"Testament" - poem of Taras Shevchenko (English translation by Alexander J. Motyl)

Four Poems

("Iak umru to pokhovaite")

When I die,
let me rest, let me lie
amidst Ukraine’s broad steppes.
Let me see
the endless fields and steep slopes
I hold so dear.
Let me hear
the Dnipro’s great roar.
And when the blood  
of Ukraine’s foes flows
into the blue waters of the sea,
that’s when I’ll forget
the fields and hills
and leave it all  
and pray to God.
Until then, I know no God.
So bury me, rise up,
and break your chains.
Water your freedom  
with the blood of oppressors.
And then remember me
with gentle whispers
and kind words
in the great family  
of the newly free.

Taras Shevchenko,
"Zapovit" / "Iak umru to pokhovaite"
("Заповіт" / "Як умру, то поховайте"),

1845, Pereiaslav (Переяслав)

Translated by Alexander J. Motyl

Original publication
Taras Shevchenko, Untitled “(Iak umru to
pokhovaite),” Zibrannia tvoriv u 6 tomakh, Кyiv: Naukova dumka, 2003, 1:p.371.  

"Ukrainian Literature. A Journal of Translations" Volume 4.2014"
Shevchenko Scientific Society, New York, USA


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