Life’s More Enduring Than War

Life’s More Enduring Than War

When the water runs out,
light fades, frost falls, and the
firmament freezes over,
we won’t stoop to prose.

Тhe grasses, dry and stiff,
have not yet grown above us.
Until the words run out,
we’ll speak in verses

of those who are far and near,
and say that we’re one and loved,
above the Bug, the Vorksla, the Dnieper,
in Warsaw, Rome, and Prague.

When all the words run out,
in bird language, we’ll proclaim,
in one universal roll call
our homeland is alive.

Life’s more enduring than war,
long-lasting, sacrosanct.
We’re all her children, and while
she lives, we won’t be orphaned.

Жизнь долговечней, чем война

Когда закончится вода,
погаснет свет, падут морозы,
остынет твердь, но и тогда
мы не опустимся до прозы.

Еще не выросла трава
над нами, жесткая, сухая.
Пока не кончились слова,
мы будем говорить стихами

о тех, кто здесь и там, о том,
что мы едины и любимы
за Бугом, Ворсклой и Днепром,
Варшавой, Прагою и Римом.

Когда закончатся слова,
мы будем говорить по-птичьи,
о том, что родина жива,
в одной всемирной перекличке.

Жизнь долговечней, чем война,
прочней, и нет ее святее.
Мы дети, и пока она
жива, мы не осиротеем.

Translated from the Russian by Marina Eskina and Ian Ross Singleton.

Irina Ivanchenko is a prizewinning poet of international renown and a journalist. The author of six books of poetry in Russian, she also writes in Ukrainian and has numerous publications in international journals and anthologies. She lives in Kyiv but is now residing in Germany with her mother and daughter. She is a refugee of the current war.

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