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  • #344353

    Anonymous
    Of poets and princes: these lines by the great Vladimir Nabokov are translated from the Russian by his son, Dmitri Nabokov. Dated 1944, “On Rulers” appears in Selected Poems, introduced by Thomas Karshan, who points out that Nabokov was a poet before he was a novelist, and that, whatever their subjects, Nabokov’s poems are united by a bold simplicity, “without any of the twists and turns of his novelistic intelligence.” This poem was written “in the sincere civic style,” Nabokov said, and intended as “a parody of the manner of the late Vladimir Mayakovski” (“my late namesake,” as he is called below).  Mayakovski, Nabokov noted when the poem first appeared in English in 1970, was a “minor Soviet poet, endowed with a certain brilliance and bite, but fatally corrupted by the regime he faithfully served.”

    On Rulers

     (Vladimir Nabokov)

    You will (as sometimes
          people say)
    laugh; you will (as clairvoyants
    say) roar with laughter, gentlemen—
          but, word of honor,
          I have a crony,
              who
    would be thrilled to shake hands
    with the head of a state or of any other
          enterprise.

    Since when, I wonder,
    in the pit of the stomach
    we’ve begun to experience a tender
    bubbling, when looking through an opera glass
    at the burly one, bristly haired, in the grand box?
          Since when the concept
    of authority has been equated
    with the seminal notion of patria?

    All sorts of Romans and butchers;
    Charles the Handsome and Charles the Hideous;
    utterly rotten princelings; fat-breasted
    German ladies; and various
    cannibals, loverboys, lumbermen,
          Johns, Lewises, Lenins,
    emitting stool grunts of strain and release,
          propping elbows on knees,
    sat on their massive old thrones.
    The historian dies of sheer boredom:
    On the heels of Mamay comes another Mamay.
    Does our plight really force us to do
          what did bureaucratic Cathay
    that with heaps of superfluous centuries
    augmented her limited history
    (which, however, hardly became
          either better or merrier)?

    Per contra, the coachmen of empires look good
    when performing their duties: swiftly
    toward them flies the blue of the sky;
    their flame-colored sleeves clap in the wind;
    the foreign observer looks on and sees
    in front bulging eyes of great beauty
    and behind a beautiful blend
    of divan cushion and monstrous pumpkin.
    But the decorated big fellow or else
          the trench-coated wolf
          in his army cap with a German steep peak,
          hoarse-voiced, his face all distorted,
          speaking from an immobile convertible,
    or, again, a banquet
    with Caucasian wine.
          No, thank you.

    If my late namesake,
    who used to write verse, in rank
    and in file, at the very dawn
    of the Soviet Small-Bourgeois order,
          had lived till its noon
    he would be now finding taut rhymes
          such as “praline”
            or “air chill,”
    and others of the same kind.

    #437076

    Anonymous

    My favourite poet is Zbigniew Herbert. He was born in Lviv, where he lived until WW2 – after that he never came back there, even after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    From Wikipedia:

    Zbigniew Herbert – (29 October 1924 – 28 July 1998) was a Polish poet, essayist, drama writer and moralist. A member of the Polish resistance movement, Home Army (AK), during World War II, he is one of the best known and the most translated post-war Polish writers. While he was first published in the 1950s (a volume titled String of light was issued in 1956), soon after he voluntarily ceased submitting most of his works to official Polish government publications. He resumed publication in the 1980s, initially in the underground press.

    He was a distant relative of the 17th-century Anglo-Welsh poet George Herbert.

    Herbert was educated as an economist and a lawyer. Herbert was one of the main poets of the Polish opposition to communism. Starting in 1986, he lived in Paris, where he cooperated with the journal Zeszyty Literackie. He came back to Poland in 1992. On 1 July 2007 the Polish Government instituted 2008 as the Year of Zbigniew Herbert.

    ______________

    And here’s one of my favourite poems written by him. As post scriptum I want to add, that he wrote more poems about Mr Cogito, this one is sort of “conclusion”.

