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Ukrainian poetry

Lina Kostenko

Lina Kostenko, 

Wings

But also true winged soil is not necessary.

Earth is not, it will be heaven.

No field, it will be done.
No steam, it will cloud.

This is probably true bird …
But what about the man?

And what about the man?

He lives on the ground. I do not fly.
A wing has. A wing has!

They are the wings, not down, now, “I
And of truth, virtue and trust “me.

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Who – with fidelity in love.

Who – with eternal aspirations.

Who – with sincerity to work.
Who – with generosity to care.

Who – the song, or hope,
Or with poetry, or dreams.

Man allegedly does not fly …
A wing has. A wing has!

                      Translated by John Weir,    

    Toronto

Taras Shevchenko

Taras Shevchenko, The Mighty Dnieper

The mighty Dnieper roars and bellows,

 
The wind in anger howls and raves,
Down to the ground it bends the willows,
And mountain-high lifts up the waves.
The pale-faced moon picked out this moment
To peek out from behind a cloud,
Like a canoe upon the ocean
It first tips up, and then dips down.
The cocks don’t crow to wake the morning,
There’s not as yet a sound of man,
The owls in glades call out their warnings,
And ash trees creak and creak again.
 
Translated by John Weir,
Toronto 
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   Lesya Ukrainka                                                                          

 Lesya Ukrainka, Contra spem spero      
        

Thoughts away, you heavy clouds of autumn!

For now springtime comes, agleam with gold!
Shall thus in grief and wailing for ill-fortune
All the tale of my young years be told?

No, I want to smile through tears and weeping.,
Sing my songs where evil holds its sway,
Hopeless, a steadfast hope forever keeping,
I want to live! You thoughts of grief, away!

On poor sad fallow land unused to tilling
I’ll sow blossoms, brilliant in hue,
I’ll sow blossoms where the frost lies, chilling,
I’ll pour bitter tears on them as due.

And those burning tears shall melt, dissolving
All that mighty crust of ice away.
Maybe blossoms will come up, unfolding
Singing springtime too for me, some day.

Up the flinty steep and craggy mountain
A weighty ponderous boulder I shall raise,
And bearing this dread burden, a resounding
Song I’ll sing, a song of joyous praise.

In the long dark ever-viewless night-time
Not one instant shall I close my eyes,
I’ll seek ever for the star to guide me,
She that reigns bright mistress of dark skies.

Yes, I’ll smile, indeed, through tears and weeping
Sing my songs where evil holds its sway,
Hopeless, a steadfast hope forever keeping,
I shall live! You thoughts of grief, away!

Translated by John Weir,
Toronto 
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