God save Lesya. Poems on English

 

Mavka

Ah, for that body do not sigh!
‘Tis now infused and glows with fire divine,
As clear and bright and glittering as good wine
Whose life in sparkling bubbles mounts on high.
Naught but an airy pinch of dust
Remains to mingle with the earth below.
Beside these waters shall a willow grow,
My end give life to something more robust.
And to me here shall many seek,
Both rich and poor, the joyful and the sad.
Their grieves I’ll mourn, their joys shall make me glad –
To every one my soul shall gently speak.
And I shall find some word for all:
The quiet murmur of my rustling leaves;
The willow pipe that tender music breathes;
The melancholy dews that from my branches fall.
I’ll give them back in mystic speech
All those dear tender songs you used to sing,
The tunes you played for me in that lost spring –
O play again, beloved, I beseech!


 

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 dew.

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


 

* * *

Why are my words not like steel brightly flashing
Out in the field where two armies are clashing ?
Why not a sabre whose pitiless blows
Cut off the heads of our bitterest foes ?

You dagger-words, that I tempered and tested,
Gladly I’ll draw from my breast where you rested,
But it is my heart to the purpose applying,
I’ll shape a weapon with sparks from it flying,
Then I shall hang it up high on the wall
Others to gratify, me to appall.

My only weapon, dear words that I cherish,
We must ensure that not both of us perish !
Wielded by brothers we do not yet know,
You may do better in routing the foe.

My blade shall sever the fetters of iron,
Echo aloud in the forts of all tyrants.
Other blades also shall join it to bring
New days when speeches of free men will ring.

Mighty avengers my sword shall inherit,
With it they’ll race to do battle with merit…
Sword, better service go render the brave
Than to my feeble hands you ever gave !

Translated by Peter Tempest



 

Автор: Наталія Карнаух,
Фото: Галина Кучманич.

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