    “The Envoy of Mr Cogito”

    Go where those others went to the dark boundary 
    for the golden fleece of nothingness your last prize 

    go upright among those who are on their knees 
    among those with their backs turned and those toppled in the dust 

    you were saved not in order to live 
    you have little time you must give testimony 

    be courageous when the mind deceives you be courageous 
    in the final account only this is important 

    and let your helpless Anger be like the sea 
    whenever your hear the voice of the insulted and beaten 

    let you sister Scorn not leave you 
    for the informers executioners cowards – they will win 
    they will go to your funeral with relief will throw a lump of earth 
    the woodborer will write your smoothed-over biography 

    and do not forgive truly it is not in your power 
    to forgive in the name of those betrayed at dawn 

    beware however of unnecessary pride 
    keep looking at your clown’s face in the mirror 
    repeat: I was called – weren’t there better ones than I 

    beware of dryness of heart love the morning spring 
    the bird with an unknown name the winter oak 
    light on a wall the splendour of the sky 
    they don’t need your warm breath 
    they are there to say: no one will console you 

    be vigilant – when the light on the mountains gives the sign- arise and go 
    as long as blood turns in the breast your dark star 

    repeat old incantations of humanity fables and legends 
    because this is how you will attain the good you will not attain 
    repeat great words repeat them stubbornly 
    like those crossing the desert who perished in the sand 

    and they will reward you with what they have at hand 
    with the whip of laughter with murder on a garbage heap 

    go because only in this way you will be admitted to the company of cold skulls 
    to the company of your ancestors: Gilgamesh Hector Roland 
    the defenders of the kingdom without limit and the city of ashes 

    Be faithful Go 

    #437079

    Anonymous

    I just checked Youtube for recitations of Hebert’s poetry. This one is haunting: Herbert’s poem “Message of Mr. Cogito”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY-vp_YcnjY

    #437080

    Anonymous

    @GaiusCoriolanus The video is the same poem you posted. I just realized this.  :p It is so powerful. There is even a song of this poem by Antonina Krzysztoń. Beautiful. 

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJtaUlHk_Ws

    #437081

    Anonymous

    @Karpivna I have it on my phone. :D Downloaded it when had better Internet connection. 

    There are some poets recited by himself. Also, there is a guy – Dawid Hallmann – who creates music and uses various recordings, also Herbert’s (as he likes him a lot). This is also one of my favourite poems:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAP13goURD8

    And here’s the translation (I know, Hallmann called it an Epilogue :D

    “The Prologue”

    HE
    To whom do I play? Closed shutters 
    and doorknobs gleaming haughtily
    Bassoons of rain – mournful gutters
    and the rats that dance amid debris

    A final drumroll played by shells
    in the courtyard simple obsequies
    two crossed planks a riddle helmet
    and a great rose of fire in the skies

    CHORUS
    The calf turns on the spit.
    In the oven brown bread swells.
    Fires die out. Only a reprieved flame is eternal.

    HE
    And a coarse inscription on the cross
    names as short as salvos of a gun
    “Griffin”, “Wolf”, “Bullet” – who knows
    them now Red paint ran in the rain

    Afterwards we washed bandages 
    for years. Now no one sheds a tear
    Clinking in a box of matches –
    the buttons of a soldier’s gear

    CHORUS
    Throw out keepsakes. Burn memories and step into life’s new stream.
    There is only earth. One earth and over it pass the seasons of the year.
    Wars of insects and of people then quick death over a honey flower.
    Grain will ripen. Oaks will blossom. Rivers go from mountain to sea.

    HE
    I swim upstream and they with me
    implacably they return my stare
    stubbornly whisper ancient words
    we eat our bitter bread of despair

    I must bring them to a dry place
    and pile the sand into a heap
    before spring scattering blossoms
    puts them into a deep green sleep

    The city –

    CHORUS
    The city is gone
    under the earth

    ME
    It still glows

    CHORUS
    As wood decays in a forest

    HE
    A desolate place
    but overhead the air still trembles
    with their voices

    The trench where a turbid river runs
    I call the Vistula. Hard to confess:
    this is the love that we are doomed to  
    this is the homeland that pierces us

    #437105

    Anonymous

    Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński (1921-1944) – was a Polish poet and Home Army soldier, one of the most renowned authors of the Generation of Columbuses, the young generation of Polish poets of whom several perished in the Warsaw Uprising and during the German occupation of Poland.

