T. Shevchenko (tr. by Irina Zheleznova) - poem "Thoughts of mine, О thoughts of mine"

Thoughts of mine, О thoughts of mine
("Dumy moji, dumy moji,
Lykho meni z vamy!")

Thoughts of mine, О thoughts of mine,
You plague and torment me!
On paper you throng, thoughts,
By dark anguish sent me.
Why did wind not disperse you?
Why were you not smothered
While still in the cradle
By sorrow, your mother?...
For the world to mock at born were you, upon you
Tears rained down in torrents - why did they not drown you
In the sea or merge you with the steppeland waters?...
None would then have wondered why I suffer, none
Would have asked why curse I destiny or sought to
Lecture me and mutter: “Nothing to be done!”
Come, tell me, children mine, my cherished
Blooms - is there a heart, dears, anywhere like this
Aching heart of mine, dears, one on salt tears nourished,
That will weep like mine does.... Let us hope there is!
It a maid’s heart and a pair of
Brown eyes over you
Weep, my thoughts, I’ll ask for nothing
More: a tear or two
From those eyes, and I am king of
Kings upon this earth!
Thoughts of mine, O thoughts of mine,
’Tis sorrow gave you birth.
Ah, those eyes so brown and sparkling,
And those brows so dark!...
It is they my heart awaken,
Make it pound, and - hark!
Laugh in glee, and pour out verses,
Sing, and whisper of
Starry nights, and cherry orchards,
And a dear maid’s love.
And my sweet Ukraine.... My heart is
Silent and forlorn.
Sing ’twill not, for it is parted
From its'land and home.
Here, where snows lie deep, to council [3],
With their maces [4] bright
And bunchuks, the Cossacks merry
It will not invite.
Let their spiritis roam the distant
Steppes of the Ukraine,
Boundless steppes where winds fly freely
And where gladness reigns.
Breadth and space.... The mounds are mountains...
Vaster than a sea
Is the Dnieper, like our long-lost
Cossack liberty
That was born, that rode and pranced there
But its hot blood cooled, and slumber
Came, and lo! - it bound
Fast its limbs, and soon above it
Grew a fresh new mound.
O’er the mound an eagle watches,
Black-winged, menacing,
And of all that passed the minstrels
In their songs they sing.
Old and blind, they sing of freedom
And of fame.... but I
Cannot sing, for words escape me,
I can only cry
For Ukraine, my homeland.... Sorrow,
Curse it, leaves me mute!...
All have known it, all have tasted
Of its bitter fruit.
As for him who with his heart’s eye
Sees us all - a hell
Is this world for him, so help me,
And the next -
Ah, well!...
Never knew I joy, nor will it
Come to me if I
Grieve ’thout end.... Let grief be short-lived,
Let it snake-like lie
Coiled within my breast and hidden
From the evil sight
Of my foes.... And may its laughter
Reach them not.... By night
And by day my thoughts are ravens;
Let them croak while my
Heart, a songbird, trills and warbles,
While it softly sighs,
Sighs and moans with none to hear it
Or to taunt it ... Pray,
Let me weep, and do not try to
Wipe my tears away.
Let them flow and flood the alien
Field till that a priest
Comes and covers me with alien
Earth.... Ah, me! No peace
Grief will bring me.... And if any
(I need say no more)
us poor, homeless orphans envy -
Punish them, O Lord!
Thoughts of mine, O thoughts of mine,
Dear my children own!
Nurture you I did - but where,
Tell me, is your home?
To beloved Ukraine, my mother,
Make you haste and fly.
As for me, ’tis here I’ll perish,
Here it is I’ll die.
There you’ll shelter find, my orphans,
Truth’s unwavering flame,
Kindly words, a heart that’s friendly,
Aye, and, maybe, fame.
And of you, Ukraine, my homeland,
This do I entreat:
Like your own, my foolish children,
Born of sorrow, greet!

Taras Shevchenko
"Dumy moji, dumy moji,
Lykho meni z vamy!"
("Думи мої, думи мої,
Лихо мені з вами")

1839, S.- Petersburg (С.- Петербург)

Translated by Irina Zheleznova

Original publication:
Taras Shevchenko. Zibrannja tvoriv: U 6 t. — K., 2003. — T. 1: Poezija 1837-1847. — S. 124-126; S. 631-633

Source: Taras Shevchenko. Selected poetry. Kiev, Dnipro, 1977, p.45 - 49

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