Borys Oliynyk

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

I'D Have Always Lain Peaceful... - Poem by Borys Oliynyk

I'd have always lain peaceful as ages past by,
Would have turned into dust long ago.
But a witch of a maid on the cliff poses high,
Tightly swathed by the winds that blow.

Both my sword and my shield have all rusted away,
Overhead Dnieper Plant's rumbles grow.
But that witching spell-binder on cliff-top holds sway,
Tightly swathed by the winds that blow.

More than two thousand years ago, all this occurred -
Then an enemy's spear laid me low;
She stood then on the cliffs, ever since has not stirred -
In her eyes impish cunning's aglow.

And she calls and enchants, her wing-brows make you yearn;
She intoxicates like Cossack mead.
And her waist's girdled round with the flowering fern -
Magic bloom of Midsummer Night's Eve.

Hey, I've risen!
The Scythian mound could not hold.
How we frightened the geese once at Rome!
Well, I grabbed my old sword and my pectoral of gold -
If I'm spry - a museum's their home.

I put on modern dress - a real nylon-clad beau,
For my date ran a century race.
But that girl tightly swathed with the winds that blow
Had moved on to another place.

Ran a century-race, and this time in bare feet -
New Olympic Games record I set.
But again she had left where I thought we would meet -
Oh, to hell with it! Why all the sweat?

So I made up my mind: Leave no trace and just die.
Let the Dnieper Plant's rumbling grow…
But that witch of a maid on the cliff poses high
Tightly swathed by the winds that blow…

Poet's Notes about The Poem

Translated by Gladys Evans

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Rudyard Kipling


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 9, 2012

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