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from Prayers (1)

by Bohdan Boychuk


translated from the Ukrainian by Askold Melnyczuk


Soul of truth
settle down
inside us,
wash the blindness
from our eyes.

Enter our frailties,
place the leaf of healing
on them, make our bones
howl with immortality.

Heal doubt and pain
and strip the husk
from Heaven
whose drops of light
can dowse our thirst
for You.


Bohdan Boychuk is the author of six books of poetry in Ukrainian as well as two novels, eight plays, and many translations. He has edited the literary magazine Suchasnist and co-edited (with Bohdan Rubchak) the major anthology of modern Ukrainian poetry, Coordinates. Memories of Love (in English) is a selection of his works. He lives in New York. (1991)

Askold Melnyczuk was chief pencil sharpener at AGNI for a number of years until, finally eliciting a groundswell of sympathy from staff members (who affectionately refer to him as “Socks”), he was allowed to translate a poem with close supervision. He is currently under heavy sedation in a Massachusetts state institution. (2002)

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