    Baczyński was born in Warsaw in the family of renowned literary critic and soldier of Polish Legions in World War I, Stanisław Baczyński and school teacher Stefania Zieleńczyk. His mother was a zealous Catholic but with Jewish roots (like his father too), and as such was treated by the Germans as a Jew. His uncle, Dr. Adam Zieleńczyk, escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto and was killed by Germans in 1943.

    As a member of Scouting Assault Groups (Harcerskie Grupy Szturmowe), Baczyński took part in many sabotage actions throughout the occupation. One of them was derailment of a German military train in August 1944, which resulted in a 26-hour delay of traffic on the strategic connection Warsaw-Białystok.
    After the Warsaw Uprising broke out, he joined the “Parasol” battalion. He was killed in action by a German sniper at approximately 4 pm of August 4, 1944, in Blank Palace (Pałac Blanka) in the Warsaw Old Town area. He is buried in the Powązki Military Cemetery, together with his pregnant wife, who was killed on September 1, 1944.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krzysztof_Kamil_Baczyński

    ______________________________________________________________________________________-

    “Elegy for a Polish boy”

    They kept you, little son, from dreams like trembling butterflies,
    they wove you, little son, in dark red blood two mournful eyes,
    they painted landscapes with the yellow stitch of conflagrations,
    they decorated all with hangmen’s trees the flowing oceans.

    They taught you, little son, to know by heart your land of birth
    as you were carving out with tears of iron its many paths.
    They reared you in the darkness and fed you on terror’s bread;
    you traveled gropingly that shamefulest of human roads. 

    And then you left, my lovely son, with your black gun at midnight,
    and felt the evil prickling in the sound of each new minute.
    Before you fell, over the land you raised your hand in blessing.
    Was it a bullet killed you, son, or was it your heart bursting?

    #437138

    Anonymous

    Serhiy Zhadan is the most popular poet of the post-independence generation in Ukraine. His work speaks to the disillusionment, difficulties and ironies that the collapse of the Soviet Union has brought, and his readings fill large auditoriums. Originally the enfant terrible of Ukrainian letters, Serhij Zhadan, now in his thirties, is considered the most important poet of the decade and even one of the leading voices of the last century.

    Serhij Zhadan was born on 23 August 1974 in the Luhanask region of eastern Ukraine, an area of the country that is rarely viewed as Ukrainian-speaking. “Where do poets come from,” asks Yuri Amdrukhovych, Ukraine’s best-known prose writer, “especially in our brutal land where the abyss between them and the rest of the people is way beyond existential? What gives rise to the necessity to speak in verse in a place where regular language is no longer heard?”

    Profile of Zhadan from the New Yorker magazine: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-abuse-of-ukraines-best-known-poet Here is a quote:

    On Saturday, pro-Russian demonstrators stormed the regional state administration building in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which is in the northeastern part of the country, not far from the Russian border. In the city’s central square, protests against the regime of President Viktor Yanukovych, who was closely aligned with Russia, had been taking place every day for three months. After protests in Kiev in late February became increasingly violent, with government forces shooting into crowds, Yanukovych fled the country; soon after, Kharkiv’s pro-Russian mayor and regional governor disappeared. Last weekend, locals who are against the country’s turn away from Russia came out in force to counterprotest. They were joined by agitators who many observers suspect were bussed in from Russia. (As in Crimea and other parts of Ukraine, pro-Russian forces are not always who they say they are.) Armed with bats, the pro-Russian demonstrators attacked the mostly college-age activists who had occupied the building on Freedom Square.
    One of the occupiers was Zhadan, who lives in Kharkiv and has thrown his energy behind the city’s protests. As the attackers were hitting him, the writer said, they told him to kneel and kiss the Russian flag. “I told them to go fuck themselves,” Zhadan wrote, on his Facebook page.

