Shevchenko and Ukrainian Nationhood


HST/ATH/RUS 254 students enrolled in the spring 2015 all read the recent translation of Taras Shevchenko’s Kobzar by Peter Fedynsky.  The class discussed the role Shevchenko’s poetry has played in the construction of Ukrainian nationhood.  As a creative exercise, students composed their own “Shevchenko” poem.  Here are two of the best as determined by the class. “A Forgotten Hope” and “Where Has the Hetman Gone?” both capture themes, images, and ideas at the heart of Shevchenko’s works.

“A Forgotten Hope”

By Lauren Bauman

Mounds leak Kozak blood

While the Dnipro weeps

For her sons and daughters

Held captive in a foreign tyranny

Run by peacocks and grizzlies

That have yet to find a loyal soul

To support their bloody endeavors.


Lofty hills and grassy steppes

Rest under clear blue skies

That remember a glorious day

When Ukraine was free and prosperous

With its own people under its wings.


Let the eagle soar

And return back

To its beloved Ukraine!



“Where Has the Hetman Gone?”

Paul McCreary

O Hetman where have you gone?

Your lofty hills want your return

The peasants long for their Hetmanate

As they sell their herds to a Moscovite noble

Leaving none left to graze by the willows.

The peasants long for the Kozaks

Riding along the shores of the Dnipro

Serving their Hetman, their Ukraine

Instead of kneeling before a drunken tsar

Who punders needlessly through the Hetman’s lands

Seizing all he can to sell to the Poles and Jews.

Where is Ukraine’s Hetman, her protector?

He lays dead on a steppe, a victim of the tsar’s war.


Lauren Bauman is sophomore at Miami majoring in creative writing.  Paul McCreary is a freshman at Miami majoring in diplomacy.

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