|Select magazine number|
Poems by Dmytro Pavlychko
InUkraine and elsewhere Dmytro Pavlychko is well-known as a brilliant translator of the world poetry, politician and public man, one of the developers of the Act on Independence of Ukraine approved as of August 24, 1991. He was the ambassador of Ukraine to Slovakia and Poland. He contributed as a scriptwriter and culturologist… But, first of all, he is known as an eminent poet. Children learn his works in schools, adults and young people read them printed in books or submitted by Internet. His lines are often quoted. Ukrainians sing such songs based on Pavlychko’s poems as “Two colours” and “The fog glides along the valley” in the family circle or in foreign countries longing for their motherland.
Dmytro Pavlychko is a living classic of the modern Ukrainian literature, active constructor of the new Ukrainian society. He was awarded the National Prize of Ukraine and various international prizes. He is Honorary Doctor of Science of Lviv and Warsaw Universities, professor of Kyiv Mohyla University, Hero of Ukraine. Till now, he continues exploring the external and internal world with his high skill, poetry, which grows, according to him, like the tree from his heart.
“Dmytro Pavlychko is a thinker, adequate successor of Ivan Franko, mason of new epoch”, Oles Honchar.
Selection and translation by Oleksandr GAVINSKY
This article in its entirety is published here as it has been received from Mr O. Gavinsky with no style-editing done
To make my coffin they would find some planks
As well as it was done to make my cradle.
But while the cradle’s always left with people
The wooden coffin would be only mine.
I’ll find some words to tell you of my grief
Just like I found them for merry carols.
But would the people take my song of sorrow?
Or would my grief be buried next to me?
It’s very difficult to write a carol
Which like a cradle lulls your kith and kin
Accompanied by tender mother’s chanting.
It’s very hard to weep and hide your tears,
To be alone with your own sadness,
Inseparable like your own death.
A doll once was given birth without a heart.
T’was first revealed by a boy
who just was playing with it.
He examined the doll,
kept his palm on its breast,
percussed its back and
He was eager to turn off the head of it
to look into the doll’s body
but then felt sorry for it
since he heard the doll repeating
in a very plaintive voice: “Mummy! Mummy!”
The Doll had grown up,
she replaced her vehicle by a limousine,
she began to earn money for a magnificent life
in a lot of various ways,
but being heartless from her very day of birth,
the doll was hired to become a killer.
When time had come to assassinate the boy
who used to play with the doll when a child,
and now he was an adult, the Doll burst into tears.
So when shooting at him, the Doll kept saying:
A foul verse recited by its author,
Whose throat’s golden, sounds as the truth,
An abject tone rings as if it’s brave,
A feeble one sounds vengeful, strong, and loud.
Deprive the mediocrities of throats
And all their poems would lose their gloss.
They are afraid of leaving lines in books
When voiceless they are absolutely helpless.
Like puppets which can quarrel, cry, and laugh
Till all of them are driven by an actor.
As soon as they are left they grow mute.
And you, my hard, intolerable verses,
What will you do when you remain alone?
Say, would you die together with my voice?
I don’t dread the pain
that tortures me and disappears
I dread the pain
that comes again and again
like memory of a burial
of a close relative
I dread the pain
that as a rule won’t bring you down a blow
that tenderly compresses your heart
destroys you gently
playing with you cunningly
like a cat with a little mouse
releasing it and catching again
strikes not to kill it
but only to inflict
an incurable trauma
You have the wrong impression
if imagine that the staircase of yours
you use to go upwards
will lead you only up.
Later, coming down,
you will comprehend your stairway
has been cheating on you.
The violin was gazing at me
It always hung upon the wall
of our blind neighbour’s apartment.
The violin expected to be taken off
and played by its master,
alas, the latter did it seldom —
when celebrating Christmas and the Trinity.
The violin then
didn’t know he was blind,
and it was staring at its master too,
it used to pray him too:
“Be so kind, play something,
touch my strings, I’m waiting!”
But he, certainly, couldn’t see its eyes
and the violin in its turn could speak
only when in his hands!
That was a real violin’s tragedy
and it was the first tragedy in my own life.
I watched the violin through my window,
I was a little kid then
and could not play,
but I could well distinguish
two wrinkles on the violin’s face,
a pair of big dark-brown eyes,
the violin’s fair long hair —
all of them in tears.
The tree I have recently planted
recognizes me, sighs over me,
asks me for water when there is drought.
And I, while I’m watering the tree I have planted,
very scrupulously and providently
lop off superfluous branches;
I do not take any pity on it, causing anguish,
in the way I would treat my conscience growing
from my heart.