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Nikola Ionkov Vaptzarov

Nikola Vaptzarov

Faith


Here am I-breathing,

Eto-az disham,

Working,

 

rabotja

Living

zhiveja

And Writing my poetry

i stihove pisha

(My best to it giving).

(tqi kakto umeja).

Life and I glower

S zhivota pod vezhdi

Across at each other,

 

se gledame strogo

and with it I struggle

i borja se s nego,

with all my power

dokolkoto moga.

Life and I quarell,

S zhivota sme v razpra,

But don't draw the moral

 

no ti ne razbirai,

That I despise it.

che mrazja zhivota.

No, just the opposite!

Naprotiv, naprotiv!-

Though I should perish,

Dori da umiram,

Life with its brutal

zhivota sqs grubite

Claws of steel

 

lapi chelichni

Still I would cherish,

az pak shte obicham

Still I would cherish!

Az pak sthe obicham

Suppose round my neck they tie fast

Da kazhem sega mi okachat

The rope

 

vqzheto

And they ask:

i pitat:

"Would you like one more hour to live?"

"Kak, iskash li chas da zhiveesh?"

I would instantly cry:

Vednga shte kresna:

"Untie!

Svalete!

Untie!

 

Svalete!

Come, quickly untie

Po skoro svalete

The rope, you devils!"

vqzheto, zlodei!"

For Life there is nothing

Za nego-zhivota-

I would not dare.

 

napravil bih vsichko.

I would fly

Letjal bih

A prototype plane in the sky,

sqs probna mashina v nebeto,

I'd climbe in a roaring

bih vleznal bqb vzrivna

Rocket, exploring

raketa, samichqk

Alone

bih tqrsil

In space

 

b prostora

Distant

dalechna

Planets.

planeta

Still would I feel

No vse pak shte chuvstvam

A joyous thrill

priatnia gqdel

Gazing

da gledam kak

Up

gore

At the blue sky.

nebeto sinee.

Still would I feel

Vse pak ste chuvstvam

A joyous thrill

priatnia gqdel,

To be alive,

che oshte zhivea,

To go on living.

che oste shte bqda.

But look, suppose

No eto, da kazhem,

You took-how much?-

vij vzemete-kolko?-

A single grain

pshenicheno zqrno,

From this my faith,

ot mojata vera,

Then would I rage,

bih revnal togava,

I would rage from pain

bih revnal ot bolka

Like a panther

kato ranena

Pierced to the heart.

v sqrzeto pantera.

For what of me

Kakvo shte ostane

Would there remain?

ot mene togava?-

Aftre the teft

Mig sled grabezha

I'd be distraught.

shte bqda raznishten.

To put it plainly

I oshte po-jasno

And more directly-

i oshte po-pravo-

aftre the teft

mig sled grabezha

I would be naught.

shte bqda az nishto.

Maybe you wish

Mozhe bi iskate

You could erase

da ja srazite

My faith

mojata vjara

In happy days,

vqv dnite chestiti,

My faith

mojata vjara,

That tomorrow

che utre shte bqde

Life will be finer,

zhivota po-hubav,

Life will be wiser?

zhivota po-mqdqr?

Pray, how will you smash it?

A kak shte shturmuvate, molja?

With bullets?

S kurshumi?

No! That is useless!

Ne! Neumstno!

Stop! It is not worth it!

Resto! Ne struva!

My faith has strong armour

Tja e bronirana

In my sturdy breast,

Zdravo v gqrdite

And bullets able to shatter

i broneoboini patroni

My faith

za neja

Do not exist,

njama otkriti

Do not exist!

Njama otkriti!

translated from Bulgarian

Peter Tempest


Last modified: October 20, 1997

p-miltenoff@nwu.edu