By Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky (translation from Ukrainian)
Dedicated to the fields of Kononivka
Fields in June.
Three white shepherd dogs.
The iron hand of the city.
Only packing remained… It was one of those numerous “have to” that left me so tired and sleepless. It doesn’t matter if this “have to” is big or small, what matters is that each time it demands attention, that it’s not me who controls it, but it takes control over me. In fact, you become the slave of this multi-headed beast. If only I could break free from it, at least for an hour, forget, have rest. I’m tired.
Because life is coming at me unceasingly and relentlessly, as a wave to the shore. And it’s not only my life, it’s the life of others too. But, in the end, do I know where my life ends and someone else’s begins? I feel the existence of other people entering mine, as the air enters through doors and windows, as the waters of tributaries enter a river. I cannot avoid a human being. I cannot be, alone. I confess, I envy the planets — they’ve got their own orbits and nothing stands on their way. While on mine, everywhere and always I meet a person.
Yes, you stand on my way and think that you’ve got a right to own me. You are everywhere. It was you, who clothed the earth into stone and iron; it’s you, who inhales stench through windows of the houses — thousands of black mouths. You scourge earth’s sacred silence with the gnashing factories, rattling wheels, you pollute the air with dust and smoke, roar with pain, with happiness, anger. Like a beast. I meet your gaze everywhere; your eyes, curious, greedy, they crawl inside me and you get stuck in my eye in the diversity of your colours and forms. I cannot avoid you…I cannot be alone…Not only are you walking by my side, you are crawling inside me. You threw your sufferings and your pains, broken hopes and despair into my heart, as to your own hiding place. Your cruelty and your savage instincts. All the horror, all the dirt of your existence. What do you care if you torment me? You want to be my master, you want to take me…my hands, my mind, my will and my heart…You want to suck me out, all my blood, like a vampire. And you are doing that. I don’t live like I want to, I live like you tell me to in your countless “have to”, endless “must to”.
People wore me down. I’m tired of being an inn for those screaming, fussing and littering creatures.
Open the windows! Let the fresh air in! Take out the trash together with those who leave it. Let the house be filled with cleanness and peace.
Who can console me with loneliness? Death?
How I waited for them sometimes!
And when that beautiful brother of death took me, even there people were waiting for me. They were weaving their existence with mine into a chimeric net, they were trying to fill my ears and my heart with what they themselves were filled… Listen, you, listen! Have you brought your suffering to me even here? Your loathsomeness? My heart cannot hold any more. It is full to the brim. Leave me alone…
That’s how I spent my nights.
In the daytime I was shaking with fear every time I felt a human shadow behind my back and was listening with disgust to the roaming floods of human life, rushing from all the city streets, like wild horses.