My thirteenth year was wearing on
Grazing the lambs, one day I was Beyond the village.
The sun shone Perhaps ?
Or was it without cause ?
Such joy, such joy, as at the throne Of God I felt . . .
They'd called already for our food,
But I, among the weeds, remained
Alone, and prayed to God. Indeed,
Why I, a small boy, wished to pray
So eagerly, I do not know,
Nor how my happiness was caused.
Around, the village and the Lord's Sky,
the lambs, it seemed, rejoiced,
The sun shone warm - yet did not scorch.
Not long the sun shone fair and warm,
Not long my prayers I murmured,
The sun blazed fiery red above,
And set this heaven burning.
As if aroused from sleep, I looked:
The village had grown dark,
Even God's azure sky above
That too was cheerless, stark.
I turned my eyes towards the lambs
These lambs were not mine;
I looked yonder to the houses
No home there I'd find.
God did not give me anything
And tears started flowing . . . Bitter tears . . .
But a young girl, Over by the roadside,
Only a few steps away,
Was plucking hemp, and she heard my sobs,
came to my side And spoke kind words to me,
Gently wiped away my tears, And kissed me tenderly.
It seemed once more the sun shone bright,
As if the whole wide world were mine:
The fields, the spinneys, and the orchards . . .
And laughing, we began to drive
Those lambs, that were not ours, to water.
Idle dreams, indeedl But even Now, when I recall,
my heart Aches, weeps: why, God, let me not pass
My little span in that dear heaven ?
Ploughing the field I would have died,
Ignorant of it all, would not
Have lived on earth an outcast's life
Would not have cursed both men and (God)
Return to the Table of Contents Page
Return to the Taras Shevchenko Poems Page
Return to the Ukrainian Literature Page
Return to Culture & Genealogy Page
Return to InfoUkes Home Page
Document URL: http://www.infoukes.com/culture/literature/shevchenko/13th.html
Page layout and design by Orest Dorosh
Copyright © 1996-1997 InfoUkes Inc.
since Mar 1 1997
Suite 185, 3044 Bloor Street West
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada M8X 2Y8
Tel: (416) 236-4865 Fax: (416) 766-5704
Originally Composed: Tuesday August 20th 1996.
Date last modified: Wednesday March 26th 1997.