Two Poems


The sea. The night. The voice of a dolphin.
A nameless star trembles,
Your body, smooth and resonant as a bell,
Diminishes the darkness. 

We respire salt
Through our veins.
The heart would grow wings,
Our heart that is one,

Leaving traces of smudged light
On the sea, the dark
Where you are the muse 
And I am only music.

We are crucified 
On the waves and resurrected,
Supple as some viscous honey.
And so the tide lifts us

On a summit
Of foam,
The life
That happens out of the sea,

Its expanse our boundless


Море. Ніч. І дельфіна голос.
Безіменна зоря тремтить.
Твоє тіло – дзвінке і голе
Заперечення темноти.

Органічне, органне в жилах,
Солоніють видох і вдих.
На серцях виростали б крила,
Але ж серце наше з води.

Ми на морі сліди лишаєм.
Я – муз-чина і муза – ти.
Розпинаєм і воскрешаєм
Наше тіло, як мед густий.

Отако… отако… і вище…
Хвиля піниться й нас несе.

Ми – Життя!
Ми із моря вийшли.

Біля моря нам можна все.

Wolf Berries

Village in soft, raspberry tinged light,
The river,
A church with flowers and candles.
A deep intrinsic dark
And oblivion...
The girl in jeans looks in her grandmother's
Compact mirror with tender eyes.

In the mill the owls are silent,
And the mill's workings squeal inside me,
This epoch stuck in my teeth like meat.
Forests surround the village
And faces, one of them mine,
Surround the forest.

I am tired of loving the world,
You cannot please everyone ...
For all that you have covered with the asphalt of verse,
For it eludes you like a wolf cub,
And I still turn myself to nature,
Wounding my being, saddling my horse.

As a violin which spasms, yearning to have its roots again,
To be a tree, to know blossom and fruit
Rather than only song. 
The autumn comes quickly, through the soil
The human soul.

You need honour money,
You should be a stout peasant,
Quaffing horns of drink,
What of these stars, these ages,
The beauty of butterflies?

I helped someone,
I failed to protect someone,

These people, these doves,
These wolf berries and,
Respiring over them,
A green ocean.
The villages are different now,
The wolves range like devils in the forest.

The girl in jeans fades and becomes transparent,

Her hair,

The river,

Someone binds sheaves of wheat by the water.

Вовчі Ягоди

малинове село.
Старенька церква.
Букетики свічок.
І тьма.
І забуття.
Тут джинсове дівча
В бабусинім люстерку
Із ніжністю в очах.

Сова мовчить в млині,
А млин в мені кигиче.
Епоха у зубах, як м'ясо, застряє.
Кругом села ліси.
Кругом лісів обличчя.
Одне із них моє.

Втомлюсь любити світ.
Всім все одно ж не вгодиш...
Прикрив асфальтом вірш,
Бо він, як вовченя. 
А я ще повернусь до себе, до природи,
Себе поранивши, розхриставши коня,

Мов скрипка, що до спазм знов хоче мати корінь
І деревом рости, і знати цвіт, і плід...
А так - лише пісні...
І осінь, осінь скоро...
Усе, як у людей, усе - як на Землі.

І треба мати честь.
І добре мати гроші.
І справжнім мужиком...
І вміти пити ріг.
Ці зорі, ці віки, метелики хороші...

Комусь я допоміг.
Когось я не зберіг.

Ці люди й голуби...
Вже вовчих ягід - море...
Вже села не такі.
Вовків чортма в лісах.

А джинсове дівча
Прозоріє, прозоріє...
Тече його коса.

Я ще косар, коса...

IHOR PAVLYUK was born in the Volyn region of Ukraine in January 1967 and studied at the St. Petersburg Military University, which he left in order to pursue his career as a writer. He was, as a result, sentenced to a period of hard labour in the Taiga but continued to write as best he could, driven by a nostalgia for his Ukrainian homeland, until he was liberated by the fall of the Soviet Union. His work is marked by a simplicity of diction and emotional honesty. Translations of his poetry have appeared in Acumen, the Apple Valley Review, Barnwood and Zaporogue.

STEVE KOMARNYCKYJ is a British Ukrainian writer and linguist who has lived and worked for most of his life in his native Yorkshire while maintaining strong links with Ukraine. His literary translations and poems have appeared in Poetry Salzburg Review, Vsesvit magazine (Ukraine's most influential literary journal), The North, the Echo Room, and Modern Poetry in Translation. His book of selected translations from the Ukrainian poet Pavlo Tychyna was published by Poetry Salzburg in 2012 and a selection of his own poems is being published with the work of two other authors in the first edition of Fjords journal's 3x3 series. A first collection of his own poetry will be published in 2013 and he is the featured poet in the current issue of Envoi, an influential poetry journal in the United Kingdom. 

The Adirondack Review