Translated from the Ukrainian by Nina Shevchuk-Murray
City a constellation.
How often, lost, did we walk
toward the light of the buildings, of which
there was left not a stone! . . .
And who will believe that it was the light we followed?
How often did we go looking
for the mouth of the river,
a bridge, and a peer
in the northern deserts of yards,
but who will believe that there had been a river?
It is only through us that the cities
transgress into oblivion.
We pronounce them
and find them different. However,
next morning you come to the square and recognize it:
Lindens at the end of blooming stand golden,
Yuri Andrukhovych was born in 1960 in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. He began to publish his poetry in literary journals in 1982. In 1985, he and others founded the popular literary performance group “Bu-Ba-Bu,” which was a seminal part of the literary culture of the Eighties in Ukraine. He has published four books of poetry, and numerous essays and short stories. His works have been translated and published in Poland, Canada, the United States, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Russia and Finland. This poem is part of the series “July Notes of the Traveler.”
Nina Shevchuk-Murray was born in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. She first came to the U.S. on a Department of State scholarship in 1999. After graduating from her hometown university, she returned to Nebraska to enter a graduate program in creative writing. She has published some original poetry and is currently working on a series of translations from Ukrainian. (2/2006)