The sun sets, coal-black mountains;
a bird, the fields fall silent.
People enjoy their relaxation but
I watch . . . and from my heart I fly
through dark forests to Ukraine.
I fly on and on, with the poem I make,
and it seems my soul is set free.
Night falls over the land, woods and hills
and stars appear in the still blue sky.
O stars! star after star—and tears
fall. Have you risen in Ukraine yet?
Do brown eyes seek you out
against the sky? Or fail to do so?
If they forgot or fell asleep, at least
they’ll not hear about my sorry life.
Version by John Lyons
Taras Shevchenko was born into serfdom in 1814. A political dissident, an artist, he is now considered the national poet of Ukraine. He died in St. Petersburg in 1861 and is buried by the Dnipro River in Kaniv, Ukraine.