Today, April 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. As most of us sit cooped up inside, practicing social distancing, while Spring is moving ahead unfazed with its magnificent, unalterable plans, we thought it would be nice to ease your stress with a beautiful little poem called “Spring “ (Весна) by the modernist Western Ukrainian poet Bohdan-Ihor Antonych (1909-1937), author of six books of poetry, known for his vivid, often nature-based images. The poem comes from the 1938 posthumous volume Green Evangelion.

Bohdan-Ihor Antonych


Here grows Antonych—over there grows grass,
And over there the curly-leaved green alders.
Bend down, bend down just once a little more—
You’ll learn the greatest secret of them all.

Don’t scare us, Spring, with your cold April showers!
Who broke this pale-blue sky as if a jug of glass?
Who pelts us with the leaves as if with shards of glass?
You want to catch the rain in this small leaky strainer?

The strangest language is the one of woods:
The rifle of the night is loaded with star bullets.
The cuckoo birds will peck the moon to pieces on the tops of alders—
Here grows Antonych—over there grows grass.

Translated from the Ukrainian by Yuriy Tarnawsky


Антонич Богдан-Ігор

Росте Антонич, і росте трава,
і зеленіють кучеряві вільхи.
Ой, нахилися, нахилися тільки,
почуєш найтайніші з всіх слова.

Дощем квітневим, весно, не тривож!
Хто стовк, мов дзбан скляний, блакитне небо,
хто сипле листя — кусні скла на тебе?
У решето ловити хочеш дощ?

З всіх найдивніша мова гайова:
в рушницю ночі вклав хтось зорі-кулі,
на вільхах місяць розклюють зозулі,
росте Антонич, і росте трава.

Image: Book cover, AHTOНИЧ Collected Works published in 1967. Cover design by the renowned Ukrainian-American artist Jacques Hnizdovsky (1915–1985).

“Spring“ (Весна) by the modernist Western Ukrainian poet Bohdan-Ihor Antonych (1909-1937) to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day