Translated by Ihar Kazak

At the door it seems I hear
The stomping of evil strangers.
This has been my fear for many a year
And my former anxiety’s dangers.

It’s an apparition in the night
Of times endured…
Once again the ravens fly in sight
To my garden and terrace inured.

Once again I hear a bark,
Crashing and clashing at the doorstep.
I run to the door in the dark,
And open it—nobody. A misstep…

from approximately 1963-1968


Original Belarussian

Мне здалося: ў дзвярах
Тупат злога, чужога.
Гэта даўнішні страх
І былая трывога.

Гэта здань уначы
Перажытага часу…
Зноў лятуць крумкачы
На мой сад, на тэрасу.

Зноў пачуліся брэх,
Стук і грук ля парогаю
Да дзвярэй я падбег,


The Poet

Born near Sluck, Belarus, on December 3, 1907, Ryhor Krushyna [pseud. of Ryhor Kazak] was the first Belarusian writer-poet to become a member of the International PEN Club in 1966. Before that achievement, the poet had to leave his homeland, endure life in forced labor camps in Germany during the war, and to become a displaced person in post-war Europe prior to coming to the United States.

In the early 1920s, he and his older brother, Mikola, participated as teenagers in the Sluck Uprising against the Bolshevik regime led by Juri Listapad. Because of his age, the newly founded Soviet regime did not pursue his conviction.

The Translator

Krushyna’s poetry has been translated by his son, Ihar Kazak (pseud.) or Igor Gregory Kozak, a poet-writer and literary translator, who has translated from Russian such émigré authors as Artsibashev, Averchenko, Teffi, et al, and from Belarusian: Bykov, Levanovich, Skobla, et al. In the poetry field, Ihar Kazak has recently been included in the anthology Shadow and Light: 2017 Savant Poetry Anthology, and was awarded the Gabo Prize for Translation of Poetry for 2018.

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One Response

  1. Rostislav

    Many thanks from Australia! At the time when the wonderful poem was created I lived rather far from Byelorussia (in Polar Siberia), yet my mood was precisely the same too often… Thus, it’s really tragic to witness now that so many omnipresent left voters are doing all they can to resurrect in their free countries the dreadful visions of the Soviet past.


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