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понеділок, 2 листопада 2009 р.

Yuri Andrukhovych: "Centuries Whispering"

Franz-Joseph arrives in Lviv, 1880

For a couple of years ago the American bi-annual journal of poetry in translation Circumference published my translation of Yuri Andrukhovych's poem "Centuries Whispering" (Нашіптування з віків) from his book of poetry Exotic Birds and Plants (1997). In my Word file with the translation I now find my old note: "The first phrase it all began with read “the dead man in Sarajevo” which I translated while attending my colleague Ovid Honcharyuk’s seminar [I studied international relations then--L.H.]. The phrase just floated up, in Ukrainian I guess, and then I translated it into English. Then I sat down 18.04.05 and made a translation of the poem."

P.S. Andrukhovych's essay about Lviv "The City-Ship" (Місто-корабель) is now available in Swedish as Stadsskeppet.

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YURI ANDRUKHOVYCH

CENTURIES WHISPERING


“One evening in 1885 Franz-Joseph visited again the Castle Hill, the local gentry received him in a coffee house, from a coffee house balcony the king could view the illumination of Lviv in his honour.”

I.Krypiakevych, Historical Wanderings Through Lviv


My king, praise to youthe nation is so happy

you set your foot on our sand this evening.

The clear illumination blows like a celestial shrub,

you have silver spurs. You look from the hill.


Smoke from the flare pistols stings our eyeswe’re deeply moved!

The master of ceremonies’ neck sweats profusely.

We’re ready to die, like a whole nation on the move,

both knackers and local policemen shed tears.


(Our province became like an orchard. The sky’s bottom

was shelled with petards and bombs for more beauty.

Orchestras roared devotedly with trombones and thromboses.

Whores washed negligees and powdered their noses.)


The illumination! The orchestra! We yell and play,

a king’s lot’s like a sphinx, and what’ll it send?

a plague, a fire, or a war, a dead man in Sarajevo,

so rejoice, king, while you’re still a child!


You still have your white horse and your hat with feathers,

your stronghold of power’s like a nut, your boundless empire,

you hang someone secretly, you deceive with papers,

and where’s that twentieth century when you die?


Translated by Lev Hrytsyuk

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