dead!

As if a lifetime's cares may reach an end,
A lifetime's tasks, and then a final one,
And then, amidst one's family, there's peace,
A chair and rest, old age and all is done.

1939

Konstantin Simonov