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Amateur translation from Ukrainian to English of the poem "Каменярі" ("Kamenyari") written by Іван Франко (Ivan Franko) in 1878.
I had a dream. Like there is ahead
And endless, empty and the wildest plane.
And I stand there, held by iron chain,
Under the tall rock made from finest granite
And next to me are thousands just like me.
The face of everyone is marked by woe and sorrow,
And eyes of everyone contain fervor of love.
And hands of everyone are chained with snakes of iron,
And every shoulder's bent low to the ground,
Because a scary burden crushes all us down.
And everyone holds heavy iron hammer,
And loud voice from above sounds like a raging thunder:
"Thou split this rock! Allow no cold, nor heat
To stop you! Suffer pain, and thirst, and hunger,
Because you are to break this rock apart!"
And all, like one, upthrusted their hands,
And thousands hammers started working on the rock.
And thousand fragments flied in all directions,
We hit the cliff with force of desperation
Time after time still beating on that crag.
Like growl of waterfall, like roar of bloody battle,
Again our hammers clattered and again
And inch by inch we conquered bigger space,
Though lots of us were crippled by those crags,
We carried on, and nothing could impede us.
Knew everyone that we would get no glory,
We wouldn't be remembered in the end.
That only then would people walk this road,
When rock was battered, leveled everywhere,
And our bones stopped rotting underneath.
We didn't want the glory for the doing,
We are no heroes looking for the fame.
No, we are servants, though at free will's guidance
We took these bonds. Became the slaves of choice,
At future's way we are just the stonebreakers.
We all believed that we will break the rock
With our hands, we'll shatter the granite.
With our broken bones and our blood
We'll lay a firm foundation, and right after
New life, new hope will come into this world.
And we all knew that far in world of ours,
Which we abandoned for the labor, sweat and bonds,
Hot tears were cried by wives, and sons, and mothers.
That wrathful and irate, our enemies and rivals,
Cursed us, and our purpose, our cause.
We knew it, and that thought was often painful,
The sorrow stroke, and heart was torn apart.
But neither tears, nor grief, nor burning pain
Not even curses stalled us from the work,
And never someone let his hammer out.
So there we went, united all as one
By sacred dream, with hammers in our hands.
Let us be cursed and totally forsaken!
We break this rock, we make the path for truth,
And happiness for all will walk on our bones.
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