    LUKOIL

    When Easter arrives and the sky becomes kinder
    but everyone becomes more intense, saying, Easter, Resurrection Day
    then the dead start to turn in the ground,
    breaking up the cold clay with their elbows.
    I’ve had to bury friends,
    I know what it’s like to bury your friends in the dirt,
    like a dog buries a bone,
    and wait till the sky 
                                     becomes kinder.

    There are social groups
    for whom such rituals are very important,
    I mean, first of all, mid-sized businesses.
    Everyone has seen
    the sorrow that envelopes these regional
    representatives of Russian gas companies
    when they descend on the boundless
    cemetery fields, to bury in the ground
    one more brother shot through the lungs;

    everyone has heard the loud beat of their hearts
    when they stand near the coffin
    and wipe their stingy tears and runny noses against their
    dolce & gabbana
    slurping hennessy
                             from disposable
                                                             glasses.

    “So, Kolya,” they say, “here’s to you and the hereafter.
    In the great field of offshore business
    we fall into the cold pools of oblivion,
    like wild geese in the autumn with buckshot in our livers.”

    “So,” they answer, “when we 
    send off our brother
    on his long journey
    into the radiant Valhalla of Lukoil
    who will accompany him
    through the dark caverns of purgatory?”

    “Bitches,” they all say, “bitches
    he’ll need bitches,
    good bitches
    expensive ones, without bad habits,
    they will warm him in the winter
    they will chill his blood in the spring,
    on his left will lie a platinum blond,
    on his right will lie a platinum blond,
    and he won’t even notice he is dead.

    Oh, death is a territory where
                                            our credit won’t reach. 
    Death is the territory of oil,
                                             let it cleanse his sins.
    We’ll place his weapons at his feet, and gold,
    and furs and finely ground pepper.
    In his left hand we will place his newest nokia
    and in his right an indulgence from Jerusalem.
    But the main thing are the bitches,
    two bitches, the main thing are two platinum bitches.”
    “Yes, that’s the main thing,” everyone agrees.
    “The main thing are the bitches,” they agree.
    “The main-main thing,” adds Kolya from the casket.

    We’re all sentimental at Easter time.
    We stand and wait for the dead
    to rise and come to us from the hereafter.
    You become more interested in death
    when you bury friends.

    On the third day as they flank
    the doors of the morgue, on the morning of the third day
    he conquers death through death, after all, and walks out
    from the crematorium, he sees
    that they have all fallen asleep exhausted
    after a three-day drinking spree
    sprawled out on the grass,
    in vomit-covered
    dolce & gabbana.

    Then quietly
                                  so as not to wake them up
    he takes from one of them
    the charger for a nokia
    and returns
    to hell
    to his
    blonds.

    #437139

    Anonymous

    Zhadan was ordered to leave Belarus in February 2017. 

    Ukrainian poet and novelist Serhiy Zhadan was detained on Feb. 11 by Belarusian police and ordered to leave the country within three days in Minsk.

    The writer blamed the action on Russia, which in 2016 banned him “for involvement in terrorist activities.“Because Belarus and Kazakhstan follow common visa rules, the Russian ban automatically applies to Belarus and Kazakhstan,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

    Zhadan is a well-known Ukrainian author, whose work has been widely translated into English, German, Polish, Russian, French, and other languages. In his books, he often writes about inhabitants of eastern Ukraine, the territory where he came from. His native Luhansk is currently occupied by pro-Kremlin separatists.

    He was also an active supporter of the EuroMaidan Revolution that drove President Viktor Yanukovych from power. He was injured during a rally in the eastern city of Kharkiv in 2014.

    In Minsk, Zhadan visited a poetry festival, where he performed a day before detention on Feb. 10.

    Police officers detained Zhadan in his hotel room at night and took him to the police station, where Belarusian KGB agents checked his identity. He spent a night in jail.

    In the morning, Zhadan’s passport was stamped with an undated ban to enter Belarus. He plans to leave the country on Feb. 11, he said to Belarusian Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

    “The situation is slightly absurd. I’ve got a ban entry to Russia, but I don’t have plans to visit it until the end of the Ukrainian-Russian war. But the fact that it automatically applies to Belarus… is an unpleasant surprise,” he said.

