Poets of Ukraine. Boris Khersonsky. Last Days of Peace. Translated by Anna Halberstadt

Also in World:

1. Boulevard_postcard.max-760x504
Odessa in the old days
Poets of Ukraine. Boris Khersonsky. Last Days of Peace. Translated by Anna Halberstadt


Странно думать – быть может, это последние мирные дни.

Друзья покидают нас. Мы остаемся одни

перед лицом, перед рылом, перед пастью врага.

Неужели в этот капкан вступит его нога?

Неужели нашей землей он хочет набить свой рот?

Нежели товарищ ему не волк, а подземный крот?

Неужто по крови изголодалась земля?

Ненасытен вампир и ласков, что то теля,

только не молоко сосет, а кровь из жил,

чтобы потом спросили – в каком ты полку служил.

чтоб на всю грудь несметные посмертные ордена.

Тело истлело, душа осталась одна.

Что ей делать на поле боя? А в небеса ни-ни.

Страшно думать – быть может, это последние мирные дни.

February 12, 2022

* * *

It feels weird– but these could be our last days of peace.

Friends are abandoning us. We are staying alone

to face, or rather, to see the enemy’s mouth, his snout.

Will he really step into this trap?

Does he really want to stuff his mouth with our soil?

Is his best friend a subterranean mole, not a wolf?

Is the earth that hungry for blood?

The vampire is insatiable and gentle like a calf,

only it doesn’t suck milk, he prefers to suck blood from veins,

so that he gets asked later – in what regiment he had served

so that his chest is all covered with orders, post-mortem.

The body decayed; the soul remained all alone.

What is there for it to do on the battlefield? But, there is no way to heaven.

It so scary to be thinking – these could be the last days of peace.

Translated by Anna Halberstadt

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.

About the Translator:

Anna Halberstadt. Photo
Anna Halberstadt
New York, USA

Anna Halberstadt is a poet and a translator from Russian, Lithuanian and English, who grew up in Lithuania and was trained as a psychologist at Moscow University and in the U.S. Her poetry in English was widely published in English-language journals, and Russian, in Arion, Interpoezia, Children of Ra and many others. Her poetry was translated into Lithuanian, Ukrainian, and Tamil. She published four collections of poetry in English, and Transit and Gloomy Sun (in Russian).

Boris Khersonsky Борис Херсонский
by Mark Budman

Every character in these twenty-two interlinked stories is an immigrant from a place real or imaginary. (Magic realism/immigrant fiction.)

by Andrey Kneller

In this collection, Andrey Kneller has woven together his own poems with his translations of one of the most recognized and celebrated contemporary Russian poets, Vera Pavlova.

by Osip Mandelstam

This collection, compiled, translated, and edited by poet and scholar Ian Probstein, provides Anglophone audiences with a powerful selection of Mandelstam’s most beloved and haunting poems.

by Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry

Four teenagers grow inseparable in the last days of the Soviet Union—but not all of them will live to see the new world arrive in this powerful debut novel, loosely based on Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.


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.

by Nina Kossman

A collection of poems in Russian. Published by Khudozhestvennaya literatura (Художественная литература). Moscow, 1990.

Three Questions. A Documentary by Vita Shtivelman
Play Video
Poetry Reading in Honor of Brodsky’s 81st Birthday
Length: 1:35:40