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?”
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.