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Lina Kostenko turns 94: what the legendary Ukrainian poetess wrote about the war and how she warned the world. 10 quotes

Lina Kostenko knew about the great war with Russia and warned the world

On Tuesday, March 19, the legendary Ukrainian poetess, dissident writer, and Shevchenko Prize winner Lina Kostenko celebrates her 94th birthday. Her prophetic and painfully true lines inspired generations to love and fight for their country even when the war was something long forgotten to them.

Lina Kostenko's poetry and prose, in particular, raised brave warriors and defenders who are fighting back against the invaders now. OBOZ.UA decided to recall how the famous figure warned the world about the war and what she wrote about Ukraine.

The lines about the "little gray man" in 2015 contained a powerful message to the world that was ignored at the time. Lina Kostenko called on her partners to respond to Russia's atrocities before the war reaches them.

"And horror, and blood, and death, and despair,

And the clamor of a predatory horde,

A little gray man

Has caused a black misfortune.

It is a beast of hideous breed,

The Loch Ness of the cold Neva.

Where are you looking, people?

Today it's us, and tomorrow it's you," the Ukrainian wrote.

Lina Kostenko turns 94: what the legendary Ukrainian poetess wrote about the war and how she warned the world. 10 quotes

In an interview in 2022, Lina Kostenko admitted that she had never felt hatred for other nations, but Russia was an exception. She once described her attitude toward the terrorist nation by saying, "Every nation has its own diseases. Russia has an incurable one."

The legend of Ukrainian literature also foresaw the "division" of her country between its neighbors.

"We are crucified between the West and the East.

A hungry eagle is going to bite our liver.

Save my people, dear fate,

So that it can fight back," the writer prophesied in Berestechko.

In the same work, the Ukrainian explained why the state had such a hard time all along its history.

"We are warriors. We are not lazy. We are not idle.

And our goal is righteous and holy.

No matter who stands for what, we stand for independence.

That's why it's so hard for us," the poet wrote.

Lina Kostenko turns 94: what the legendary Ukrainian poetess wrote about the war and how she warned the world. 10 quotes

Having lived through World War II, the period of repression, the establishment of independence, and many revolutions, Lina Kostenko knew better than anyone what fate awaited her people.

"History is written on a table.

We write it on our land with blood.

We write with a plow, a saber, a sword,

With songs and slave cries," the Ukrainian wrote.

Lina Kostenko admitted that she had been aware of Russia's attack on Ukraine throughout the years of independence. When the first missiles flew at the Kyiv region, she took up her pen.

"The dawns are choked with blood and smoke.

The empire bends its predatory spine.

Tanks crawl randomly along the roads,

With swastika hiding in the letter Z," the writer described the events of 2022.

Although the author herself did not leave her native country, many Ukrainians had to go abroad. Her piercing words resonate with this mass emigration:

"I say goodbye to my native land

In silence, in pious silence...

The sun has cut the wheat in the evening

And left the edge over the field".

Lina Kostenko turns 94: what the legendary Ukrainian poetess wrote about the war and how she warned the world. 10 quotes

Soldiers on the front line also found a special meaning in the poet's lines. One of them recalled the poem Kryla (Wings), which emphasizes that a spiritually rich person is capable of anything. Including heroic deeds for the sake of the country.

"Who has the wings

Doesn't need the ground

When land is missed

He'll fly around," Lina Kostenko wrote back in 1958.

In peacetime, the poet called for a full life but warned that bad times were still ahead:

"It is as it is. And it can be worse,

Or maybe even very, very bad.

And while your mind is not yet troubled

Don't be a slave and laugh like Rabelais!"

In conclusion, we would like to recall the current poetry of the 94-year-old legend, written under the influence of the great war with Russia. These lines are perhaps the most inspirational for the poet's contemporaries and will be studied by more than one generation of Ukrainians.

"The walls shook. Explosions rattled many hours.

Sirens howled. Lightning flashed on the glass.

So what should we do? Run away? Hide in a shelter?

Let it be the Kremlin's fuhrer who'll wait till his death!

Let him be afraid... He is already doomed.

If they sow bombs, they will reap hatred.

Sirens will howl. But I am not afraid.

He who does not run away will not be caught," the poetess wrote.

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The farewell lasted three hours, and the ceremony was attended by many of the writer's famous friends