How should I gaze this present day, how should I breathe the air As it sticks and feels like lead before thunder? What should I sing about today, what would I hear there? Wise birds sing, although they come from tales of wonder. The Sirin bird eyes me cheerfully grinning wide, Bringing joy as she calls from her nest; But the dark Alkonost on the other side Blights the soul with regret and distress. Just as seven strings in tune Ring in turn familiarly, Itís the bird called Gamayun Thatís bringing hope to me. In the blue skies where the bell towers are piercing holes Thereís a copper bell; what is that it tolls? Is it happiness or is it misery? Russian domes are always covered in the purest gold So the Lord sees them more frequently. So I stand as if before an endless riddle now, Before a land thatís great and full of marvels too; For itís salty and itís sweet, itís tangy, bitter, sour, And itís malty, pure as water, clear and blue. Through thick, rusty mud horses are lumbering; Though they sink in the dirt stirrup-deep They bear me through this land that is slumbering, Thatís dissolved and grown puffy from sleep. Just as seven plump full moons Light my way so I can see, Itís the bird called Gamayun Thatís bringing hope to me. My soulís battered by loss that follows loss of old; My soulís scoured, tumbled and rolled; If this shred wears so thin that it bleeds I will patch it up with scraps made of the purest gold So the Lord sees it more frequently.
© Margaret & Stas Porokhnya. Translation, 2007