Translated from the Ukrainian by Nina Shevchuk-Murray
Lindens at the end of bloom stand golden,
“There used to be dungeons here,” Neborak
said. Oh, the echo of ancient undergrounds
with names like those of girls or taverns—
“Dorotka,” “Under Angel,” and the one,
the cruelest “Tatarnia,” where eyes died first
and light hid in the armpits,
in the tongueless mouths!
This silence is meaningless now. It’s not even
a monument. And it’s not a river that had been
locked into sewers.
Although every one of us could have said:
“Lindens at the end of bloom are dying stars.
Streetcars are full of girls.”
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)