“ON EASTER DAY UPON A HEAP OF STRAW…”

Tomorrow is Easter in Ukraine. I think of a poem by Taras Shevchenko that is in tune with the Feast.

На Великдень на соломі

Против сонця діти

Грались собі крашанками

Та й стали хвалитись

Обновами.

 

Тому к святкам

З лиштвою пошили

Сорочечку. А тій стьожку,

Тій стрічку купили.

 

 

Кому шапочку смушеву,

Чобітки шкапові,

Кому свитку. Одна тілько

Сидить без обнови

Сиріточка, рученята

Сховавши в рукава.

— Мені мати куповала.

— Мені батько справив.

— А мені хрещена мати

Лиштву вишивала.

 

— А я в попа обідала. —

Сирітка сказала.

 

On Easter Day

Upon a heap of straw in the sun

the children played

with their Easter eggs.

Then, boasting,

they began showing off

Their finery – brand new.

 

One received a blouse

embroidered for the holy feast,

For one a ribbon,

and for another laces were bought.

 

 

To one a little cap of dappled grey,

To another horse-hide boots were given.

Another received a jacket…

 

Only one sat without a gift–

an orphaned child,

her little hands tucked into her sleeves.

Hearing:

“My mother bought me …”

“My father got for me….. “

“It’s my godmother’s embroidery …”

 

“And I had lunch with the priest!”,

said the little orphan…

 

When I was taking my high school exam in Ukrainian Literature, each of us, students, had  to additionally recite our “personal” poem by Taras Shevchenko – outside the required curriculum. My choice was this poem.

Analysing the poem in one of his articles dealing with Shevchenko’s works, Professor Hryhoriy Klochek (my former colleague and my good friend) emphasized the inherent humanity of these verses (http://www.anvsu.org.ua/index.files/Articles/Klochek2014/7.htm#_ftn3 ). He also referred to another Ukrainian poet – Volodymyr Basylevskyi, who said that in the two closing lines of Shevchenko’s poem there’s more heart than in hundreds of rhymed texts that one may read today.

You can hardly add anything more.

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2 Responses to ““ON EASTER DAY UPON A HEAP OF STRAW…””

  1. Olia Says:

    HAPPY EASTER:)

  2. vitaliyb Says:

    Thanks, Olia! Same to you!

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