198th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko, stolen statue unveiling & Ukrainian Literature day

Taras Shevchenko monument in Washington DC

Today is the 198th anniversary of who many regard as the Ukrainian linguistic and artisanal architect, Taras Shevchenko. Fresh off a quick cameo on TV show ‘House’, his statue that was stolen from an Oakville park a decade ago was recovered last month and is on display now at the museum that bares his name in Bloor West Village, and will also have his official unveiling ceremony tomorrow from 4-6pm.

Today is also Ukrainian literature day and everyone is encouraged to read, and we’ve suggested some great books on the topic.

My Testament (Zapovit)

When I am dead, bury me
In my beloved Ukraine,
My tomb upon a grave mound high
Amid the spreading plain,
So that the fields, the boundless steppes,
The Dnieper’s plunging shore
My eyes could see, my ears could hear
The mighty river roar.

When from Ukraine the Dnieper bears
Into the deep blue sea
The blood of foes … then will I leave
These hills and fertile fields –
I’ll leave them all and fly away
To the abode of God,
And then I’ll pray …. But till that day
I nothing know of God.

Oh bury me, then rise ye up
And break your heavy chains
And water with the tyrants’ blood
The freedom you have gained.
And in the great new family,
The family of the free,
With softly spoken, kindly word
Remember also me.

Taras Shevchenko
Pereyaslav, December 25, 1845
Translated by John Weir Toronto, 1961

[Shevchenko Museum]

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