Still reading Ukrainian writer Taras Prokhasko, whose essays from FB Galicia are included in the anthology Writing from Ukraine: Fiction, Poetry and Essays Since 1965, edited by Mark Andryczyk.
So glad that I decided to bring this book along during this brief visit to Ireland:
As for difficult times — they disappear when you fathom that the day is a gift. Because just by possessing that day, you have received something. And you believe that your day is better than other possible similar days. You just need to understand that if you are hungry today, then it is because you were full yesterday and will be full tomorrow. And it is the same with coldness, pain, despair, fear, and other real things, which let you know that you are alive. The greatest wisdom, then, is the simple, daily prayer, given to us, without any expectation of gratitude: Lord! Thy will be done, not mine.
The excerpt below is from an essay in Prokhasko’s series FM Galicia.
There is no truer method for organizing one’s everyday life than wisely adhering to phenology — to the flow of changes in the seasons. If you implement this methodology, you needn’t worry about your mind — it will be free of confusion. And now everything that you do will contain that special joy of making sense. Food will be better, dreams more interesting, and autumn flowing through you.
Prypiat was a Ukrainian city that was born in 1970 (its founding) and died in 1986 (after Chernobyl). Reason for Death: Acute Radiation Syndrome.
In 1995, the Ukrainian writer Yuri Andrukhovych visited the site.
Most unforgettable that day were . . . the catfish in the canal near the Nuclear Power Plant. They were the size of dolphins, or sharks, and this is nature’s categorically harsh answer to man . . .
Gazing at fish in water is one of my favorite and constant activities. I’ve had very few opportunities to do this in my life. One, for example, came in Nuremberg, another — in Regensburg. I think it was in Nuremberg that I came to the conclusion that Europe is a land in which fish live well. I would not have come to this conclusion if I hadn’t been in Nuremberg precisely at that time, in the summer of 1995. If I hadn’t stood on those bridges time and again and I hadn’t gazed down deep into the river to see how fish slowly move just above its bottom . . . I’m not sure if they really live all that well. But they definitely live long: no one catches them or kills them, in fear of the undeniable danger of radiation. How long is Silurus glanis, a normal (non-radioactive) catfish, supposed to live? According to several sources, up to one hundred years. This fish can live longer than any other fish found in our rivers and waters. Only moss-covered carp can live longer . . .
— The Star Absinthe: Notes on a Bitter Anniversary, by Yuri Andrukhovych
The essay, which is quite long, fascinates self with the movement from carp to Ukrainian nationalism.
If Sweden “hadn’t created such a ruckus,” the West wouldn’t have known about the disaster. Also, around that time, “Poland had stopped being a friend and was increasingly turning away, westward. This time it turned away from a radioactive cloud — holding its breath and fastidiously holding its nose.”
Fascinating piece. It’s in the anthology Writing from Ukraine: Fiction, Poetry and Essays since 1965, edited by Mark Andryczyk.
— translated from the Ukrainian by Askold Melnyczuk
Books we’ve never read are opening for us. Towns shimmer in the night air. Cold dawns. Warm autumn train stations. The roads turn like pages. Eyes reddened by wind.
Marjana Savka is a writer, publisher, community activist, and chief editor and co-founder of Vydavny Staroha Leva (Old Lion Publishing House). Born in the village of Kopychyntsi, Ternopil oblast, she currently lives and works in Lviv. Savka is the author of the poetry collections Oholeni rusla (Naked River Beds, 1995), Hirka mandrahora (Bitter Mandragora, 2002), Kokhannia i viina (Love and War, 2002, together with Marianna Kiianovska).
Kyiv – Even the statues are leaving. For decades, the stone and bronze busts of Fyodor Ushakov and Alexander Suvorov, a pair of 18th-century Russian commanders, looked over the centre of Kherson, a city in Ukraine’s south. In late October, under the cover of darkness, they disappeared, presumably carried off by the Russian troops who have occupied the city since March. The living are on the move, too. The puppet authorities installed by the Russians are evacuating thousands of the city’s remaining residents across the Dnieper river, deeper into Russian-controlled territory. Some Russian officers are following in their footsteps. They are not packing light. Ukrainian officials say cash has been removed from the vaults of Promsvyazbank, the biggest Russian bank in the city. Looting has become common.
In a cattle car on the way to the gas chambers are an assortment of characters: a librarian, an accountant, a “shy girl” and David, “a boy.”
Each of these characters gets a section in their point of view. David gets whole chapters. He was visiting his grandmother in Ukraine when the war caught him. Swept up in the pogroms, his grandmother died in the ghetto, and David was put into a cattle car bound for a gas chamber.
During the night he shouted out: “Mummy, Mummy, Mummy!” His mother woke up. As she came towards him, she was like a white cloud in the darkness. He yawned blissfully, knowing that the strongest power in the whole world was now defending him from the darkness of the forest.
Mr. Putin has reportedly insisted that his generals hold Kherson city at all costs. Ukraine has been exploiting this stubbornness by destroying bridges and so pinning Russian troops down in what appear to be indefensible positions with their backs against the Dnieper river. The Russian forces there are now in danger of encirclement with no obvious way to retreat. Surrender may be their only option.
Self will still post, though no more joining photo challenges, as WordPress informed her that she had exceeded her storage limit by 120%. This is a really, really long-lasting blog: when she started it, son was still in Cal Poly/San Luis Obispo. She doesn’t want to do what she did last year: She coughed up $300 just so WordPress wouldn’t keep threatening to take her blog down. This year, she paid $96 for the “premium” plan which just means she gets to keep her blog. But she’s not a business; who knows how much longer she’ll be able to keep this up.
Her quote of the day is from the latest issue of The Economist:
In the years to come, NATO armed forces will queue at the door of Ukraine’s general staff to learn from the commanders who halted the Russian army’s march on Kyiv and Odessa and inflicted more than 60,000 casualties in six months of war.