I want to start with one optimistic and little-known to English-speaking audiences song that I translated from Russian poet Bulat Okudzhava. The song is called Blue Trolley and it is about the people you share a bus or train with at night when perhaps everyone is tired, yet there is a way to find a collective kindness in this shared silence.

Here is the song and translation to English is below:

VERSE 1

When I lose the strength to bare all this pain.

When I feel despair coming on.

I hop on the last – the last subway train.

Deep into the night.

VERSE 2

Oh my late night train, sail through the streets.

And carry me home after midnight.

And pick up all those who were shipwrecked at night.

Deep into the night

VERSE 3

Oh my late night train – open your doors.

And save us from drowning.

And your passengers – sailors at night.

Comfort each other.

VEESE 4

With them more than once, I’ve left troubles behind.

With them I’ve rubbed shoulders together.

Imagine the kindness we share in silence.

We’re silent in kindness.

VERSE 5

Oh my late night train, rock me to sleep.

And carry me like on a river.

And all of the pain, and all of the pain

Starts easing – starts easing.

Ordinarily, we would never see things this way. The public transportation, for most people, is something to avoid and mostly ignore the other passengers. But this optimistic song offers a kind shift in perspective and lets us see the same world through a more positive and more optimistic lens.

Another Optimistic Song – A Song For My Newborn Daughter

When my daughter was born, when I held her, she still entirely fit in the crook of my arm. Newborns do nearly nothing in the first month and I remember holding her in the crook of my arm, looking at her eyes, and wondering how she would be when she grows up. So I decided to write a song about how she would grow up.

Here is the song and the lyrics are below:

VERSE 1

I found baby photos from decades ago.

Of your great-grandma with your same glow.

Her father hoping, like I do

That you dance through all life puts you through

VERSE 2:

Your head rests in my palm.

You still fit in the crook of my arm.

I gaze into your eyes,

Wondering how you’ll grow as time flies.

CHORUS

Your smiles write | my songs.

You – are where my heart – belongs.

You’ll face – the world – before long

And flowers – will bloom as you skip along.

VERSE 3:

While wondering about your life,

In older faces, I search for signs of strife.

But sometimes I find so much grace,

I lose fear when looking at your face

VERSE 4

The future will come too fast.

You’ll hold grandchildren, I’ll be in your past.

You’ll find a photo of me cradling you,

Wondering how I felt before time flew

CHORUS:

Your smile writes my songs.

You are where my heart belongs.

You’ll face the world before long.

Flowers will bloom as you skip along

BRIDGE:

Well let’s agree that even as centuries pass,

How we dance through life will be what lasts.

Feet hardly touching the ground, and I know,

We’ll soar above the foolishness below.

CHORUS

Your smile writes my songs.

You are where my heart belongs.

You’ll face the world before long

Flowers will bloom as you skip along.

Another Optimistic Song – Wish To Friends

This is another translation from Bulat Okudzhava. This song is simple, but it also has depth. Here is the song in English with the translation below:

VERSE 1

Oh friends let’s exclaim admirations to each other.

And not fear that our words are forward and a bother.

Tell pretty compliments that shine like stars above.

And Catch ourselves in short moments of love

VERSE 2

Can we cry openly and comfort one another.

Let’s feel each other’s needs before we start to suffer.

Don’t pay attention to words that don’t have kindness.

Since where there is love, nearby there’s also sadness.

VERSE 3

Let’s understand each other mid-sentence and smile.

Connecting in gazes that speak volumes in silence.

Let’s live indulging in each other’s charm my friends.

Because life’s too short to miss its magic moments