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THE ROMAN ALPHABET (poem) - Andriy Bondar - Ukraine - Poetry International
 
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The Roman Alphabet
I’ve long had
the urge
to write at least one poem
using the roman alphabet

one of my friends thinks
that if we switch to the roman alphabet
our people will steal less
and immediately
our messy byzantinisms
our obnoxious sovietisms our endless ugro-finnisms
(sorry ugrics, sorry finns)
will disappear and something will snap in our heads
– and “voila!” we are part of europe

and another of my friends feels
that if we switch to the roman alphabet
we will automatically be better understood
by western slavs
all kinds of poles and czechs
(and even germans will suddenly respect us)
and even if they don’t actually understand us any better
at least it might appear
that they could understand us better

and another of my friends feels
that we should start switching to the roman alphabet
gradually starting from Western Ukraine
where the ground, that is the soil, that is the people
are better prepared for this
since they travel to italy and portugal to work
and know europe not only second hand
but from their own experiences
doing the hardest work, filled with deepest envy, facing sheer ingratitude

and Mykola Riabchuk who writes essays on politics
for whom I have the greatest respect
(notice I did not capitalize italy or portugal, but I capitalize his name)
feels that in order for ukraine to survive between east and west
it must shrink to digestible dimensions
that is to the 6 regions west of the river zbruch
I argued with him for a long time
trying to justify why vinnytsky, zhytomyrsky
and my own native khmelnytsky regions should be added to the list
but you know how smart Mykola Riabchuk is
once he thinks of something that’s that

only bukovyna will find this convenient
it will automatically switch to the roman alphabet
when it becomes a part of greater romania
or even if it only joins little moldova
it will be forced to  to switch to the roman alphabet

if every living ukrainian poet
writes one poem in the roman alphabet
it will be possible to make an anthology
of contemporary ukrainian poetry written in the roman alphabet
what a pity that Ivan Malkovych won’t be able to write a poem
about the crescent moon of the letter є
and the slender candle of the letter ї