World Academy of Carpatho-Rusyn Culture


Papharhaji, Ahneta Buchko

Ahneta Buchko Papharhaji born in 1951 in Croatia, Ahneta Buchko Papharhaji works as an editor for children's programs at Radio Novi Sad. She is known primarily as a poet, with four published collections of verse to her credit: Облак одхилєни (A Window Slightly Opened, 1973); Птица у цмоти (A Bird in the Dark, 1977); Позни рики (Late Rivers, 1984); Дзешец печаци цихоцси (Ten Burning Silences, 1989). Her fifth book, Спокуси Злополя (Temptations of Zlopolje), is in press (2005). Her poems have been translated into Serbian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Hungarian, and Romanian, and are included in anthologies of Yugoslav poetry published in Spanish in Mexico and in Hindu and English in India. She has received numerous awards for her work, and she is the first and only Rusyn poetess to receive the prestigious award "Seal of the City of Srimski Karlovci" (1978).

In his History of Rusyn Literature, Iulian Tamash writes: "Ahneta Buchko's lyrics are an attempt to reach what is inaccessible, but what might be accessible, for it is right at hand. Тhe contrasts of sometime–now, village–town, window slightly open–window closed describe the coordinates that situate her poetry in the contexts of ruralism, of elegaic intonations for the loss of happiness and the idyll of childhood. Ahneta Buchko cannot suppress a simultaneous unrest and girlish friskiness, for in her verse live the spiritual motions of a child who thirsts for a toy and the simultaneously burgeoning experiences of a mature woman, which creates conflict within the lyrical subject."


Lavish, wonderful fields.
The green-yellow world
pecks at the red poppies.
A brief beauty!
The passions of life!
Passion is but a moment.
Another thorn.
Like a beast that pulls out the thorn and
licks its wound,
each morning we face the sun.
How many new thorns lie ahead?
But we believe in the red poppy.
We are its fruitand its moment.
Relative to whom?
Relative to what?

In contrast to the feminine lyrical intonations of her earlier work, her latest poetry in Temptations of Zlopolje is dominated by the tragedy of the recent war in Croatia and its effects on the Rusyns of that area. Bearing in mind this unhappy history, she has begun to create artistic, philosophical, and entertaining literature for children. Through brilliant imagery and captivating illustrations, her tales in Стриберни мотиль и други сказки (The Silver Butterfly and Other Stories, 2004) assure children that wonders still exist in the world, while they point to deeper realities and transcendent truths.

"The Silver Butterfly"

It was late autumn. The last flowers had faded and the world was preparing for winter. A butterfly with beautifully colored wings gaily flew around an autumn flower.
-- You're still merry, and winter is almost here! Aren't you afraid of the frost? – the flower asked him.
-- No! The sun is still so lovely!
-- But nature has decided otherwise.
-- I don't care about nature! I don't want to live only as larva, caterpillar and butterfly. I want to live forever!
-- That is your destiny! That's what it is! – said the flower and folded its petals before the approaching twilight gloom.
Night fell. The wind blew louder and louder. The butterfly could not fly and its wings shuddered. It saw an illuminated window. When it landed on the window pane it saw a girl in a warm house playing with her toys.
-- How lovely! – thought the butterfly, attaching itself even more tightly to the glass.
The girl looked at the window and saw something tiny and beautiful. She opened the window and into the room flew the butterfly.
-- How lovely! Surely it has experienced more interesting things than I in this house with these toys – thought the girl.
-- How warm and pleasant! What wonderful toys! – thought the butterfly when it had warmed its wings inside.
-- Will you stay with me?
-- Yes! I want to live like you, and all through the winter I want to live in this beauty – said the butterfly, settling on an artificial flower.
And sleep overtook him. When the girl looked at the beautiful butterfly again with half-closed eyes from her bed, there was only silence and sleep in the room.
And the girl dreamed that she was a butterfly, flying through a broad meadow from flower to flower with other butterflies. She joyfully greeted various insects, birds, animals and plants. They played and talked about incredible sunny adventures. Oh, how beautiful and enchanting it was!
The butterfly dreamed that it was a girl living in a warm house, dressed nicely, playing with various toys. The marvelous colors of these toys – dolls, both large and small, various animals that you didn't have to fear, and blocks from which you could build anything imaginable. And no frost!
Oh, truly, this was beautiful and enchanting!
In the morning when the first rays of the autumn sun struck the window, it saw the mingled dreams of the girl and the butterfly.
-- What are you doing here? -- the girl-butterfly asked the butterfly-girl.
-- What about you? Why are you here? – the butterfly-girl asked the girl-butterfly.
-- Who am I? A girl or a butterfly?
-- Who am I? A butterfly or a girl?
Two questions from two different worlds and two points of view collided in the moment of awakening.
The door opened and mother came in. The girl shouted:
-- I'm a butterfly! A butterfly!
-- I'm a girl! I'm a girl!" – cried the butterfly.
The mother stopped.
-- Did you dream that you were a butterfly? See, you let one come in last night!
-- Will I be a butterfly again the next time I dream?
-- Everyone can be only what she is! Open the window and let in the fresh air – said the mother, and she left for work.
The girl opened the window and in came the autumn sun.
The butterfly fluttered past and flew out.
Then the toys were brought out and the window was closed.
As night approached, the frost became more bitter. Just before sleep the girl thought about the butterfly and looked at the window.
On the window pane lay a silver butterfly.
-- That's my butterfly! – she cried, as she jumped up to touch it. It was frozen and colorless and it seemed to be looking through the glass somewhere into the warm room, into another world.
-- Close the window! Don't you see how cold it is? There is already frost on the window! – said mother, when she saw the girl at the window. She didn't notice with what hope the girl was looking at the silver butterfly.
That night the butterfly flew from the window to the girl's bed. The dreams began again.
And so every winter, when the frosts come, the silver butterfly looks far and wide for the girl to try to trade dreams, and it sticks to the frozen window.

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