    To reenter the territory of Belarus, he needs to apply to a Russian diplomatic mission to be removed from the banned list, he said. Zhadan has no intention to do so.

    The Embassy of Ukraine in Belarus has sent a note to the Foreign Ministry of Belarus in order to get an official explanation about the reasons for detention.

    #437140

    Anonymous
    Polish Poet Czeslaw Milosz. Czeslaw Milosz ranks among the most respected figures in twentieth-century Polish literature, as well as one of the most respected contemporary poets in the world: he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980. Born in Lithuania, where his parents moved temporarily to escape the political upheaval in their native Poland, as an adult, he left Poland due to the oppressive Communist regime that came to power following World War II and lived in the United States from 1960 until his death in 2004. Milosz’s poems, novels, essays, and other works are written in his native Polish and translated by the author and others into English.

    A Song on the End of the World

    TRANSLATED BY ANTHONY MILOSZ

    On the day the world ends 
    A bee circles a clover, 
    A fisherman mends a glimmering net. 
    Happy porpoises jump in the sea, 
    By the rainspout young sparrows are playing 
    And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be. 
              
    On the day the world ends 
    Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas, 
    A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn, 
    Vegetable peddlers shout in the street 
    And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island, 
    The voice of a violin lasts in the air 
    And leads into a starry night. 
    And those who expected lightning and thunder 
    Are disappointed. 
    And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps 
    Do not believe it is happening now. 
    As long as the sun and the moon are above, 
    As long as the bumblebee visits a rose, 
    As long as rosy infants are born 
    No one believes it is happening now. 
    Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet 
    Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy, 
    Repeats while he binds his tomatoes: 
    There will be no other end of the world, 
    There will be no other end of the world. 
    Warsaw, 1944

    #440371

    Anonymous

    I’ve been of late doing extensive reading about WW2 in the Soviet Union. I came across this poem I like.

    “Wait for me..”

    “Wait for me” is one of the best-known of all Russian poems. It was written by Konstantin Simonov in 1941, soon after Hitler’s invasion of Russia. In the summer of 1941, Simonov was 25 and (despite his aristocratic origins) already an increasingly successful Soviet poet and playwright. He was passionately in love with the young actress Valentina Serova. When Hitler struck, Simonov received immediate orders to proceed to the front as a war correspondent. Valentina saw him off at the station…

    The troop train took him westward – towards, as he thought, the frontier. But by that time the German blitzkrieg had actually penetrated far into Russia and the train never reached its destination. Within hours, Simonov was exposed to the brutal and chaotic realities of war: Valentina must have seemed a very long way away. .

    His subsequent poems will continue the story of a young man simultaneously exposed to all the dangers of war, of a passionate love-affair – and of sudden and dramatic national celebrity.

    to Valentina Serova

    Wait for me, and I’ll come back!
    Wait with all you’ve got!
    Wait, when dreary yellow rains
    Tell you, you should not.
    Wait when snow is falling fast,
    Wait when summer’s hot,
    Wait when yesterdays are past,
    Others are forgot.
    Wait, when from that far-off place,
    Letters don’t arrive.
    Wait, when those with whom you wait 
    Doubt if I’m alive.

    Wait for me, and I’ll come back!
    Wait in patience yet
    When they tell you off by heart
    That you should forget.
    Even when my dearest ones
    Say that I am lost,
    Even when my friends give up,
    Sit and count the cost,
    Drink a glass of bitter wine
    To the fallen friend –
    Wait! And do not drink with them!
    Wait until the end!

    Wait for me and I’ll come back, 
    Dodging every fate! 
    “What a bit of luck!” they’ll say, 
    Those that would not  wait. 
    They will never understand 
    How amidst the strife, 
    By your waiting for me, dear, 
    You had saved my life. 
    Only you and I will know 
    How you got me through. 
    Simply – you knew how to wait – 
    No one else but you.

    1941

    #442003

    Anonymous

    I see you’re all posting poems from WWII period, so here’s Krvava bajka (the bloody fairy tale). A poem by Desanka Maksimović about Kragujevac massacre in which Nazis and collaborators executed  ~3000 (right after the war records said 7000) men and boys of Kragujevac.

