Iryna Voitenko

Mother, listen,
Is someone knocking at the window?"
"Poor exhausted little bird!
How have you survived
In this misery and strife?
Who will feed you?"
"We haven't a crumb of bread or a grain.
We're cold and hungry; Woe is us!"
"Fly, fly away across the sea! Tell everyone
How we're suffering,
How we're hungering,
How many of us now have died.
Why are we dying of hunger?

Villagers are gathering grain in the fields,
And Stalin has issued strict orders:
"Gather the whole crop in Ukraine!"
O woe is us!

Gendarmes are going from house to house,
Scraping everything out,
Every crumb of bread on the table, every cabbage.
Children are weeping, mothers are sobbing,
Praying for a crust of bread.
But no, the cruel Stalinist regime
Has set itself the goal of bringing people to their knees,
Of making them into beggars and slaves.

Hunger is stalking the land,
Hunger is stalking in my Ukraine.
Everyone is dying: the old, the women, the children.
The village has fallen silent.
The chatter of children can't be heard,
The paths from house to house have grown over with weeds,
Everything is silent.

O barbarous savage,
Your regime is cruel!
But we haven't died! We're still alive!


translated by Marko Carynnyk