The sun
like a white stone
on the water
a chain swinging
the nameless day
invigorated us
with shimmering pornography
waking up
from a periwinkle night
into prophetic life
        Vira, Nadia, Liubov
        Sofia’s children
        God grant happiness
        it is still the day
        of a single sun

My world
is not somebody else’s word
it is a piece of space
in the absolute
a prayer
for departed souls
who still molder in the earth
a green light
to future centuries
in the archetypical
image of life

It’s me again
it’s they again
as in a mirror
two sides
belonging to no one
torn from the absolute

maestro plays
for four hands
the touch of glass
cools on the face
or they
bridges torn

let’s go further

it’s already standing
on a hill that house
which was supposed
to be safe for us
it spreads its wings
into the green
and calls
continually calls
for a prayer
that may create it

That which never repeats
was repeated
the river and the water
only the years
pass by
and we don’t have ourselves
only in ourselves
we bear our image
which repeats
as we stand
facing ourselves

we say nothing
for we know everything
for all time


On my palm three candles
the evening poured
blackness into the flame
I was telling fortunes
onto the stony path
Lemko word
I set off


or only me split in two
Whose names
are written in us
where is my land
and where is the one that gave birth to me
how many generations will pass
below me
above me
grasses dry out

is it only yearning
or is it hope


it’s late
white birds leave the earth
our faithfulness
smells like the northern wind
hug tighter
distant sorrow
the spindle of barefoot steps
in the willows
squeeze a drop of dew in your fingers
the heart of night rejoices
in the hollow of the hand

Step after step

in the white snow
the hour
when there are no
or shadows
barking of dogs
clanging of chains
The first furrow is stretched
along the boundary
there is only the fear
of returning


people went
to the mountain
to pray to the sun
people have sold the sun
and think
it is easier to live

Olena Duc-Fajfer is a native Lemko literary scholar, art historian, editor, poet. She is the head of the Department of Russian Literature at the Institute of East Slavonic Philology at Jagiellonian University and founder of Lemko philology at the Pedagogical University in Cracow, where she taught Lemko language, culture and literature. Between 2005 and 2014 she served as a representative for Lemkos on the Joint Commission of the Government and National and Ethnic Minorities. Her research interests include literature and ethnicity, ethnic minority literature, minority discourses, intercultural relations, the anthropology of literature, and the revitalization of endangered cultures and languages. She is the author of 250 academic publications, including the monographs Lemko Literature in the Second Half of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century (Kraków 2001). She actively promotes the Lemko language and culture throughout the world.

Bogdan Horbal is a historian, librarian, and curator of Slavic and East European Collections at the New York Public Library. He holds a Ph.D. in history (University of Wrocław, 2005) and an MLS (Queens College, CUNY, 1999). Horbal is interested in the evolution of Lemko people in both Europe and North America. He authored four monographs, including Działalność polityczna Łemków na Łemkowszczyźnie 1918-1921 (1997), Лемківска народна музыка на восковых циліндрах (1901-1913) і американьскых рекордах (1928-1930)/Lemko Folk Music on Wax Cylinders and American Records (1901-1930) (2008 with Walter Maksimovich); Lemko Studies: A Handbook (2010, reprint 2023), and Бортне – Село з Каміня, 2 vols. (2017). He also wrote many articles, including almost 200 entries for the Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture (2002; 2nd rev. and exp. ed. 2005; Ukrainian ed. 2010) and presented papers at numerous conferences.

Elaine Rusinko, professor emerita at the University of Maryland, earned a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literature from Brown University. She began her scholarly work with articles on modernist Russian poetry. Later, she turned to the culture of her own Carpatho-Rusyn ancestry, publishing translations, articles, a volume of conference presentations, and the first comprehensive English-language history of Rusyn literature, Straddling Borders: Literature and Identity in Subcarpathian Rus’ (2003). More recently, she began to explore the ethnic background of the most famous Rusyn-American, Andy Warhol, with studies that explore his reception in the Rusyn homeland of his parents, his ancestry, his religious background, and his mother. My biography, Andy Warhol’s Mother: Julia Warhola and the Rusyn-American Immigrant Experience, is currently in press at the University of Pittsburgh.

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