Ukrainian poet Volodymyr Sosiura (1898-1965) in his poem “Love Ukraine” (1944) stated that one cannot respect other nations without respect for one’s own.
Love Ukraine by Volodymyr Sosiura (1944)
Love your Ukraine, love as you would the sun,
The wind, the grasses and the streams together…
Love her in happy hours, when joys are won,
And love her in her time of stormy weather.
Love her in happy dreams and when awake,
Ukraine in spring’s white cherry-blossom veil.
Her beauty is eternal for your sake ;
Her speech is tender with the nightingale.
As in a garden of fraternal races,
She shines above the ages. Love Ukraine
With all your heart, and with exultant faces
Let all your deeds her majesty maintain.
For us she rides alone on history’s billows,
In the sweet charm of space she rules apart,
For she is in the stars, is in the willows,
And in each pulse-beat of her people’s heart,
In flowers and tiny birds, and lights that shine,
In every epic and in every song,
In a child’s smile, in maidens’ eyes divine,
And in the purple flags above the throng…
Youth ! For her sake give your approving laughter,
Your tears, and all you are until you die…
For other races you’ll not love hereafter
Unless you love Ukraine and hold her high.
Young woman ! As you would her sky of blue,
Love her each moment that your days remain.
Your sweetheart will not keep his love for you,
Unless he knows you also love Ukraine.
Love her in love, in labour, and in fight,
As if she were a song at heaven’s portal…
Love her with all your heart and all your might,
And with her glory we shall be immortal.
Translated by C.H. Andrusyshen and Watson Kirkconnell
“The Ukrainian Poets, 1189-1962.” University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 1963.
In 2012, Oleksandr Hontar filmed a video where twelve people from nine different countries all around the world tell fragment of this poem. Almost all them are couchsurfers that stopped at Oleksandr’s place, and also foreign students from his university. During trips around Kyiv Oleksandr asked them to say a couple of lines from the poem while filming.