Oh, Life, thou soon I will depart
To never see the Sun
To never soar in the sky -
With freedom I was one.
I praise the Lord for pair of wings
That He bestowed on me
They carried me across the skies
Above the land and sea
Above all creatures of the land
That crawl their way through mud and sand.
From high above I watched with awe
The splendor of the Earth
I flew above the wooded valleys
Where mighty trees lay waiting for the spring
Like mother bird awaits with zeal
The crackle of an egg, triumph of life.
As hatchling came I to this world
To spread my wings among the wooded hills
Where Love was in the air and the trees
Would gently wave to me, and every brush
Was dear to my heart and loved me back.
A blissful infant in a distant land,
I was, indeed, in paradise when I beheld
From mountain top the em’rald woods…
Who hasn’t seen those valleys of my youth
Can’t comprehend the beauty of the hills!
But I grew up and time had come
For me to leave my blessed home,
To see the land that’s far away,
Just a short visit, not long stay.
And so, I kissed my native land,
And spread my wings and off I went
The years went by, and my intent
To go back to native land
Forgotten was and ruled my fate -
In foreign land for death to wait!
I prayed to Lord not once, not twice
But many times and many nights
To keep me on this blessed land
Until I tasted life to full extent.
But who am I to ask and pray
To grant me an extended stay
When all the time the death comes home
To those who barely lived at all?
And if it’s true what people say
That on the Earth is short our stay,
Immortal soul of mine one day
Will come back to forever dwell
Among my native hills where I
Was once as happy as a child.
I love the ocean, but the trees
And grassy hills, and mountain breeze
Are closer to my soul than squalls
And shrieking songs of roaming gulls.
Oh, Earth, perhaps, you never knew
The longing of my soul for you
Which matches the eternal love
For you by heavens up above?
Yet I am not in any haste
My earthly flesh in you to waste,
The very flesh that once was home
To soul that was set free to roam.
So I respectfully refuse
To fester with the old refuse!
I’ll ride the waves and soar again
Before I meet my watery end.
And though I’m not afraid to die,
I sadden when the thought comes by
For I will never see again
The splendor of this God-made land:
The rivers’ waters mighty roll,
And lilies’ bloom and roses’ brawl
About who’s fragrance wind will take
The farthest distance from the lake.
I leave this Life in grief for… Life.
Sometimes we cry and our tears
Release the burden of our fears,
And, even if the heart is bleeding,
Make easier for us to flap our wings.
But there’s a diff’rent kind of crying
This one is more akin to dying.
It has no tears, it dwells inside the soul,
It kills the joy of life, it is the worst of all.
On sunny day it blankets skies with clouds,
It devastates us from inside and we
Are helpless to resist or simply lack desire
To put out this gut-consuming fire.
Behold, it comes at last, the final day
When life is slowly going away
The very life that had rebuffed the Sun
To expedite the end.
And bitterly we cry for ourselves,
Without the tears that dried out long ago,
Regretting that we failed to part
With pain and valued not the life.
And Death is knocking loudly on our door,
A nemesis without pity cares not
About us, who finally wisened up,
And closed our hearts to pain,
And learned to love the Life at last!
By Liana Margiva
Translated from Russian by Anatol Kardiukov