‘The Lord Has Started Being Born Within Me’ by Vasyl Stus

The Lord has started being born within me
and, half-recalled and half-forgotten, waits
till I depart from life. It looks as if
he is outside me, at the edge of death
where living people should not dare to enter…
my grandchild and my ancestor… God waits.
Together on my own – that’s how we live,
how we exist, when nobody is near.
Misfortune thunders like a cannonade.
He is salvation, so, white-lipped, I say:
please save me for a second, Lord, and then,
recovered, I will save myself alone,
without assistance. But he wants to leave
my borders and desires to finalize
my demolition by salvation, seeking
to force me from myself amid the gusts
of chilling winds – a saber from its scabbard.
He bides his time and wants to get outside –
to make the candle of my pain go out
so that the darkness of obedience
would save me by the touch of Otherness –
another form of life, another name –
no longer mine – along with countless people
inside the kingdom of the frenzied God
who wishes to be born from deep within me
(but I’ll preserve that healing flame for longer,
to not get caught too early by the darkness:
my pain’s black candle fills my road with light
and represents my stealthy victory).

Translated from Ukrainian by Alan Zhukovski