Poets of Ukraine. Boris Khersonsky. For Alexander Roitburd (1961-2021)

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Poets of Ukraine. Boris Khersonsky. For Alexander Roitburd (1961-2021)
Alexander Roitburd. From the cycle "Grigoryi Skovoroda" (mixed media, 1986)
Poets of Ukraine. Boris Khersonsky. For Alexander Roitburd (1961-2021)

A rabbi in heaven sits on a golden throne.
On his left shoulder sits Moses, on his right shoulder, Aaron,
they whisper wisdom in his ears from both sides,
this is the oral Torah, the unbreakable law.

A kosher fish swims in a river of honey.
A cloud of milk grazes in a cloud of meat in the distance.
No one dares to boil a baby goat again in the milk
of a hussy goat bought for pennies at a town fair.

It was a good fair, and the town was not bad at all,
and its goat was a good, milking floozy,
and its synagogue was wide and east-facing,
and its mustachioed policeman sported a whistle in his crooked teeth.

Now they are all here, in the sky, where the challah is laid out on the table,
and yet I wonder about what’s left down there on earth,
how are the neighbors’ children, are they well off and warm,
do they still find gold crowns in the ashes.

If they do, they probably believe they are lucky!
A girl leans on her paddle in a park where the cemetery used to be.
In a synagogue, there’s a dance club or maybe a church—Christ is Risen.
Pity that from your heaven you cannot see these details.

About the Author:

Boris Khersonsky
Boris Khersonsky
Odessa, Ukraine

Boris Khersonsky was born in Chernivtsi in 1950. Khersonsky has published over nineteen collections of poetry and essays in Russian, and most recently, in Ukrainian. He is widely regarded as one of Ukraine’s most prominent Russian-language poets.

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Boris Khersonsky Борис Херсонский
Bookshelf
by Victor Enyutin

A book of poems in Russian by Victor Enyutin (San Francisco, 1983). Victor  Enyutin is a Russian writer, poet, and sociologist who emigrated to the US from the Soviet Union in 1975.

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This collection of personal essays by a bi-national Russian/U.S. author offers glimpses into many things Soviet and post-Soviet: the sacred, the profane, the mundane, the little-discussed and the often-overlooked. What was a Soviet school dance like? Did communists go to church? Did communists listen to Donna Summer? If you want to find out, read on!

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Julia Wiener’s novels focus on those moments when illusory human existence collapses in the face of true life, be it spiritual purity, love, old age, or death.

by Nina Kossman

A collection of poems in Russian. Published by Khudozhestvennaya literatura. Moscow, 1990.

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