    Krvava bajka

    Bilo je to u nekoj zemlji seljaka
    na brdovitom Balkanu,
    umrla je mučeničkom smrću
    četa đaka
    u jednom danu.
     
    Iste su godine
    svi bili rođeni,
    isto su im tekli školski dani,
    na iste svečanosti
    zajedno su vođeni,
    od istih bolesti svi pelcovani,
    i svi umrli u istom danu.
     
    Bilo je to u nekoj zemlji seljaka
    na brdovitom Balkanu,
    umrla je mučeničkom smrću
    četa đaka
    u jednom danu.
     
    A pedeset i pet minuti
    pre smrtnog trena
    sedela je u đačkoj klupi
    četa malena
    i iste zadatke teške
    rešavala: koliko može
    putnik ako ide peške…
    i tako redom.

     

    Misli su im bile pune
    istih brojki
    i po sveskama u školskoj torbi
    besmislenih ležalo bezbroj
    petica i dvojki.
    Pregršt istih snova
    i istih tajni
    rodoljubivih i ljubavnih
    stiskali su u dnu džepova.
    I činilo se svakom
    da će dugo,
    da će vrlo dugo
    trčati ispod svoda plava
    dok sve zadatke na svetu
    ne posvršava.
     
    Bilo je to u nekoj zemlji seljaka
    na brdovitom Balkanu,
    umrla je junačkom smrću
    četa đaka
    u istom danu.
     
    Dečaka redovi celi
    uzeli se za ruke
    i sa školskog zadnjeg časa
    na streljanje pošli mirno
    kao da smrt nije ništa.
    Drugova redovi celi
    istog časa se uzneli
    do večnog boravišta.

    here’s English translation, first one I found

    The Bloody Fairy Tale

    It happened in a land of farmers on
    hilly Balkan 
    far, far away; 
    a troop of students 
    died martyred 
    on one single day. 

    They were all born 
    in the same year.
    For all of them, the school days were the same: 
    They were all taken 
    to the same festivals with cheer, 
    they were all vaccinated 
    until the last name, 
    and they all died on the same day. 

    It happened in a land of farmers on 
    hilly Balkan 
    far, far away; 
    a troop of students 
    died martyred 
    in one single day. 

    And only fifty-five minutes 
    prior the death moment, 
    a small troop of fidgets 
    sat beside their school desks 
    solving the same hard math quest: 
    “If a traveler goes by foot, 
    how much time he needs to rest…”
    and so on. 

    Their thoughts were filled 
    with same figures and tags 
    and there was a countless amount 
    of senseless As and Fs 
    in their notebooks and in their bags.
    They were squeezing 
    a whole bunch of secrets that mattered–
    either patriotic or a love letter– 
    on the bottom of their pockets. 
    And everyone of them supposed 
    that he would for a long time, 
    for a very, very long time 
    run under the blue sky– 
    until all math quests on the world 
    were done and gone by.

    It happened in a land of farmers on 
    hilly Balkan 
    far, far away; 
    a troop of students 
    died martyred 
    on the same day. 

    Whole rows of boys 
    took each other’s hands 
    and leaving the last school class 
    went to the execution quietly, 
    as the death was nothing but a smile.
    All friends in rows were, 
    at the same moment, 
    lifted up to the eternal domicile.

    #441989

    Anonymous

    now, I don’t have exactly favourite poet, nor do I spend great amount of time in search of poems, luckily people who wrote our school program choose several really good poets, so there’s Branko Miljković, probably the only one who’s poems I looked up. Mostly because of few verses from his poem “Poeziju će pisati svi” (Poetry will be written by everybody):
    Ko ne ume da sluša pesmu, slušaće oluju
    and
    Hoće li sloboda umeti da peva
    kao što su sužnji pevali o njoj
    these lyrics are in capital letters in the poem (As they are in the original)

