Oct/Nov 2010 Poetry

The Lost Manuscript

by Dmytro Kremin

translated by Svetlana Lavochkina

The Lost Manuscript

To burn down Kiev Library is not too bad—
Kiev is not Alexandria...
From Chernobyl,
Black snow, white carrion crows
Are flying our way.
Kyiv, Kyiv, Kyiv—not Athens,
But here, too, we have Moguls and Saracens,
The Ukraine with its corvine ashes;
And billows of smoke
Rising from Dante's tercets.
Snow in Koncha. A hostage of freedom and honor
Is weeping, his head sadly hung...
Burn the manuscript. Prove to everybody
That we are vanished, gone.
History won't ever mention
You and your bitter straits.
The snow from Chernobyl is falling.
The manuscript bursts into flames.
But still, in ferocious winter,
Galya sows marigold seeds
And the suicide birds implore us
To remain humane. To live.


The voices of obscure poets—
Cimmerians, Hittites, Sumers—
Resound in Ukrainian phrases.
The drowned nightingales sigh
From the Solovki—bottomless mirrors
In the north of this lost hemisphere.


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