Borys Oliynyk

Rookie (1935, October 22 / Zachepylivka, Poltava region)

Bachelor's Ballad - Poem by Borys Oliynyk

I flew off like a handsome devil
On my steed as black as night -
White foam fell from him like snow-flakes -
To Churayivna bright,
She who swore to send for our wedding
A towel with three embroidered cockerels,
to her… to her I took a flight,
Who, as soon as she raised a finger,
Nightingales in the spring time died!

Flew to her…
On Midsummer's evening
Two stars fell head-first from the sky.
The owl cried in the forest thicket…
Eh, fly faster, good steed, then fly!
Something on my heart hangs heavy,
Something night does not say fully,
as from someone's evil eye
Or sorcery I lost a horse-shoe,
As if the night hid something sly.

I came flying fast at morning,
By the white porch on the green,
Where I once her lips had tasted…
Only why so fiery keen
Does this trio sow their music?
Listen, my steed, what can it mean?
Suddenly doors went flying open -
White as a sheet of paper I.
Out in her veil came Churayivna,
Like a sea-gull, she gave a cry.
From the best-man's hand fell the goblet,
And the trio looked ready to die.

Reins held in my hands were frozen.
So, it seems, my steed so fine,
We have galloped across the ages
To arrive too late this time?
And to attend another's wedding?
Where are your towels, Marusya mine?

Something she mumbles then of parting,
Holds out her white hand, once dear.
Let's return, my steed, by Heaven!
From this garden let's gallop clear,
Where I met with such tender treason.
A sick "Forgive me! " I'll not hear.

I flew out on the embankment,
On the earth my sorrow laid.
Snap went the strings of three musicians,
The cocks crowed thrice, the donkey brayed.
Churayivna fell with sorrow
Head in the wedding-towel betrayed.

More than once, my Churayivna,
Like an autumn gull you'll cry,
When at full stretch past your window
On my night-black steed I fly,
Like some daring handsome devil,
Wearing a wedding-towel, ride by.

Ah, to her,
to such a woman
Who has only to tap her feet -
‘Neath the bow the violin's weeping,
to her, to another indeed,
Yes, to her… but not to a traitor.
Beneath whose window are we, my steed?

Poet's Notes about The Poem

Translated by Walter May

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 9, 2012

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