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A Poem by Hristo Botev : Stranger

Hristo-Botev-circa-1875

Stranger

Hurry, stranger, quickly come
to your father’s home at last,
do a dance before his home,
join the dance the pass across.
‘Welcome’ you will hear them say –
children, grandmas and that throng;
and the girls – they dance away –
following their young friends’ songs.
It doesn’t matter if it’s true
the one you loved takes someone else,
there are other girls for you –
you’ve set good value on yourself.
Your aged mother will come out
to meet the son for whom she’s cared.
How she’ll weep and cry aloud:
‘My long lost son comes from abroad.’
Then you’ll embrace her aged bones,
she’ll hold a man so close to her.
You’ll listen to your mother’s groans,
you’ll listen to her simple words.
But don’t start weeping when you find
how your first love weds another –
there’s news of quite a different kind
about your father and your brothers.
Your father by the Turks was shot,
your brothers – both of them as well –
were cast away where they would rot –
wasting in a prison cell.
It doesn’t matter. You’re alive.
A father, soon, you’re sure to be.
God above will see you thrive
as you raise your family.
There – you weep. That’s womanly.
Weeping is a woman’s due –
for woman or the poor and hungry:
but hunger, rags, are not for you.
Say then: ‘May their souls be blessed’
to priests in all their finery;
to your table bring your guests –
and ever be what you have been.
Choose a wife who’s sweet and warm
or an ugly one who’ll pay your debts,
bleed your children by the swarm
and feed them on the poor man’s sweat.
This is how a fool can’t help
but pass his life in good repute;
he never needs to ask himself
whether he’s human or a brute.

 

Hristo Botev

Христо Ботев

The monument of Hristo Botev in Kalofer

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