* * *
Reading signs in the leaves, reading signs in the grass,
Reading signs in the footsteps where lovers have passed,
Reading signs in the eyes of our madness,
Setting loose irresistible magnets.
In the darkening stream of the wavering trails,
We meander like fish with our fluttering tails,
Slowly reaching for sunshine, sending tremulous signs,
While the darkness, of which we are witnesses, sighs…
Translated from Ukrainian by Iryna Shuvalova
* * *
There’s no need to hide, to run
in roundabout ways to the suburbs,
as the cities have the lips of babes
that tell the truth.
Now you’re Virgil, unrestrained
by desires and warnings.
When necessary, you proffer rhymes
and watch twice as carefully.
When you look into the yard,
searching for what you lost,
trees break their branches
and water drips from drain pipes.
Guessing is tiring and it’s depressing
to touch closed gates:
They’re an illicit confession,
and you’re illicit as well.
Translated from Ukrainian by Alexander Motyl, with Vasyl Makhno
From spring to spring, rocking the cradle,
You get to know your children, say goodbye to your parents
Meanwhile take note of the sun shining within twilight
So that with renewed vigor your spirit may bloom.
It’s beyond compare! Lovingly describe
Paths, poetry, lines on lost lips;
The strength in your hands while grabbing an apple or a trout
And then, with seductive intent, attempt…
English translation by Pina Piccolo from the Spanish translation by Amelia Serraller .
It’s been over half a year now
that Polina, Elizaveta and Ustinia
No longer have to wait for Lidochka on the chalky hills.
I recorded her voice live on a dictaphone
and now I can’t find the strength to listen to her,
although within I am protected
by a someone fond of the positive
in not having to rack your brains
trying to transport a bedridden patient
in the event of moscow attacking and the need to escape.
That numb being still listens
for the moan hovering from time to time
in the next room those past two and a half years.
Your experience of being a daughter is over.
What will this someone’s fate be?
Italian translation by Pina Piccolo from the Spanish translation by Angela Espinosa Rui.
Natalia Beltchenko is a poet and translator. Born in Kiev, she was awarded the Hubert Burda Prize (Germany, 2000) and the Mykola Ushakov Prize for Literature of the National Union of Writers of Ukraine (Ukraine, 2006). Finalist of the Ghennady Grigoriev Prize (Russia, 2013), winner of the prize “Planet of the poet” by L. Vysheslavsky (Ukraine, 2014). Her works include eight poetry collections and numerous selections in magazines and anthological publications, both in Ukraine and abroad (in English, German, French, Polish, Korean, Dutch, Bulgarian, etc.). She is also very actively engaged as a translator, has been awarded numerous international residencies and is frequently invited to hold workshops on her craft.
Cover art: “Delta”, Beppino Bosa.