To the Seeker after Fame, a Warning
Together with your name and vile cunning
You’ll slip into obscurity and shame.
The Fame you crave forever will elude you—
Forsooth, she scorns her suitor’s earthly reign.
Vasyl’ Symonenko, 1935 – 1963, Ukrainian poet, journalist and dissident. He was a pioneer of the 1960s and 70s literary resistance movement (the Shestydesiatnyky) to a chauvinistic Soviet regime’s political and cultural oppression of Ukraine. His best and strongest poems were not published in his homeland, except as samvydav: single copies were typed and retyped by friends and colleagues and circulated beneath the censor’s radar. Often works of such writers were smuggled out of the country and published by the diaspora. After his untimely death, the crackdown on his samvydav poetry grew and later the suppression of his works became near total as they were deemed ‘incompatible’ with the party line…
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