Cover Image for Lord, Tell Me

Lord, Tell Me

Yuliya Musakovska, trans. by Olena Jennings
Issue Three

Yulia Musakovska’s poem about the death of a soldier was written after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The translator Olena Jennings notes that the poem is addressed to ‘you’, thereby encouraging the reader to contemplate their role in the war and share responsibility for it.

 

Lord, tell me
that you were holding his hand
until the very end,
that you were kneeling beside him,
when the hot summer sun
was pressing him into the ground
like a burning anvil,
when stray dogs were circling around him,
smelling blood,
having forgotten who they are

Tell me you
have been playing
the most beautiful movie for him,
with bright snapshots of his childhood and youth:
here he is rolling down the hill
on a bicycle with its frame too high,
flying and falling headlong into the grass,
painfully bruising himself,
but is laughing so loud
Like he never would again

Here he is cupping
a tender woman’s face
with his hands,
then her shoulders and thighs,
joining his body with hers,
moving until a sweet explosion

Here, in the range of his gun,
he sees armed strangers
on his land,
shrinks into a lump,
and hits the target on first attempt

But he hadn’t had time for more
because you measured it for him
with a horilka glass, so scantily,
that he was bound with embroidered towels,
not for a wedding,
but for agony,
for death
lengthy, like a first-grader’s road home
at night through the woods

And how did it help, Lord
that you were there?…

 

[Read in Ukrainian here].

 

Image: Alla Horska, Halyna Zubchenko, Hryhorii Synytsia, Sun, Mosaic at the School no. 5, Donetsk, Public domain.


Become a supporter and help us publish future issues of the London Ukrainian Review.

 


Marko Cheremshyna, The Village Is Trembling

Marko CheremshynaTranslationYelyzaveta Bolotova

Over the third mountain yonder, the sky’s a-yawnin’. The glow wouldn’t let the sky sleep last night, searing the sky’s sides, mantling the sky’s face. The glow rested against the mountains, and unfasten its crimson-red girdle, and unclasp its necklace to line the air above the village with blood-red crosses, and unbraid its flaxen hair to let it flow on pearly clouds, […]

trans. by Yelyzaveta Bolotova

Ahatanhel Krymskyi, Andrii Lahovskyi

Ahatanhel KrymskyiLiubov KukharenkoTranslation

Due to his natural meekness vis-à-vis womankind, the professor once again did not believe for long that Zoe truly loved him. That same evening, during the walk, he abandoned the thought altogether. That change occurred in him quite easily. He and the three younger Schmidts walked rather far out from Tuapse, all the way to the Kadosh lighthouse, and, tired from walking, they settled to rest by the seaside. […]

trans. by Liubov Kukharenko