A footnote in history

A footnote in history

By Iryna Lapchuk
Translation: Hanna Komar, John Farndon


Through our struggle underground, we were invisible, unknown,
And in Stalin’s torture chambers, we kept our mouths shut, all alone.
Through pain and persecution, like sacred things apart,
We bore loyalty to Ukraine ever strong within our hearts.

We grew old and turned quite grey in our cruel captivity,
Yet we held on firm to hope – in the wide world’s liberty.
Our native Land filled our thoughts – we waited for news still,
And tempered the iron in our Spirits, and the iron in our Will.

Smiling from your TV screens would never be our destiny,
Our braids were torn by torturers as we endured captivity.
Yes, we are just a footnote in our people’s history,
Victims of lies and deception, and fascism’s bleak cruelty.

Our tormented lives went by – and soon we will be gone,
A new proud people now will write our history down!
If we were remembered somehow, it’d be good maybe:
We who in the nineteen forties died for Liberty.

Baptised with drops of blood, our independent Ukraine!
Warm our old age, Mama; write us in your History again.
I believe! – our grandchildren’s hearts will flame up in ardour
and cry out loud for revenge on the devil’s executioners.

Yet the years pass, the struggle’s going on,
And a gray-haired father is still teaching his son:
Oh my dear son, save Ukraine forever!
Use your strength to the utmost, always, to preserve her.