Dictators, kings, emperors
fainting in the vapour of vanity
opened their muzzles, large as craters
“We are the symbols of humanity!
Who’s not with us is against God!
Who’s not with us is against all!
We incarnate the era.”
Their piddling laurels fell
at their spindly bloody feet.
A band of cripples serving as jesters
sell themselves for a bowl of porridge
and feed the vanity of their masters.
Idols kissed and salivated over
go pompously shuffling their gait.
All the while near them — uncrowned —
the real leaders wait.
Copernicus and Giordano Bruno,
Shevchenko proudly raises his brow.
No lackeys near them,
for the sincere high heaven
cannot be painted over with a mop.
For glory, true and eternal, does not need a prop.
Перекладач: M. Bohachevsky-Chomiak