Years, eras centuries move relentlessly forth; All seek warmth, shunning frosts, fleeing tempests of snow. Why then are these birds winging their way to the north? Surely the south’s where birds are expected to go? They’ve no need to be famous or lionised. See how under their wings ends the ice, And they’ll find their own avian paradise As a prize for their heart-stopping flight. Why can’t we settle? What stops us getting our rest? What made us choose this route on the towering surf? With the sight of the lights we are yet to be blessed - But they’re so rarely spotted, those lights have their worth. Silence reigns - only seagulls like lightning streaks From our hands feed on absence profound, And our prize for our silence where no one speaks Can’t be anything but a sound. It’s been an age now our dreams have all been in white; All the colours have gone as snow falls more and more. In the dazzling whiteness we’ve long lost our sight But we’ll still see black outlines defining the shore. Then our throats will be let go by wordlessness As our weakness, like shade, melts away, And our prize for the dark nights of our distress Will be an endless arctic day. Land without borders, the north, volition and hope, Spotless snow like a long life lived without lies... Our eyes will not be pecked from their sockets by crows For this is not the place to which crows like to fly. Those who never believed doleful prophecies Nor one moment in snow ever lay As a prize for their solitary odyssey Must have somebody come their way.
© Margaret & Stas Porokhnya. Translation, 2008