Poets of Ukraine. Oles Grig. Translated by Dmitri Manin. Illustrated by Nina Kossman

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Fleeing from Death
Nina Kossman "Fleeing from Death"
Poets of Ukraine. Oles Grig. Translated by Dmitri Manin. Illustrated by Nina Kossman

Flee, Lola, flee! You cannot help your mother
or father, they’re dead, and your brother is too.
No more dragons, they all have been murdered.
This country’s deserted, save for him and you.

Come mount your dragon and let it take wing!
The sky is teeming with people of iron.
But it will take them a while to bring
their flighted horses to turn around.

Can’t you see the winged steeds are reeling
after a week of merciless fight?
They can barely move their wings of steel.
Into the gap in their ranks steer your flight!

A clearing opened, not for long and not wide,
in the mountain range between worlds – it’s your chance.
Your family’s there, on the other side –
Merciful Death gave them refuge for once.

* * *

Лола, беги! Ты ничем не поможешь
папе и маме, и брату – мертвы.
Нету драконов – убили их тоже.
В этой стране – только этот и ты.

Взлезь на дракона, взлетайте скорее!
В небе – армада железных людей.
Нужно ещё им какое-то время
для разворота воздушных коней.

Видишь, крылатые кони устали
после недели нещадных боев –
медленны взмахи их крыльев из стали.
Ну же, летите в открытый проем!

Горы, стоящие между мирами,
щель приоткрыли – и надо успеть.
Ваши родные – вон там, за горами,
из доброты приютила их Смерть.*

*По мотивам сказки Олеся Грига «Лола из Флории»

About the Author:

1. Oles Grig photo
Oles Grig
Kharkiv, Ukraine

Oles Grig (Oleg Fomin) was born on January 26, 1963, in Kharkiv. He graduated from the Kharkiv Pedagogical Institute named after Grigory Savvich Skovoroda (Philology Department). He began writing poems in 2016. Despite the obvious danger from the Russian bombardment, he does not leave his native city (Kharkiv, Ukraine).

About the Translator:

manin_2021 (1)
Dmitri Manin
California, USA

Dmitri Manin is a physicist, programmer, and translator of poetry. His translations from English and French into Russian have appeared in several book collections. His latest work is a complete translation of Ted Hughes’ “Crow” (Jaromír Hladík Press, 2020) and Allen Ginsberg’s “The Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems” (Podpisnie Izdaniya, 2021). Dmitri’s Russian-to-English translations have been published in journals (Cardinal Points, Delos, The Café Review, Metamorphoses, etc) and in Maria Stepanova’s “The Voice Over” (CUP, 2021). In 2017, his translation of Stepanova’s poem won the Compass Award competition. “Columns,” his new book of translations of Nikolai Zabolotsky’s poems, was published by Arc Publications in 2023 (https://eastwestliteraryforum.com/books/nikolai-zabolotsky-columns-poems).

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