    Everyone Will Write Poetry
    dream is an ancient and forgotten truth
    that no one can verify anymore
    foreign lands are singing now as sea and worries
    east is west from the west, false movement is the fastest
    now wisdom and birds of my forsaken disease are singing
    flower between ash and a smell
    those who refuse to survive love
    and lovers turning back time
    garden whose smells earth doesn’t recognize
    and soil that stays faithful to the fire
    because this world isn’t Sun’s only concern
    but one day
    where heart was Sun will stand
    and human speech will no longer have words
    which poem would deny
    Everyone will write poetry
    truth will exist in all the words
    in the places where poem is the most beautiful
    the one who started it first will retreat
    leaving poem to the others
    I accept the great thought of future poets:
    one unhappy man can not be a poet
    I accept the judgment of the singing crowd:
    THOSE WHO CAN NOT STAND THE SONG SHALL LISTEN TO THE STORM
    but:
    WILL FREEDOM ITSELF SING
    AS SLAVES HAVE SUNG OF IT
    #441971

    Anonymous

    The poem below was written by Adam Mickiewicz in Dresden in 1832. It is a description of defence of Warsaw during the November Uprising (against the Russians) in September 1831 by the crew of Redoubt 54 led by Julian Ordon. The text is based on the relation of an insurectionist, who was a friend to Mickiewicz. 

    The whole poem is longer, it’s a fragment, or rather various parts of the poem. People present in the video are mainly Youtubers and actors.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fNJiuEp3h8 

    Ordon’s Redoubt

    We were not told to shoot.
    – I walked up to the cannon,

    and looked at the field;
    two hundred guns thundered.

    Russian artillery ranks goes..
    straight, long, far like a sea shores.

    I saw their leader

    he ran, waved his sword,
    and like a bird one wing of his army swinged;

    Out from under the wing the squeezed infantry pours

    in a long black column as lava of mud, Showered with sparkles of bayonets.
    As vultures, black banners leads their regiments to death.

    It has already reached; like boa among columns it twists, 
    It burns with its chest, it tears with its teeth, with its breath it kills.

    The most horrid you can’t see, but recognize it by its sound, 
    By falling down of the dead, by the wounded groan loud; 
    When the column from the end to the end it drills, 
    It looks as if through the army’s middle walked the angel death.

    When Turks beyond the Balkans are threatened by your bronze, 
    When the Paris legation lick the feet of yours, – 

    Warsaw alone your power hurls abuse at, 
    Raises its hand on you and takes off the crown, 
    The crown of Kazimierz, Chrobry of your head, 
    Because you  have stolen it and with blood stained, son of Wasil.

    The air got full of dirt from the ground’s cracks,

    And there was no sight but the grenades flashes,
    and slowly smoke vanished,
    rain of dirt felt down.

    All like a dream disapeared.
    – Only black deformed clump of earth lies
    – A peacemaking grave.

    When people’s faith and freedom vanishes,
    When the land gets poured with despotism and mad pride
    as Ordon’s redoubt got poured by Muscovites –
    To punish tribe of victors poisoned with crimes,
    God will blast the land,
    as he blasted his redoubt.

    #441964

    Anonymous

    @GaiusCoriolanus awesome video and interpretation of the poem

    #441933

    Anonymous

    Oh, Gaius’ video reminds me of something I’ve posted before, but which I appreciate so much that I’ll post it here as well. Fittingly, it’s also made by Poles, namely the members of the Polish embassy here (or, if you prefer, here’s Epizod’s metal version):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K90wqDYApuI
    Members of the Polish embassy reciting Hristo Botev’s “Hadzhi Dimitar” for our Liberation Day in 2016. The poem was written by our famous revolutionary and poet Hristo Botev somewhen in the late 1860s-early 1870s, after the death of the voyvode Hadzhi Dimitar in a fight with the Turks in 1868.

    ХАДЖИ ДИМИТЪР
    Жив е той, жив е! Там на Балкана,
    потънал в кърви лежи и пъшка
    юнак с дълбока на гърди рана,
    юнак във младост и в сила мъжка.
     
    На една страна захвърлил пушка,
    на друга сабля на две строшена;
    очи темнеят, глава се люшка,
    уста проклинат цяла вселена!
     
