Poetry Sunday: Love Ukraine by Volodymyr Sosiura

This poem by Ukrainian poet Volovymyr Sosiura was published in 1944 near the end of another war. As I went looking for a poem that might express my concern for that embattled country, I found this and it seemed perfect for the moment. Two lines in particular resonated with me:
For other races you’ll not love hereafter
Unless you love Ukraine and hold her high.

The message seems to be that one must love one's own country before one can love any other. But this week let us do whatever small act we can to "Love Ukraine."  

Love Ukraine

by Volodymyr Sosiura
(Translated by C.H. Andrusyshen and Watson Kirkconnell)

Love your Ukraine, love as you would the sun,
The wind, the grasses and the streams together…
Love her in happy hours, when joys are won,
And love her in her time of stormy weather.

Love her in happy dreams and when awake,
Ukraine in spring’s white cherry-blossom veil.
Her beauty is eternal for your sake ;
Her speech is tender with the nightingale.

As in a garden of fraternal races,
She shines above the ages. Love Ukraine
With all your heart, and with exultant faces
Let all your deeds her majesty maintain.

For us she rides alone on history’s billows,
In the sweet charm of space she rules apart,
For she is in the stars, is in the willows,
And in each pulse-beat of her people’s heart,

In flowers and tiny birds, and lights that shine,
In every epic and in every song,
In a child’s smile, in maidens’ eyes divine,
And in the purple flags above the throng…

Youth! For her sake give your approving laughter,
Your tears, and all you are until you die…
For other races you’ll not love hereafter
Unless you love Ukraine and hold her high.

Young woman! As you would her sky of blue,
Love her each moment that your days remain.
Your sweetheart will not keep his love for you,
Unless he knows you also love Ukraine.

Love her in love, in labour, and in fight,
As if she were a song at heaven’s portal…
Love her with all your heart and all your might,
And with her glory we shall be immortal.

Comments

  1. I am sure that Ukraine is on the minds of many of us at present, so your choice this week is very apropos, Dorothy. I have no idea how Putin can be stopped, but I hope that he can be. If he succeeds China will be emboldened and Taiwan will soon be invaded. Hong Kong has already been strangled. We are determined not to learn from history. Who could have considered even for a moment, that a former president would act as a cheerleader and that commentators on a leading television channel would applaud this invasion? If the republicans regain control of both houses and emasculate Biden, I fear that your grand experiment with democracy will be over. There will be, in effect, an invasion from within.

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  2. I just entered a whole comment here, but I think it disappeared into the ether!

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    1. As you can see, your comments did not disappear. See the note at the top of my previous post for an explanation.

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  3. I've been keeping up with what's going on in Ukraine and it's heartbreaking and terrifying. I wish there was more we could do to help but it's all just a giant clusterf**k. I'm praying hard for Ukrainians and they are sure giving Russia hell! I just don't want all this to lead to WWIII...

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    1. They are a proud people who love their right of self-determination. It is worth fighting for.

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  4. Reading this poem made me cry. What's happening in Ukraine right now just breaks my heart.

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    1. It is distressing but also inspiring to see the response of the Ukrainian people.

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  5. The Ukrainians have more than proved their love of their county, of democracy and of freedom in the last days and weeks. The world is holding its breath. Anxious times for all of us - will they get the support they need? All because of one man and his ambitions, millions suffer.

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    1. One megalomaniac apparently intent on restoring the U.S.S.R.

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  6. What a lovely--and unfortunately timely--poem. Here's hoping and wishing for the Ukrainians!

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    1. It does seem appropriate even though it was written 78 years ago.

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  7. meaningful poem!
    right now, i think that many people all over the world wish that the peace will come back to the Ukraine citizens soon!

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  8. Thank you so much for this amazing poem, Dorothty.

    My heart is breaking! There are demonstrations everywhere in the Netherlands. Last night we drove past one in my town and I'm so glad that Europe is standing together, but I'm also very scared what is going to happen...
    Since Putin is now talking about nuclear war...

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    1. He does seem quite unhinged in his actions and that is the most scary part.

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