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Michael R Burch Jun 2020
Sonnet: The Ruins of Balaclava
by Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, barren Crimean land, these dreary shades
of castles―once your indisputable pride―
are now where ghostly owls and lizards hide
as blackguards arm themselves for nightly raids.
Carved into marble, regal boasts were made!
Brave words on burnished armor, gilt-applied!
Now shattered splendors long since cast aside
beside the dead here also brokenly laid.
The ancient Greeks set shimmering marble here.
The Romans drove wild Mongol hordes to flight.
The Mussulman prayed eastward, day and night.
Now owls and dark-winged vultures watch and leer
as strange black banners, flapping overhead,
mark where the past piles high its nameless dead.

Adam Bernard Mickiewicz (1798-1855) is widely regarded as Poland’s greatest poet and as the national poet of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. He was also a dramatist, essayist, publicist, translator, professor and political activist. As a principal figure in Polish Romanticism, Mickiewicz has been compared to Byron and Goethe. Keywords/Tags: Mickiewicz, Poland, Polish, Balaclava, Crimea, war, warfare, castle, castles, knight, knights, armor, Greeks, Rome, Romans, Mongols, Mussulman, Muslims, death, destruction, ruin, ruins, romantic, romanticism, sonnet, depression, sorrow, grave, violence, mrbtr
rgz May 2019
We
all get
a little bit
overwhelmed
there's no need to hide
Let your tears make a river
one to wash away your pride
Things will feel much bigger
when you keep them inside
Let it all out, you'll see
the true size
Cry me a river
Dreams of Sepia Jul 2015
I'm watching an old Soviet movie
one without English subtitles
the whole day it hasn't stopped raining
the opening shots are of a foggy

seafront, a lone figure walking
a guy on a bicycle holding a puppy
riding past someone leaning on the corner
of a house in which the light

suddenly comes on & a couple appear
later on, a budding romance
between two holidaymakers in this, the Crimea
slow-paced, this movie reminds

me of an Aki Kaurismaki
& I want to share it with the world
& muse on how the Crimea
saw Pushkin, Chekhov, Mayakovsky

amongst others visiting it's shores
the whole day it hasn't stopped raining
& I don't know if I feel even more English
now or Russian or whether it's all just a trick
Brought up abroad, I'm constantly caught between two cultures.
This poem is also poignant because of the conflict that is going on in the Ukraine now, which ignores the historical relationship between Russians & the Ukranians, which was mostly amicable.

— The End —