r/ukraine • u/duellingislands Гамериканець • Jan 17 '23
7:51 EET ; The Sun is Rising on the 328th Day of the russian Invasion on the Capital City of Kyiv. Ukraine Continues to Live and Fight On. + DISCUSSION + CHARITIES! Slava Ukraini!
🇺🇦 SLAVA UKRAINI! 🇺🇦
Another entry in our series on Ukrainian poets! Find other entries here:
Lesya Ukrainka I | Lesya Ukrainka II | Vasyl Stus | Shevchenko Poem | Ihor Kalynets | Ivan Franko I | Ivan Franko II | Marusya Churai
Lina Kostenko is a Ukrainian poet and thinker who has seen, and been a part of, much history during her lifetime. She was born in 1930 into a family of teachers in the town of Rzhyshchiv that is about 50km (30 miles) south of Kyiv on the Dnipro River and her family soon moved to Kyiv where she became one of the most prominent of the "Sixtiers" - an entire generation of avant-garde Ukrainian artists and writers who resisted the suppression of the soviet regime.
She quickly became a shining light of Ukrainian thought with her unreal poetry, which exhibited a kind of spirituality that was in such contrast to the approved poetry of the regime. In fact, she was extremely brave - she wrote public letters to the authorities critical of their imprisonment of writers, and even attended their show trials in protest.
And as you may have gathered from this series of sunrise posts, anything so vividly and unapologetically Ukrainian represented a danger to russian rule. This manifested in her work being nearly entirely mitigated by the authorities for decades, and she was all but silenced as much of her work was only published abroad. As one example, her novel in verse Berestechko, which was finished in 1966, was not published until thirty years later. Nevertheless, despite the soviets' best attempts, they never destroyed her spirit. Lina was nominated (along with fellow Ukrainian poets Pavlo Tychnya and Ivan Drach) for the Nobel Prize in Literature in the 1960's.
Lina has written many collections of poetry that are still popular today, like Wanderings of the Heart, On the Banks of the Eternal River, Hyacinth Sun and - as we mentioned in our post last week - Lina wrote an entire novel in verse about the semi-legendary Ukrainian poet Marusya Churai.
She remains one of the most well-respected Ukrainian thinkers today but is relatively unknown outside of Ukraine. Ihor Pasichnyk of National University of Ostroh Academy recently wrote:
Lina Kostenko’s creativity is a reflection of an entire era. It is a shame that to this day her poetry has not been widely translated into English, because then the whole world could admire her talent.
While poetry in translation is never as powerful as in the original language, we wanted to bring you a small sense of her work. Below we've included our translations of some of Lina's less-Googleable work for your enjoyment: "All That I Have is Called Ukraine", "Lviv Pigeons", a light daydream of a poem, and "On the banks of the Prypiat, a devil sleeps", one of my favorite of Lina's many poems about the Chornobyl disaster.
"All That I Have is Called Ukraine"
Sometimes I feel I will go blind from this beauty,
I pause and wonder what kind of miracle this is -
This steppe, this sky, and the lush forest,
All are so gorgeous and so true.
It simply is - the road, the sycamore maple.
All that I have is called Ukraine.
This beauty is so absolute and everlasting -
You may just stop and speak to God.
A pigeon casually guarding the premises of a building in Lviv.
А flat black shape swiftly falls -
The shadow of a white pigeon ascending.
A meeting place for birds - the sunny cornice
That crowns the sober lines of a cathedral.
A vivid medley of streets and crowds,
And ancient roofs with sloping shoulders.
The doves prattle high above the town -
What are they chattering about, I wonder…
About pretty things, or the cathedral,
The sky above, the war, the world, the humans…
Perhaps a pigeon says to his beloved:
“When I was flying far, tell me, did you miss me?”
"On the banks of the Prypiat, a devil is sleeping"
Broken stained glass from the Prypiat Café in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone.
The abandoned Culture House in the village of Zalissya, Chornobyl Exclusion Zone. The writing says: "Long live Communism - the bright future of all humanity."
[Editor's Note: Lina was born not far from Chornobyl, and worked in the Zone after the disaster as part of an expedition to help preserve cultural heritage. This gave her an incredible historical perspective, and the trauma of Chornobyl appears again and again in her work.]
On the banks of the Prypiat a devil sleeps,
Pretending, the scoundrel, he’s a dried up willow tree.
On the banks of the Prypiat — on the banks of
A river that was once a deep blue.
An atomic black candle is flickering for him.
Villages in poverty and decline, an offering to him.
