Shevchenko: My Thoughts
My thorny thoughts, my thorny thoughts,
You bring me only woe!
Why do you on the paper stand
So sadly row on row? ...
Why did the winds not scatter you
Like dust across the steppes?
Why did ill-luck not cradle you
To sleep upon its breast? ...
My thoughts, my melancholy thoughts,
My children, tender shoots!
I nursed you, brought you up -- and now
What shall I do with you? ...
Go to Ukraine, my homeless waifs!
Your way make to Ukraine
Along back roads like vagabonds,
But I'm doomed here to stay.
There you will find a heart that's true
And words of welcome kind,
There honesty, unvarnished truth
And, maybe, fame you'll find ...
So welcome them, my Motherland,
Ukraine, into your home!
Accept my guileless, simple brood
And take them for your own!
St. Petersburg, 1839.
Translated by John Weir, Toronto