    Лежи юнакът, а на небето
    слънцето спряно сърдито пече;
    жътварка пее нейде в полето,
    и кръвта още по–силно тече!
     
    Жътва е сега… Пейте, робини,
    тез тъжни песни! Грей и ти, слънце,
    в таз робска земя! Ще да загине
    и тоя юнак… Но млъкни, сърце!
     
    Тоз, който падне в бой за свобода,
    той не умира: него жалеят
    земя и небе, звяр и природа
    и певци песни за него пеят…
     
    Денем му сянка пази орлица,
    и вълк му кротко раната ближи;
    над него сокол, юнашка птица,
    и тя се за брат, за юнак грижи!
     
    Настане вечер – месец изгрее,
    звезди обсипят сводът небесен;
    гора зашуми, вятър повее, –
    Балканът пее хайдушка песен!
     
    И самодиви в бяла премена,
    чудни, прекрасни, песен поемнат, –
    тихо нагазят трева зелена
    и при юнакът дойдат, та седнат.
     
    Една му с билки раната върже,
    друга го пръсне с вода студена,
    третя го в уста целуне бърже, –
    и той я гледа, – мила, зесмена!
     
    “Кажи ми, сестро де – Караджата?
    Де е и мойта вярна дружина?
    Кажи ми, пък ми вземи душата, –
    аз искам, сестро, тук да загина!”
     
    И плеснат с ръце, па се прегърнат,
    и с песни хвръкнат те в небесата, –
    летят и пеят, дорде осъмнат,
    и търсят духът на Караджата…
     
    Но съмна вече! И на Балкана
    юнакът лежи, кръвта му тече, –
    вълкът му ближе лютата рана,
    и слънцето пак пече ли – пече!

    HADZHI DIMITAR
    He’s alive, he’s alive! There on the Balkan Mountain
    Drowning in his blood, groaning
    A hero lies with a deep wound in his chest
    A hero in his youth, in his prime.
     
    His rifle’s cast to one side
    His broken sword the other;
    His eyes dim – his head reels
    As his mouth curses the universe!
     
    The hero lies, while in the sky
    The angry sun bakes down;
    A harvest girl sings in far-off field
    And his blood flows more quickly now!
     
    It’s harvest time … so sing, you slave girls
    Sing your sad songs! And you, sun –
    Shine on that slavish land! This hero
    Will perish too … but be quiet, my heart!
     
    He who falls in freedom’s fight
    Dies not – he’s mourned
    By earth and sky, Nature and beast,
    And singers remember him in song…
     
    By day a mother eagle lends him shade
    And a wolf meekly licks his wound,
    While on high a falcon – heroic bird –
    Keeps watch over her brother hero!
     
    Evening comes – the moon rises
    Stars flood the vaulted sky;
    The woods rustle, the wind blows –
    The Balkan sings a hajdut song!
     
    And wood nymphs in white array
    Lovely, beautiful, take up the song –
    Softly treading the verdant grass
    ‘Til they reach the hero and sit down.
     
    One binds his wound with herbs
    Another splashes him with water
    A third hastens to kiss his mouth
    As he gazes at her – lovely, smiling.
     
    “Tell me, sister, where is – Karadzha?
    And where is my loyal band?
    Tell me – then take my soul –
    I want to die here, sister!”
     
    They clap their hands, then embrace
    And soar into the heavens, singing;
    They fly and sing until the dawn
    Seeking the spirit of Karadzha…
     
    But it’s already dawn! And on the Balkan
    The hero lies, his blood flowing –
    While the wolf licks his vicious wound,
    And the sun bakes on … and on!

    Polish accent sounds really cute, btw.

    Likewise, the embassy did a similar thing for this year’s Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slavonic Literacy day, with recitations of Stoyah Mihailovsky’s poem “Cyril and Methodius” (an anthem of our education and of the holiday itself), Ivan Vazov’s “The Bulgarian language”, Petko Slaveykov’s “Fatherland”, Peyo Yavorov’s “Homeland”, Ran Bosilek’s “Native speech” and Paisiy Hilendarski’s “Slavo-Bulgarian history”.

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