Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Nikola Ionkov Vaptzarov

Nikola Vaptzarov

  Istorya/History


Kakvo shte ni dadesh , istoryo

 

History, will you mention us

Ot pozhqltelite si stranitzi? -

 

In your faded scroll?

Niy byahme neizvestni hora

 

We worked in factories, offices-

Ot fabriki I kanzelarii

 

Our names were not well known.

 

 

 

Niy byhme selyani, koito

 

We worked in fields, smelled strongly

Mirisheha na luk I vkisnalo

 

Of onions and sour bread.

I pod mustazite uvisnali

 

Through thick moustaches angrily

Zhivota psuvaha sqrdito.

 

We coursed the life we led.

 

 

 

Shte bqdesh li pone priznatelna,

 

Will you at least be grateful

Che te nahranihme s sqbitya

 

We fattened you with news,

I te napoihme bogato

 

And slaked your thirst so richly

S krqvta na hilyadi ubiti.

 

With the blood of slaughtered crowds?

 

 

 

Shte hvanesh konturite samo,

 

You'll lose the human focus

A bqtre, znam, shte bqde prazno,

 

To view the panorama,

I nyama nikoi da razkazva

 

And no one will remember

Za prostata choveshka drama.

 

The simple human drama.

 

 

 

Poetite shte sa ulisani

 

The poets will be distracted

Vqv tempove I vqv agitki

 

With pamphlets, progress rates;

I nashta mqka nenapisana

 

Our unrecorded suffering

Sama v prostranstvoto shte skita.

 

Will roam alone in space.

 

 

 

Zhivot li be - da go opishesh?

 

Was it a life worth nothing

Zhivot li be - da go razrovish?

 

A life worth digging up?

Razrovish li go - shte mirishe

 

Unearthed, it reeks of poison,

I shte gorchi kato otrova.

 

Tastes bitter in the cup.

 

 

 

Po sinorite sme se razhdali,

 

We were born along the hedgerows,

Na zavet nyakqde do tqrnite,

 

In the shelter of the stray thorns

A maykite lezhali vlazhni

 

Our mothers lay perspiring

I grizli suhite si bqrni.

 

Their dry lips tightly drawn.

 

 

 

Kato muhi sme mreli esen,

 

We died like flies in autumn.

Zhenite vili po zadushnitza,

 

The women mourned the dead,

Izkarvali placha na pesen,

 

Turned their lament to singing-

No samo burena gi slushal.

 

But only the wild grass heard.

 

 

 

Onez, koito sme ostavali,

 

We who survived our brothers,

Se potehme I pod ezika,

 

Sweated from every pore,

Rabotehme kqde shto hvanem,

 

Took any job that offered,

Rabothme kato dobitqk.

 

Toiled as the oxen do.

 

 

 

Mqdruvaha bashtite v kqshti:

 

At home our fathers taught us:

"Taka bilo, e I shte bqde…"

 

"So shall it always be."

A nie plyuehme namrqshteno

 

But we scowled back and spat on

Na oglupyalata im mqdrost.

 

Their fool's philosophy.

 

 

 

Zaryazvahme sofrite trosnato

 

We kicked the table over,

I tqrtvahme navqn, kqdeto

 

Ran out of doors, and there

Edna nadezhda ni dokosvashe

 

In the open felt the stirring

Sqs neshto hubavo I svetlo

 

Of something bright and fair.

 

 

 

O, kak sme chakali napregnato

 

How anxiously we waited

V zadrqatenite kafeneta!

 

In little-known cafes,

I kqsno prez noshta si legahme

 

And turned in late at night

S poslednite komyuniketa.

 

Of something bright and fair.

 

 

 

O, kak se lyushkahme v nadezhdite!…

 

How we were soothed in hoping!…

A egneshe nebeto nisko,

 

But leaden skies pressed lower,

Svisteshe vqzduha nazhezhen…

 

The scorching wind hissed viciously…

Ne moga poveche! Ne iskam!…

 

Till we could stand no more!

 

 

 

No v mnogotomnite pisania,

 

Yet in your endless volumes

Pod bukvite I redovete

 

Beneath each letter and line

Shte vika nasheto stradanie

 

Our pain will leer forbiddingly

I shte se zqbi neprivetno -

 

And rise a bitter cry.

 

 

 

Zashtoto bi ni pezposhtadno

 

For life, showing no mercy,

Zhivota s tezhkite si lapi

 

With heavy brutish paw

Napravo po ustata gladni,

 

Battered our hungry faces.

Zatui ezika ni e grapav.

 

That's why our tongue is raw.

 

 

 

I v sthihovete deto pishem,

 

That's why the poem I'm writing

Kogato kradnem ot sunya si,

 

In hours I steal from sleep,

Parfyumen aromat ne dishat,

 

Have not the grace of perfume,

A sa navqseni I kqsi.

 

But brief and scowling beat.

 

 

 

Za mqkata - ne shtem nagradi,

 

For the hardship and affliction

Ne shte dotegnem I s klishetata

 

We do not seek rewards,

Na tomovete ti gramadi,

 

Nor do we want our pictures

Natrupani prez vekovete.

 

In the calendar of years.

 

 

 

No razkazhi sqs dumi prosti

 

Just tell our story simply

Na tyah, na bqdeshtite hora,

 

To those we shall not see,

Koite shte poemat posta ni,

 

Tell those who will replace us-

Che nie hrabro sme se borili.

 

We fought courageously.

translated from Bulgarian

Peter Tempest


Last modified: November 6, 1997

p-miltenoff@nwu.edu