Transitions №6

Author: Dmitry Strotsev

Translated by Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya


even if we won’t meet again
we have already met

we won’t go to heaven now
we’ve gone to heaven

and we won’t get drunk anymore
we are so drunk already

and we won’t stop singing
over the abyss of war


in supermarkets
the shelves are getting empty

something completely new

beats like a mother’s heart
boils like one anthill
one refugee camp

something completely new is appearing

Chernihiv Mariupol Kharkiv Mikolaev
Ukrainian cities
before our eyes are turning into ruins
Ukraine has been bleeding for twenty days
under the rubble of hospitals and maternity clinics
on battlefields
it loses its children
does not give up
fights the enemy to the death
for honour and freedom
for life

something completely new is appearing
before our eyes


we have a talk with Ukrainians
in Zoom

about military everyday life
about lectures during the war

about the unbearable momental eternity

Igor Chernyavsky
holds a violin in the US Congress
and in a Kharkiv multistorey building
between missile strikes

about the angelic army
and Ukrainian soldiers
shoulder to shoulder

about Rameau, a composer, and Peguy, a poet
about hope


where have I been for the eight years
where have I been for the last fifteen years

i was screaming
i stood next to you and was screaming

about the Russian invasion of Georgia
about the Russian annexation of Ukrainian Crimea
about the war in Donbass

about the sacrifice of Belarus
for the military strategic needs

i was screaming
the same and on the same place i stand there and am screaming

about the world of bored people
about the futility of a lasting truce
about the lingering smell of fear and blood
about the dreamy desire to kill
about the hope of war

i was screaming
about the betrayal of Life
as many more years as I am given
i will be screaming


you resemble your mom very much

i want to tell you this

a quiet face
and careful look

you look
from the friends’ walls
from everywhere

quiet sides of the Dnieper
embrace your city

Kyiv was not taken
during the month of the war

harsh battles are all around
shelling and bombing
Russian tanks are on fire

and the heart beats on the Podol
at Andriivsky Descent

in Sofia
there is prayer and light

you have fought
you sacrificed your life
at twenty five years old

quiet sighs of love
and pain

I want to tell you

Dima resembles you very much


for twelve years
portrayed the disasters of war
using the technique of etching

to show the world
the fury of the people’s uprising
the atrocities of the Napoleon’s soldiers
the famine in besieged Madrid
despair of defeat

because there was no photo yet

during a month literally
working twelve hours a day
painted a gigantic canvas
in the style of monumental cubism
for the Paris World Exhibition
about the tragedy of the Spanish war

to shout out to the world
about the sadistic bombarding of Guernica
by the legionnaires of the fascist Luftwaffe
about the thousands of bombs dropped there
about thousands of people under rubble
about three days of the fire

because there was no internet yet during that time

anonymous testimonies about the war
documentary photos and videos
overtake artistic expression
they get to facebook and youtube

by lighting in their smartphones
Ukrainian towns and suburbs
by scattering weeks-long corpses in the streets
by piling up the pyramids of destroyed armoured vehicles
by bringing in the Russian mobile

what else could an artist do?

to the world
whisper the names in silence




under the heart of Mary
in the mother’s womb
are your children



Belarusian refugees
meet Ukrainian refugees
on Polish railway stations

the relay race of violence
the relay race of suffering
the relay race of love