By Źmicier Zacharevič
Translation: Hanna Komar, John Farndon
TO MICHAIŁ ŽYZNIEŬSKI*
The one who fights
Does not die, no…
There’s a bullet in the heart
And thick blood flows
Down and over
The cold white snow.
The soul is free –
The body grows stiff.
Not in a foreign land,
Nor by the market –
Among the fires
Where the smoke is dark,
Nor in a sleepy silence –
Battle burns everywhere
And a duck is swimming to
Warmer climes on the Tysa.
Don’t cry for your son –
With the music of the surma,
Among my brothers sworn,
On the barricade
Of light and truth,
I am in the vanguard
Of the heavenly guard.
We have not fallen asleep
Beneath some distant sky –
THE ONE WHO FIGHTS
DOES NOT DIE!
*Michaił Žyźnieŭski is a Belarusian who, on 22nd January, 2014, was one of the first to die on the Maidan in Kyiv during the Revolution of Dignity, and so is named as one of the Heros of the Heavenly Hundred, Hero of Ukraine. „A duck is swimming on the Tysa“ is a Ukrainian folk song, Michaił ’s favourite song.
THE HEROES OF THE ENDLESS WAR
Thyme smells rank by the rotten cross of the Fatherland
Where still in my dreams ‘extremist’ hopes survive,
And that’s why every night, I see them in their bands –
Heroes of liberation’s endless war as if they were alive.
I hear their voices ripple through the darkness everywhere:
On the suffering earth, they say, we cannot now be seen,
But we have not abandoned the human world to its despair –
We’re here in prayers and poems as we’ve always been.
Unbroken, we still stand, guarding timeless shrines,
In the grey fog of doubt, our hearts’ fire burns high,
In stark reproach from our ancestors to the traitorous whose lines
Go prudently with the flow of seductive, mindless lies.
For in Škłoŭ prison and on Lukiškės Square,
With the rebels in Maidan and those in Donbas stand,
No matter what the enemy do, these Heroes will be there
Living always in the loveliness of the undefeated land!
*on 22nd March, 1864, Kastuś Kalinoŭski was hanged on Lukiškės Square in Vilnius;
**on 21st May, 2021, a political prisoner Vitol Ašurak died of beatings in Škłoŭ Correctional Colony No. 17.