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The Mad Woman

by Wasyl Barka

translated from the Ukrainian by Stash

Fugitive, like a white bird, in tears
she cries out to one killed by bombs:
—I am on the sunlight, on the gravel;
I will walk across the torrent’s spray.

Fugitive by the birches and weeds,
the ghost of her betrothed cries out:
—My tender feet are wounded on the rocks;
I will walk across the torrent’s spray.

Palms raised, she graces him
in the sheen, between the waves:
—After this horrible earthly suffering,
we will meet again — as kindred . . .

in the shade—the eternal jasmine’s—
with immaculate joy.


Wasyl Barka, born in 1908 in Ukraine, is the author of over twenty volumes of poetry, fiction, and essays. He has lived in exile since World War II, and his novel The Yellow Prince is due to be the first of his works published in Ukraine since his departure. (1990)

Stash’s Love Letter from the City is looking for a publisher. Presently, he is translating the poems of Wasyl Barka from the Ukrainian. (1990)

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