Birds beat their wings
Against the morning still.
A solitary voice.
A solitary star.
Yesterday's footprints
Not yet erased,
An evening without the cradle song.
Yesterday's faces
Still in the mirror.
Rachel is asleep,
Still no hole in her forehead.
A solitary call.
The star is gone,
The birds observe the earth
Down from the frigid sky.
Foot-shuffle. Uproar. A screech. Then clatter.
Here they walk
over cold, hard cobblestones,
thousands of people
walk between hard, merciless walls,
bearing along
Rachel, still without a hole in her forehead,
here it is, the forehead, a child's forehead
without a hole,
they carry her toward the machine guns.
Foot-shuffle. Clatter. A screech. Uproar.
From the sky
birds look down
at the earth.



Cranes over Babyn Yar -
September is in grief.
Cranes over Babyn Yar -
What is left of hope.
Black shadows in heavy silence,
In solitude
The cranes fly above the autumn, above the day, the night,
Cranes' bodies
Carry the unattainable on every wing
and disappear in the fog.
Over Babyn Yar the cranes are aflight,
these September tears.

Kyiv, 1974

(translated from Ukrainian by Roman Turovsky-Savchuk, 12/29/2006)




"Herr: es ist Zeit."

Rainer Maria Rilke



...thunders, atrocities, charred houses, and stampedes.

The time has come, Lord: a moment of twilight prayer,
weightless winds shall touch the bodies,
and torrents shall flog the shoulders clad in rags,
a whisper: "... I shall see the Temple"
(, a loaf of bread, a table set for supper...),
a thought: "...light shall burst forth through the fog",
the time has come: silent snowfall, the manna from beyond,
is buried in the fissured plain,
the time has come, Lord: yonder- avaricious hordes,
the time has come, Lord: yonder- white silence, altared,
and gifted to the blood-soaked sand.


Kyiv, March 9, 2008


Tranlated by Roman Turovsky-Savchuk,

New York, March 9, 2008




When we were still immortal,
By the warm waters in June, when
We practiced scales on violins,
At the dawn's first light,
And we knew no calendar,
There, beyond the snows of March,
Beyond the downpours, smoldered
Ravenna, inviolate and blessed,
Jerusalem was all sparkles,
The River flowed out of Lord's hand,
Our City shone, enthroned,
And a star knelt in confession to a bee.


12/15/96 Altenerding

Tranlated by Roman Turovsky-Savchuk,

New York, April 4, 2008




…and the black raven sat on black,
there were no houses, no orchards,
and the raven’s eye, black and unseeing,
recalled the houses and the orchards,
and the instant of his arrival,
when the scorcher touched upon his eyes.
On his black crag the raven crows,
As ashes cover up footprints.
Sit here, lost one, sit
And crow, crow, blinded one,
As if you could raise them from the dead, you, beggar, —
Burnt houses, burnt orchards…

February 21-22, 1995, München




Out of the tongue of bees into the source's tongue
I render words at Eastertide.
A blue shadow wades toward the horizon,
in the warm and shallow floodwaters of spring,
into the windbroken brier, willows,
A blue shadow, a humble supplicant,
wades where dreams of shining celestial crests
are plentiful just before the break of dawn,
and I shall wade likewise
in today's warm and shallow floodwaters,
rendering the words of the Lord
Out of the tongue of bees into the source's tongue.

November 11, 2010, Kyiv