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30 March 2022

The NS Poem: Ballad of Return

A new poem by Yuri Andrukhovych, translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin.

By Yuri Andrukhovych

When the traveller came back home,
passed the gates, crossed the threshold,
hefting on his shoulders the road and fatigue,
all the joys of this world landed at his feet.

He wasn’t forgotten, they’d waited for him:     
dinner with wine at a generous table.
Somehow, he didn’t talk about distant berths,
locking unknown sadness between his lips.

And everyone wondered, and his wife
sighed in vain pursuit of sleep until morning. 
But he kept watching there, behind the curtain,
where a star swam through the sky above the window.

Yuri Andrukhovych is a Ukrainian poet who lives and works in Ivano-Frankivsk. John Hennessy and Ostap Kin are also the co-translators of the collection “Babyn Yar: Ukrainian Poets Respond”, forthcoming in 2022 (HURI/Harvard University Press)

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This article appears in the 30 Mar 2022 issue of the New Statesman, The New Iron Curtain