Vera Rich--British


Vera Rich
(1936-    )


Rich was born in England in 1936.  She is an expert on Byelorussian literature and is one of the foremost translators of poetry Polish, Russian and Ukrainian.  She was educated at St. Hilda’s College at Oxford and London’s Bedford College.  Rich has published three books of original poetry, several volumes of translations and translations of poetry from Old English and Old Norse.  She also has been involved in translating scientific works from Russian and Ukrainian and has worked as a Soviet correspondent.  Rich frequently lectures on Slavonic literatures internationally.

Aberporth, 1940

It was not rockets then, but the great-mouthed guns
Sharp through November air. (I in my dress
Of knitted red, brown-skinned still from the sun's
Last kisses, dancing to the wind's caress
On the high cliffs; three years, and one of war
Were all my life), guns sharp and chill as the dew,
And the scarlet sleeve where the Anson chugged before,
And the scarlet sleeve trailing across the blue.

It was not rockets then, only the guns
Echoing sharp as lances on the green
Shield of the hills.... Long years back, I forgot
All else, but the greenshield hills where an echo runs
In a cascade of trumpets, sea like sheen
Of silk, and the sleeve a gage from Camelot.

Should You Ask Me...

Should you ask me of D-Day, I would say
'Cataracts', for that night the sky roared, pulsing
Wave upon wave of heavy-bellied engines;
And afterwards, in blue morning, crimson roses,
I found, had fallen from their fence-board moorings,
Falling, cascading – not like blood, nor rubies,
Nor fire, nor any metaphor...
                          just roses,
A waterfall of English roses...

                          Then Came the third cataract, a lone lark singing,
High, high above the empty plane-ways, hidden
Among the sunbeams...