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...
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 JOHN WOODSWORTH
(Dzhon Vudsvort)
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Sample Russian poems:
Stikhi k sobytijam 11.IX.01
[Poems on the events of 11/9/01]
(with English translation)
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(page updated 23 September 2002 with new link -- see below)
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..
 

The following two poems were written at the same spot on the shore of Lake Michigan, a year apart -- one before, the other after the tragedy of  11/9/01.

The original Russian text of these poems was published in the Doukhobor journal "ISKRA" in its issue No 1915 of  17 October 2001 (pp. 58-59)

The English translation (scroll down) appeared in "ISKRA" No 1923, 24 April 2002 (pp. 23-24).

Both poems are now published on-line on J.W.'s Sasquatch Director's Page
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PLEASE NOTE:
The Russian poems on this page are shown in image representation only.
Unfortunately, they do not have the properties of electronic text.
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V pristani [In harbour]
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God spustja [One year later]
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English translation follows for both poems
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In harbour
(V pristani)

John Woodsworth


Yachts with their yardarms find haven in harbour,
Rocking so gently on waters still dark...
Trees line the shoreline in Nature's own arbour:
Leaf-sails a-rustling in earth-grounded ark.

Mallards all morning sing rhymes under railings,
Geese gab with mute wooden owls in a tree,
Staring intently with sharp eyes unfailing...
Doves, meanwhile, furtively glance after me.

Languidly lispings start skimming the surface
Of thought with the inflowing tide of the mind.
Conscience keeps rustling mid waves of pure purpose,
Rocking me gently with feelings so kind.

Womanly wisdom in peaceful perfection
Watches, preserves, night and day, from above...
Heaven's own dove-angels proffer protection,
Lead me once more to the haven of love.

America, Lake Michigan
2 October 2000

Translated from the Russian by John Woodsworth
15 October 2001
 

.
One year later
On the events of 11/9/01
(God spustja: K sobytijam 11.IX.01)

John Woodsworth


Exactly a year ago I stood
on this very spot of sacred Earth,
on a wooden embankment by a quiet harbour
of a Lake Michigan port.*
The landscape around me
is the same as before:
fishing-boats sail by
or sit silently at their docks...
while ducks float noiselessly along,
or sleep, standing, their head tucked underneath their wings,
while the sun calmly rises
over the vast expanse of the 'Great' lake
in these early morning hours of an American autumn.

Only behind this peaceful picture,
behind the scene in front of me,
not everything, this time, is going along
the same smooth channels as before.
This time
the rhythm of life is noticeably disturbed...
and its rhyme (at least, temporarily) lost.

Only three short weeks ago
the free world stopped breathing freely...
its collective heart, for a moment, came to a stop,
and its sense of overall well-being took a sharp turn --
possibly for ever.

O horror!
But what can one say
about such an odious crime,
completed in the name of religion
but completely counter
to the essence of any 'eternal truth' in the universe,
just as darkness runs counter to light,
or non-being to being!

A year ago
the western world was asleep in the "cradle of innocence",
fully persuaded of the inviolability
of its own military security,
but not fully aware, in its inner consciousness,
of the sufferings of countless strangers
on the other side of the globe,
not fully attending to their cries of despair...
offering aid, to be sure, occasionally, to them,
but sometimes to their oppressors as well...
boldly boasting of its own material riches,
but paying little attention
to the spiritual needs of mankind,
thereby provoking feelings of revulsion, even hatred,
directed not so much at its individual inhabitants
as at their apparent arrogance and inattentiveness
(as viewed from the east)
toward the plight of others.

A year ago (quite possibly)
the seeds of hate,
feeding on the perceptions
of an ignorance and self-satisfaction harmful to their world,
were already engendering schemes of malevolence,
squeezing out reason and common sense,
paying no heed to the moderating influence
of the overwhelming majority of their colleagues of faith,
blindly attempting to eradicate with physical force
misunderstanding, mistaken reasoning
and a misguided attitude to the haters' brethren.

Action and reaction,
action and reaction,
each time increasing in intensity,
each time manifesting itself in more and more unacceptable forms,
each time feeding with new fodder
the lowest human tendencies
toward fear, anger, envy and hatred,
each time turning ordinary people --
the oppressors, as well as the oppressed --
into unwitting victims of the serpent-lie
of man's unlikeness to the Creator of all.

But what can be done?
How can one stop this 'devil's wheel'**
of senseless, arbitrary violence,
of killing and the self-killing of the killers?

The answer is clear:
counter evil not with its likeness
but with its complete opposite
(just as Christ commanded us
and Tolstoy reminded us) --
not with evil but with good,
not with heretical violence but with the heritage of common sense,
not with ignorant condescension
but with divine comprehension,
not with "revenge at any price"
but with the priceless reflection of love,
not with bombs and not with blood
but with good housing and food.

How I hope, that another year later,
if I should stand on this same spot of Earth,
I shall be able to know
that the quiet harbour before me
reflects not just a world that should be
but a world that then really will be --
a world renewed,
a world sensitive to the despair of any of its peoples,
a world ready to act according to the principles and precepts
of pure, universal Love!

Then and only then
can we really bring back what is lost,
restore our life's natural rhythm
of a grand world symphony of peace,
and then the rhyme divine to find
in the harmony of all mankind.
 

America, Lake Michigan
30 September 2001
 

Translated from the Russian by John Woodsworth
16 October 2001
 

*See poem 'In harbour' of 2 October 2000, by the same author.

**"devil's wheel" -- what the Russians call a ferris wheel.
 


 
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A NOTEWORTHY LINK
For further reading in a similar vein, please visit the Community page of Ottawa poet John Bart Gerald & artist Julie Maas at Gerald & Maas * editions/atelier.
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...
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"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you... 
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

-- John 14:27
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E-mail : <jw[at ]kanadacha.ca>
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