LOVE IN KYIV

More terrible is love in Kyiv than
Magnificent Venetian passions. Butterflies
Fly light and maculate into bright tapers –
Dead caterpillars’ brilliant wings aflame!
And spring has lit the chestnuts’ candles!
Cheap lipstick’s tender taste,
The daring innocence of miniskirts,
And these coiffures, that are not cut quite right –
Yet image, memory, and signs still move us…
Tragically obvious, like the latest hit.
You’ll die here by a scoundrel’s knife,
Your blood will spread like rust inside a brand
New Audi in an alley in Tartarka.
You’ll plunge here from a balcony, the sky,
Down headlong to your dirty little Paris
Dressed in a blouse of secretarial white.
You can’t discern the weddings from the deaths…
For love in Kyiv is more terrible than
Ideas of New Communism: specters
Emerge in the intoxicated nights
Out of Bald Mountain, bearing in their hands
Red flags and pots of red geraniums.
You’ll die here by a scoundrel’s knife,
You’ll plunge here from a balcony, the sky, in
A brand-new Audi from an alley in Tartarka
Down headlong to your dirty little Paris
Your blood will spread like rust
upon a blouse of secretarial white.

–Natalka Bilotserkivets
Translated by Andrew Sorokowsky

Natalka Bilotserkivets
Poet

Natalka Bilotserkivets is a Ukrainian poet and translator. In 1976 she graduated from the Kyiv University Department of philology. Worked in Maksym Rylsri Museum, as Molodist Publishing House poetry department editor, and over 20 years in the Ukrainian Culture magazine. Natalka is the author of 7 poetic collections and a book of literary critical essays. The collections Allergy (1999) and Central Hotel (2004) were the winners of Book of the Year contests in 2000 and 2004 respectively.

Natalka Bilotserkivets’s poems are translated into many languages, particularly into English and German and at the end of 2009 “Rose and knife” appeared in Polish translation in Phrase publishing house. Natalka is a participant of numerous literary festivals and a winner of Mayakovskyy (Georgia) and Vilinitsa Kristal (Slovenia) prizes.

The book-length selections of her poetry were published in Poland, translated by Bohdan Zadura (2009), and in the UK, translated by James Brasfield et al. (Subterranean Fire, 2021).

Natalka Bilotserkivets
Poet

Natalka Bilotserkivets is a Ukrainian poet and translator. In 1976 she graduated from the Kyiv University Department of philology. Worked in Maksym Rylsri Museum, as Molodist Publishing House poetry department editor, and over 20 years in the Ukrainian Culture magazine. Natalka is the author of 7 poetic collections and a book of literary critical essays. The collections Allergy (1999) and Central Hotel (2004) were the winners of Book of the Year contests in 2000 and 2004 respectively.

Natalka Bilotserkivets’s poems are translated into many languages, particularly into English and German and at the end of 2009 “Rose and knife” appeared in Polish translation in Phrase publishing house. Natalka is a participant of numerous literary festivals and a winner of Mayakovskyy (Georgia) and Vilinitsa Kristal (Slovenia) prizes.

The book-length selections of her poetry were published in Poland, translated by Bohdan Zadura (2009), and in the UK, translated by James Brasfield et al. (Subterranean Fire, 2021).

LOVE IN KYIV

More terrible is love in Kyiv than
Magnificent Venetian passions. Butterflies
Fly light and maculate into bright tapers –
Dead caterpillars’ brilliant wings aflame!
And spring has lit the chestnuts’ candles!
Cheap lipstick’s tender taste,
The daring innocence of miniskirts,
And these coiffures, that are not cut quite right –
Yet image, memory, and signs still move us…
Tragically obvious, like the latest hit.
You’ll die here by a scoundrel’s knife,
Your blood will spread like rust inside a brand
New Audi in an alley in Tartarka.
You’ll plunge here from a balcony, the sky,
Down headlong to your dirty little Paris
Dressed in a blouse of secretarial white.
You can’t discern the weddings from the deaths…
For love in Kyiv is more terrible than
Ideas of New Communism: specters
Emerge in the intoxicated nights
Out of Bald Mountain, bearing in their hands
Red flags and pots of red geraniums.
You’ll die here by a scoundrel’s knife,
You’ll plunge here from a balcony, the sky, in
A brand-new Audi from an alley in Tartarka
Down headlong to your dirty little Paris
Your blood will spread like rust
upon a blouse of secretarial white.

–Natalka Bilotserkivets
Translated by Andrew Sorokowsky

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