World Academy of Carpatho-Rusyn Culture


Irina Hardi-Kovachevich

Irina Hardi-Kovachevich (b. 1944) was born in Ruski Kerestur in what was then Yugoslavia. As she grew up, she was immersed in Rusyn language and customs. After completing Rusyn school, she studied South Slavic literature at the University of Novi Sad. She worked as an actor for the Djadja theater company and as a journalist for the Rusyn newspaper Ruske slovo. From 1965 until 1984 she was an editor of the newspaper and from 1984 to 1987 she occupied the position of editor-in-chief. She then took a position at the Serbian daily Dnevnyk as cultural editor.

During the wars that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia, Hardi-Kovachevich reported on the economic, political and social upheavals taking place and felt the effects of the wartime hardships on her own life and that of her family. Her stories covered the refugees from Bosnia and the battles in Vukovar, among other terrors of the war. She told an interviewer, "A difficult situation arose in Kosovo and people from Kosovo began to take refuge in Novi Sad. The Vojvodina, where we live, is multi-national and one would only need to strike a match to set off a bomb. … There were strikes and demonstrations, and they were all covered by the newspaper. When Milosevic rose to power, we were all accused of being anti-Serb and so forth. From that time until my retirement in 1999 I worked as an independent journalist."

Hardi-Kovachevich began writing poetry in college, and her first poems appeared in youth magazines. She has published three books of poetry, На дланi зеренко (A Seed in the Hand, 1969), Безмена явa (Nameless Reality 1980), and Єднозложносц (Unanimity 2004), and three books of stories for children. She has also written drama. In preparation is a collection of stories on themes from Rusyn folklore.

Hardi-Kovachevich's work suggests a poet who is well versed in European literature and in the art of free verse. Her lyrics display thoughtfulness, insight, and a wry sense of humor. She takes as her subject everyday objects (a mug, a ring, a twig, a box, a banknote) and gives them voice and life. She takes concepts and emotions (mystery, possibility, friendship, joy, fear) and offers perspicacious reflections on their meaning and their personal implication for her. The result is an original contemplative worldview, which she expresses in simple language and concrete imagery. In the section "Baviska" (Amusement), she also demonstrates a talent for untranslatable modernist sound and word play.

Her poems have been translated into Serbian, Macedonian, Slovak, Italian, Hungarian, Slovenian, Albanian, and Romanian.


Зачало космос
и народзело Бога.
Тропари шпивало
и пасторали,
страх задавало

За пустиньскима пастирами ходзело,
у колiсанки росло,
на боiсках оставало,
на вичносц опоминало.

Списане плацели млади глави,
бешедоване --
розпукнути стари шерца.
Плач дзецка даремни
кед го мацеробо перши
нє накармя.
Яловеє и нашенє чловека
кед нє виключка
у жени.

Зоз златом злацене,
зоз златом плацене --
шведочи о чловекови.


It began the universe
and gave birth to God.
It sang hymns
and pastorals.
it inspired fear.

QIt followed shepherds through deserts,
it grew in the cradle,
it survived battles,
it preserved for all eternity.

Written, it made young heads pay,
it made old hearts burst.
The child cries in vain
when it is not nurtured
by mother's breast.
It renders the seed of man infertile
if it does not spring up
in a woman.

Gilded with gold,
paid for with gold-
it bears witness to man.


Вошла до литератури
як златна,
як мироносна,
як дозрета краса.

До нас вошла як мудросц власна.

О ярнiх водох,
и кадзи вони
през лєто
цихо є.

?????????Злєгує з плєцами жем
ровнодушна же ше на ню
висипує кошари
ютрейшого гною.

У своєй вичносци
одховала прешвеченє
до ютрейшого квитнуца.


It came to literature
as mature beauty.

To us it came as our own wisdom.

About spring waters,
and about where they flowed
over the summer,
it is silent.

Earth shrugs its shoulders,
indifferent that
upon it gush
buckets of tomorrow's manure.

In its eternity
it preserves a belief
in future blossoming.


Там дзе зме нє були
и дзе нiгда не будземе,
крашнє жиц.

Тото цо зме нє мали
и цо бизме сцели,
крашнє шнiц.

Збити у кратким,
намагаме ше
ґу вичносци.

Звязани з ню
як за делєкосц нєба гвизди,


Where we have not been
and where we will never be
is a better life.

What we have not had
and what we may have wanted
is a better dream.

Stuck in the short-term,
we still strive
for eternity.

Bound to it
as the stars to the distant sky,
we grieve.


Чловекова душа вселена.
Премерац ю по димензийох
познатих з физики
нє мож.

У нєй ше шветлосц
шицких слункох потраци,
у нєй заблукаю ґалаксиi
и отворя чарни дзири,
зорву катаклизми
з котрих настанє
нови швет.

Вона идеал можлiви
за совершену уметносц:
єдинство часу и простору,
єдинство форми и змиста,
єдинство даваня и приманя,
початок и конєц єствованя
-- або цошка цалком инше!


Man's soul is the universe.
To measure its dimensions
in physical terms
is impossible.

But in it the light
of all suns is lost,
in it galaxies lose their way
and black holes open,
cataclysms erupt
from which will emerge
-a new world.

Perhaps it is a model
for perfect art:
the unity of time and space,
the unity of form and content,
the unity of giving and receiving,
the beginning and the end of existence
-or something completely different!


Писня сом нєба,
висоти и шлєбоди!

З далєкосцу у пирю
виволуєм зависц
вельких на жеми
за ню прикованих.

Будучносц у моiм оку:
з нiм ловим судьбу
зарна котре нє постанє квет,
и трави цо будзе мой дом.

О тим я шпивам,
док зривам
Икаров сон.

З каждим ме єством
вяже тот страх
котри нас претвори
соловей постава ловар,
а зоз ловара


I am the song of heaven,
the heights, and freedom!

Flying through space in feathers
I call forth the envy
of the great ones on the earth
who are bound to it.

In my eye is the future:
I catch the fate
of the seed that will not become a flower,
of the grass that will become my home.

Of this I sing,
as I awaken to
the dream of Icarus.

With each being
I am bound by the fear
that transforms us:
the nightingale becomes a predator,
and the predator becomes
a bat.


бо нє знаш цо робиш,
бо це совисц нє пече,
и нє муча зли сни.

Твой швет з иншаких габох
и у нiм ци просте
и чисте, пред Богом
и людзми.

Мой швет розуменя
за тих цо су пред собу нєвиновати,
за тих цо нє маю
з чим я народзена.

Жадам остац шлєбодна
од зависци, мержнi и гнiву
з видогладами любови
пред собу.


I forgive you,
because you know not what you do,
because your conscience does not burn,
and you do not suffer bad dreams.

Your world is made of different waves
in it all is simple
and pure before God
and man.

Mine is a world of concern
for those who are innocent,
for those who do not have
what I was born with.

I wish to remain free
of envy, spite, and anger
with the viewpoint of love
before me.


Виновати зме пред собу
и пред другима
за боль задати!

Тото цо вредзи
вше лєгко кaлiчиц
у себе
и у других.

Алє, як шведочиц
о живоце
кед го не жиеш?

Як знаш цо ци значи
дацо цо маш,
без поровнаня
з тим кед го
ище нє було,
або з тим
кед го уж нєт?


We are guilty before ourselves
and before others
for causing pain!

That which injures
can easily cripple
and others.

But, how does one witness
to life
when one is not living?

How do you know what it means
to have something,
unless you compare
with one
who has never had it,
or with one
who has it no longer?

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