MYKOLA BAZHAN
BABI YAR

 

Rust-colored cavity, green clay,
rotting garbage, moats.
In terror of itself the wind
enters the lungs, the wind
of rusted badlands.

Do not pale, nor shrink, 
nor shudder - Stand as if 
facing judgement!
Upright- like a warrior- stand!
There is no oath sufficient to swear,
There is no curse sufficient to lay.

Just a ravine, ragged and unkempt,
The trembling branches of two pale aspens.
This is not silence! This - the
Ceaseless scream of a hundred thousand hearts,
the dying wail of all hope lost.
Silver ashes of burnt bones.

A cracked shard of cranial bone.
The walls of the ravine crumble.
Two golden braids аslither from а hole,
no rot, no hiding for the golden curls.
In the moist sludge between steep walls
the glimmer of а pair of crushed reading glasses,
A child's bloodied shoe decaying  on its side.

A terrifying mark of a hundred thousand putrefactions;
The gley is fat with trampled shards of man.
This is the place of scarlet fires,
This is the place of brooks of tar,
of colliers picking apart the corpses
In search of gemstones and gold.

Heavy, oppressive, insufferable smoke
floats over the noxious ravine.
It breathes death, breathes nightmare,
a deaf monster crawling through the streets
and creeping into houses.

Black and scarlet flames wander
along the land that lost its speech in horror,
the bloody hues reflect on Kiev's soiled roofs
the bloody hues reflect on Kiev's soiled spires.
The city folk is watching from its sorry hovels
how beyond the monastery domes,
beyond the graveyard poplars
burns human flesh and blood.
Another gravely gust from the ravine  -
the soot of pyres of death 
the fumes of burning flesh.

And Kiev's ired face is gazing 
at Babi Yar writhing in flames.
There is no remorse to quell this fire,
No measure set for retribution still.
Be cursed the one who dares forget!
Be cursed the one who asks forgiveness!


Translated from the Ukrainian, by Roman Turovsky

 

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Copyright 2018, by Roman Turovsky