Poem: “A spark of fire”

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Photo: staff

Ivan Franko wrote this when he was only 17 years old. The man about whom the poem is written (Kotlyorevsky) was the first to use a daily, conversational type speech of the Ukrainian people in modern day literature. As a result, he is called the father of modern Ukrainian literature.

Franko

IVAN FRANKO

Photo: Wikipedia, free use.

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КОТЛЯРОВСКИЙ

Орел могучий на вершку сніжному / Сидів і оком вдовж і вшир гонив, / Втімсхопився і по снігу мілкому / Крилом ударив і в лазур поплив. / Та груду снігу він крилом відбив, / І вниз вона по склоні кам'- яному / Котитись стала - час малий проплив, / І вниз ревла лавина дужче грому. / Так Котляревський у щасли-вий час / Вкраїнським словом розпочав співати, / І спів той виглядав на жарт не раз. / Та був у нім завдаток сил бага-тий, / І огникним засвіченийне згас, / А розгорівсьщоб всіх нас огрівати.

— Иван Якович Франко, 1873

[Original in Ukrainian]


A mighty eagle on a snowy rise,
Sat gazing all around with keen quick eyes,
And then on pinions great, began to rise— 
Lept upwards he, with strength in azure sky.

His sweeping wing brushed a clod of snow;
It fell and started other clods below;
They gathered force, a strength that none could know, 
Until an avalanche arose that none could slow.

So Kotlyorevsky once, in happier times,
Began to sing in his beloved language, rhythms—
But what he sang not once was mocked, maligned.

Yet in the songs lay something rich and great,
A spark of fire that none could, or would abate,
But blazed and warmed us through our lonely fate.

— Ivan Franko, 1873  [Original poem called “Kotlyorevsky”. Translation, staff]


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