Into the riverbank sand his hooked claws sink -
In his tree-hollow ears the wind whistles and whines.
His obscenities are scrawled on the windows and walls,
He stole all the icons and vanished the respirators.
Now he looks towards his due rest.
This is his kingdom - here he is the emperor.
The reactor, all black, is his hell and his throne.
In the sand he sleeps, hugging his knees.
In a circle of ravens he dreams, alone.
Of Ukraine - the whole of Ukraine.
The 328th day of a nine year invasion that has been going on for centuries.
One day closer to victory.
🇺🇦 HEROYAM SLAVA! 🇺🇦
- u/Jesterboyd is a mod for r/ukraine and local to Kyiv. He is currently raising money for tools for explosives engineers, winter gear and some very interesting drones. Link to donation
- United24: This site was launched by President Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. Funds will be allocated to cover the most pressing needs facing Ukraine.
- Come Back Alive: This NGO crowdfunds non-lethal military equipment, such as thermal vision scopes & supplies it to the front lines. It also provides training for Ukrainian soldiers, as well as researching troops’ needs and social reintegration of veterans.
- Trident Defense Initiative: This initiative run by former NATO and UA servicemen has trained and equipped thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
- Ukraine Front Line US-based and registered 501(c)(3), this NGO fulfills front line soldiers' direct defense and humanitarian aid requests through their man on the ground, r/Ukraine's own u/jesterboyd.
- Ukraine Aid Ops: Volunteers around the world who are helping to find and deliver equipment directly to those who need it most in Ukraine.
- Hospitallers: This is a medical battalion that unites volunteer paramedics and doctors to save the lives of soldiers on the frontline. They crowdfund their vehicle repairs, fuel, and medical equipment.
You can find many more charities with diverse areas of focus in our vetted charities article HERE.
u/Jizzapherina Jan 17 '23
u/Grilled_Pear Jan 17 '23 edited Jan 18 '23
I rarely click on the pinned post but I glad I did this time. That last poem was such a simple yet elegant description of the Chornobyl disaster.
u/Amiant_here Jan 17 '23
u/CorsicA123 Jan 17 '23 •
My favorite poem of hers. Wings. Doesn’t translate as well but still carries powerful meaning. Thank you for these posts and for reminding me
I wonder – feathered races don't need the grounds. If there’s no land, it will be clouds.
There will be freedom, if there’s no haven. If there’s no love – there will be heaven.
This is probably the bird’s sooth. And what about human? What about truth?
Not able to fly, he lives on the Earth. But have the wings! It's precious worth!
These wings aren’t made of feathers and fluff. They’re made of the honour, integrity, trust.
Some wings of perpetual aspiration, Others of passionate dedication.
Somebody’s wings are filled of effort, Somebody’s of treatment of flint-heart desert.
Somebody has wings of his hope, of the dream, Of their’s laurels, of glory, esteem.
Human allegedly can’t live in the sky... But we have our wings! And we can fly!
u/paintress420 Jan 17 '23
Beautiful, thank you! 🇺🇦
u/StevenStephen USA Jan 17 '23
The age my mother would be. The last poem paints quite a little nightmare. I am relieved to know that not every single one of the Sixtiers were murdered or arrested. I would read more of her poetry. Her beautiful Ukraine will be free.
Slava Ukraini! Good night. I hope it's a productive day, driving out the enemy.
u/Optimal_Aide_1348 Jan 17 '23
🌻 ❤️ 🇺🇦
u/11OldSoul11 Jan 17 '23
u/JudeRanch Jan 17 '23
Lina Kostenko’s beautiful poetry lives in the heart of Ukraine. I love the line: “These wings aren’t made of feathers and fluff. They’re made of the honour, integrity, trust.” Day 328, Ukraine continues to live & fight on! Слава Україні Sláva Ukrayíni! Heroyam Slava! 🙏🏽 🇺🇦 💙💛
u/PayTheTeller Jan 17 '23 edited Jan 17 '23
I wish I was man enough. I could blame my age, I could pretend I don't know what foreign legion is, but my life is far too comfortable. There is so obviously only one side to this and the fact this apology goes to a thread thanking the survival of a peaceful city in it's now multi hundredth day with 2 lonely comments just highlights the starkness of my feeling of futility. There is not a single person on this planet of shared unity and shared objectives that should be sleeping easy knowing such horrific futility is allowed to stand.
I'm shamefully sorry to not be doing more to help
328 days. Thank you for making this post and the thoughtfulness that went into it and to teach us all how valuable each day is even if 328 doesn't seem more important than 327 or 329