By Marianna Kijanowska
Translation: John Farndon


each love
each love has its own love
each has its air
that it may breathe or not
I know only
that we are together
breath, love and me
or not…
I am the air of love

this is what I know
soul is the measure of the world
shoes to walk between the stars
stars that let you see
on days without stars
sight is powerless, starless

I was born in the North of the South of the West of the East
everywhere the war takes away all the words
from me and from them

under the stars, the forests are black with grief and rage
where trees of the past and now live in immortal age
and people, like people everywhere, are sad and angry
sad and angry like the immortal forest trees
even in cities, and at the beginning of the end and at Sinai
where all began, the bush was unburned and nothing passes by
where Moses made beginning and his tablets everlasted
In the beginning, we raged at everything and blasted
At first we raged, then we grew numb before we could shout
But oh yes we will finish all we promised when we started out
Unseen by us nests of stars and birds are shining
And between them flashes bare white lightning
Turning black with grief and rage; through forests walking
The angry celestial roots preach to earthlings
They speak to people with anger, these roots give their oration
the ending has begun in a fire of transformation
the immortal trees of past and now live on through
we, we angry people, are everywhere immortals too
not by steel, nor those who took up weapons will we be beaten
beyond the mountain, water beyond water, mountain beyond mountain
where there is a beginning, there is our Dnieper, we are Ukraine and power
under the constellations of the forest angry people and wings there are
we are angry people, angry in our love, be warned
we’re black cherries that grief has given thorns

explosions of the heart

the hair is still alive and moving
it could have already died, but not this way
it prefers to die all at once
Wednesday in the middle of the road
in the middle of a train
in the middle of the year (six months of the war)
Wednesday in the middle of a calendar date in a pocket
it sucks the sap from all the trees, and they
are withered, bloody
the wind blows – the hair dries – and subsides
lying on its body
still stroking the torn-off hand,
becoming numb and black and crying

the ferry is close to the heart
a little to the right
by the street of the spine
it will lead you straight up, to the mountain,
to the dead end under the skull
snow is forecast for tomorrow
so much snow that not only people take trams
but advent angels, too
someone’s angel is already sick, old,
with a fever and chills,
but the snow will outweigh everything
it will snow between passengers
translucently, rapidly and loudly,
like a sound echoing from childhood,
the ferryman is not here, but near the shore, not far from the heart
he will take either half from the angel
or its entire bare shell
(although, maybe, the shell is not whole)
from that time and that sound and memory
and from childhood on the road
he will glide to the Star over Bethlehem
where dense snowflakes suddenly fall upwards
where Jupiter Saturn dandelions butterflies are
where salvations are
covered in pain.

blood with milk from someone else’s experience
milk with blood from a warm udder
from someone else’s experience
handfuls almost of milky snow
someone created
the days of spring in the eyes of this night
yin and yang glitter and are tattooed
artificial lights of crematoria
Mariupol’s warm udder is frightful
miserable, dry and empty

minutes vanish, sounds dissolve into scents
randomly flashing in my head fractions of seconds pass
I sit on the bed and look up, while my hands are rent
and bloodied and black on the ground – in the cold grass
the world opens to blood – chthonic, nocturnal, from an evil land
and in reality the heavy cannonade roars and blats
“don’t kill,” breaks in the mouse in my hand
there is no house, not a person, not even a cat
the horizon skims the globe, but we are no longer Dulibs
now “don’t kill” means “don’t be afraid” – so, beat and kill the enemy…
in the depths of darkness somewhere in Mariupol, as if
in invisible nests there are pigeons cooing balefully
in summer no women, toddlers, children will come here
innocents are killed by bombs, starved to death, break
minutes are lost, blown to smithereens of fear
pain cries for revenge and the whole world shakes.

a burned bee’s like someone searching for a home, searching
where there is no home, just ruins among other ruins
I am crying, so I exist because crying precedes everything
a baby’s crying, crying and alive for living Ukraine
summer begins, and uncut meadows cry to be mown
voices of murdered children cry for retribution
I am mute, I am silent, I’m asking and keep asking alone
save, Merciful Mother, please save my happy nation
somewhere, a garden was burned and a spring became a grave
sweet waters poisoned and rich fields of rye destroyed
save, Mother of God, I pray to You as I did, save
save the human heart, now O Pure Holy Joy,
give to all mourners through death and groans and pain
the secret of good intercession over and over again
let the greatest salvation come to my Ukraine
give Your Protection, and victory
give, Mother, love to Ukraine
let children be born in a new land and free
let this war go away, let despair and fear depart
give us Joy, Most Pure, lest we forget how to be happy
let us remember and lose the poison in our hearts
life’s not just a war, nor cruel slaughter alone
a new time is breaking, and like every edge it burns
save, All-merciful, so that victory may come
to us this war seems incurable yet will pass in its turn