poems by Dmytro Chystiak


A likely key to the end

For Laura Garavaglia
…upon fulfillment, the city on seven hills will be destroyed, and fearsome Justice will judge the people.
St. Malachy of Armagh 

From Peter to Peter
The mountain matures.
A monk on an island
Has the key to a likely finale.
No blind he directs
But the church architect,
Who to the world sent
A ninefold contingent.
Beyond the wall and under
In dead ruins lay a wonder.
“For the time being,” said he,
“Units – only three –
Of cockerel kings will come
To bring the harvest home.
In the image is printed a name,
In the heart a son is aflame,
Transfusing the sun laborious
Into olives glorious.
And further, kings sevenfold,
Onto times falling take hold.”
Woe to the hills of she-wolves
Among the greatest of whores.
Plague is the gate of warfare,
Famine makes spring in the air.
The proud six trinity
Will not grow to the sky,
Just the trinity of eight
Lead dead from a darkened state.
No snake will make fishes the livelier,
Only the young water-carrier.

Translating Nasimi

A night has been smashed
And as set fire to speech.
He tore out his heart,
With birdsong took part,
Breathed anew,
Watered with dew –
Dawn in the ascendant
In the throat of the merchant.
He put on a shroud
Of the prophet’s blood.
From signifiers
Which the day fires.
A decline of the race
In unseeing eyes.
Numbers’ origin
In unity begins.
After months nine
Words combine,
Seeking a hold
On the one and same child.
The chalice is furnished
To lips in a skirmish.
Fur, grey and rough,
Will overcome death.
The headstone – throw out!
Discard the black shroud.
In dances the white
Are stars at great speed.
Let the humble dust
Be a sacrifice,
Let the youthful heart
Ascend to the light.

                 Translated in English by Michael Pursglove

Farewell with gardens
I see you for the last time
In a flash of evening windows
You cry but do not sing
You run out as your smile falls
When we embrace
Close our eyes
Silence echoes into silence
And palpitates on shoulders
And wheezes in the chest
Water lilies burst to bloom
Seed shines in seed
Rising tide after rising tide
Suddenly storms crash
Panes rattle and crack
Your cave opens
Stone falls from the eye
Snake darts from the palm
Into darkened vines
Home is a rock instead
Cherry-tree battered by storm
Cherry-tree of white fires
An unscorched wave
You will turn away from flame
A swallow on the shoulder
Salt appears on your face
Into the summer sea by windows
You will plunge, not drown
Remnants of a dead cherry-tree
Carried upwards in the eye.

                          Translated in English by Hilary Sheers

Dmytro Chystiak
Dmytro Chystiak (born in 1987, Kyiv, Ukraine) is a Ukrainian-speaking and French-speaking poet, short story writer, literary critic and translator, art critic, university scholar and journalist. Doctor Habilitatis, Full Professor at the National Taras Shevchenko Kyiv University and at the European center for literary translation in Brussels, director of literary collections at “Ruslan Khalikov Publisher” in Ukraine and “European Letters” in “L’Harmattan” publisher in Paris as well as Member of the Direction and International Responsible for Letters at the European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters (AESAL, Paris). Published more than 75 books in a dozen of countries (philological works, poetry, short stories, essays, literary translations) that brought him some national and international prizes in Ukraine (Prize of the National Academy of Sciences, 2008; Prize of the Ukrainian Government, 2012; President Prize, 2022), Switzerland (International Prize for young authors, PIJA, in 2008), Belgium (Kraainem Prize for novella, in 2009), Germany (Prize Oles Honchar, in 2008), Greece (UNESCO Prize for merits in culture, 2014), Kosovo (Skanderbeu Prize, 2018), Romania (Mihai Eminescu International Festival Special Award Prize, 2017), Moldova (Literature and Arts Review Prize, 2018), Lebanon (Naji Naaman Prize, 2018), France (Honorary Prize of EASAL, 2017) etc. Director of International Hryhoriy Kochur Festival of Literary Translators, Vice-President of the National Union of Writers of Ukraine (Kyiv city section), member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg,  of the European Association of Journalists, of the Eurasian Union of Writers, of the National Academy of Sciences of Higher Education of Ukraine and Honorary member of the French-speaking branch of PEN-club of Belgium, Mihai Eminescu International Literary Academy, Academia Tomitana etc. For his merits for Ukrainian culture is proclaimed Commander in the Order of Arts of Ukraine and Knight of the Order of Academic Palms in France. 

From the poetry collection “Star of glass” (2022)

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