12.06.2017 08:40
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 © Іван Петришин

Ivan Mazepa: Contemplation. Duma

CLASSIC UKRAINIAN POETRY to all Ukrainian and American translators of Poetry


Ivan Mazepa: 

CONTEMPLATION. DUMA.


All seek peace frankly and truly, 

But they don’t work for it duly:

One- to the right, one – to the left, 

All that, brethren, looks like a theft!

If there’s no love, there is no accordance, 

Starting from the Yellow Water’s borders.

All have perished, ‘cause of the disputation, 

We ourselves defeated our nation.

Hey, my brethren, ‘tis high time you knew, 

That, in power, can be but a few, 

Who know, how handle the things in view.

Let’s have a look at a ship in the sea, 

Many men on board, you can see.

But the helmsman rules alone

Leading the ship through waves and foam.

A petty bee has a queen, a ruler, 

And it obeys it duly and fully.

Mercy Ukraine, God Almighty, 

As her sons are not united:

For one- the pagans are dear, 

And he invites the Ottomans here.

Let’s go and save our own domain

Sparing it from ruins and pains!

The second is serving Polish magnates to earn, 

But, for Ukraine, he can’t but yearn.

My mother of ages, Ukraine, 

Why are you so much weak these days?

You were torn in various ways, 

As, by the Dnieper, given to Turkish beys:

All was done to weaken the stronghold

To make it feeble and old.

Moscow is venerated by the third, 

In devotion, he, loyally, it serves.

About the land of his fathers, he complains, 

And, cursing his mishap, lives in chains.

Better not to be born at the Aster, 

Than to live in such a disaster.

There are hostilities from all sides, 

Ruining the land with swords and fire, 

From them, one can’t expect good will, 

Neither their hearts, with courtesy, are filled.

The enemies call you kerns, in infidelity, 

Reproaching for nationality.

Why, you didn’t teach your sons well, Ukraine?

Why did you allow them to leave your domain?

It could have been better to live united and try

To overcome the disaster and to fix it right.

I, a poor man, won’t defeat the foes, 

What I can do is to shout out, as it goes:

Hey, my generals, gents, just look!

Why have you that overlooked?

And, you, colonels, gentlefolk, 

Without any policy, hard as oak, 

Unite yourselves by the hands-

Do not allow to torture the homelands, 

Or to let them suffer in harm, 

Beat the enemies, take to the arms!

Stuff the rifles, hand-made, 

The sharp swords appropriate, 

And, for the faith, even if you die, 

Defend the liberties and the rights, 

Let’s sing the timeless glory, in accord, 

As we have the rights through the sword.


Translation from Old Inter-Slavic Ukrainian by Ivan Petryshyn


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USA 12.06.17



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