Poem "To my sister" (Taras Shevchenko, English translation by Irina Zheleznova)

To my sister
("Mynaiuchy ubohi sela")

As on the Dnieper shore I wandered
Past joyless villages and pondered
My lot, I asked myself where I
Would refuge find.... Then, later, slumber
Did come to me ’neath open sky,
And in my dream I saw a humble
Hut, bloom-entwined, on hillock stand....
A pretty lass it looked.... Below it,
In sunlight shimmering and glowing,
The mighty Dnieper swiftly ran.
By cherry blossoms, sat a maiden,
My sister own, a martyr she
And saintly sufferer! An Eden
The garden seemed, where, partly hidden
From sight, she waited patiently
For me, the helpless one, and sought to
Descry a boat upon the water....
There comes it now: a wave leaps high
And hurls it up.... I hear her cry:
“O woe is me! My life! My brother!...”
I wake: slaves are we both, and sad
Our fate has ever been, another
We’ve never known. From birth we tread
A field of thorns, by all forsaken.
Pray, sister! If we live, the Maker
Will help us cross it, free of dread.

Taras Shevchenko
"Mynaiuchy ubohi sela"
("Минаючи убогі села")
1859, Cherkasy (Черкаси)

Translated by Irina Zheleznova

Original publication:
Taras Shevchenko. Zibrannia tvoriv: U 6 t. — K., 2003. — T. 2: Poeziia 1847-1861. — S. 306; 716-717

Source: Taras Shevchenko. Selected poetry. Kiev, Dnipro, 1977, p.279

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