January 28, 2023

Save the Net Books

Blogazine on Books, Arts, and Music

Three poems from Ukraine [by Slava Konoval]

The Ukrainian poet Vyacheslav (“Slava”) Konoval sent us these three poems for publication. A member of the Geer Poetry Group (Wales) and a member of the Federation of Scottish Writers, Slava lives in Kyiv and is determined to weather the Russian military onslaught. He tells me he has devoted a great deal of energy to addressing “acute social problems, such as poverty alleviation, environmental issues, people’s relationship with government.” I would like to ask him if he wrote these three poems in English or translated them. Don’t they read like translations? On the theory that there is a certain charm in poetry as a second language, and in relation to the embattled nation Konoval would speak for, I present it here before I find out more.

Now I found out more:

<<< Yes, I write in English to promote my compatriots and to show the thick skin of the Ukrainian soul.

The translation of anything cannot guarantee the accuracy, especially in artistic activities, so I write original form in non-my native language.

Yes, I live in Kyiv and have not left my city since the overwhelming Russian invasion until today. >>>

Don’t be a freak

I can’t be a freak
I can’t play it
I have nothing to say.
From the thought of it
I just want to spit.

I’m not a freak
I don’t have millions in the account
I’m not strong like Beek
standing firmly on the floor or on the bracket.

I grew up on my mother’s milk
it is precious like silk
Hey, artificial behavior is bullshit.

Richard’s castle

On the sprawling mount Uzypalnytsia,
the neo-Gothic wind built
a castle for the lion heart,
below the St. Andrew’s Church.
The castle is a marvel of art!

An unknown architect
loved the pages of Walter Scott,
after I built pointed towers,
laid his heart.

Moody mountain, sharp descent,
She let the towers in
through philanthropic help, maybe cents,
neither royal funds nor sin.

The royal palace shines
in yellow colors,
in the graceful contours and lines.

night singer

Where rockets hit
where the borders with Belarus are close,
I ask for your consent, please allow
to tell about the Ukrainian company,
I honor them, raise a glass and toast.

In days of turmoil, in stormy days,
IKOC took a thread and a needle like a weapon,
IKOC has will, courage and action,
no empty phrases.

weaver, mechanic, accountant,
it’s bees buzzing in workshops,
IKOC puts its image and patents on display
sewn shoes and uniforms for the military,
Sketches in laptops.

With style, taste and quality
IKOC takes care of defenders,
who grind the enemy in a meat grinder,
and like blenders.

May the company prosper
that IKOC had a pre-war profit,
an investor is waiting for him in line, a sponsor.

Ed: Regarding “Night Singer”: Diligent internet research by IKOC brings to light some dead ends. Other poems by him are published here. Other English language poems by Slava, such as “Painful condition”, can be found here.

painful condition

Once on Thursday I woke up weak
covered with a warm blanket,
with merciless temperature,
I am dying and I am desolate.
like a pendulum
hear the ticking of beats in the clock.
Lying in bed, I was exhausted from the undead,
I’m like a sickly chick.
Look at the white pills
that had become the color of surrender.
Please God stop all human evils
Overcome the pain and be a healthy nation.

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