I knew: the world was hiding from me,
behind all things another thing hides
and snaps at my heels. All the while
it refuses to show me its true face,
because the trust and friendship between
man and the world have now been lost.
Not for no reason do the smallest birds
recoil from me, or fish scatter
the moment they recognise a human shape,
or with their fragile beauty do flowers wish
to save themselves from me (the final
shred of hope that human beings
are not entirely beyond redemption). After all,
I thought, the harmony of worlds
has not bypassed humanity, instead
a certain distance has been established:
you belong to the world only thus far.
Version by John Lyons
Vasyl Stus (1938-1985), was a Ukrainian poet, translator, literary critic, journalist, and an active member of the Ukrainian dissident movement. For his political convictions, his works were banned by the Soviet regime and he spent 13 years in detention, until his death in a Soviet forced labor camp for political prisoners.
AROUND THE WORLD, EVERY CULTURAL VENUE AND SPACE CLOSING IT DOORS TO RUSSIAN PERFORMANCES SHOULD OFFER THEM TO UKRAINIAN CULTURE