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Oles Honchar: Orchards of peace

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Ukrainian writers on war

Oles Honchar: The ponderous, stupefying word “War”

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Oles Honchar
From Mikita Bratus
Translated V. Scheerson

I share my dream with Orishka:

“We reached the sun by the heavenly highway, walked right through it and came out on the other side…It must have been visible from down below – imagine you and I slipping into the sun just like that.”

“Was it shining on the other side?” Orishka asked earnestly.

“Certainly! And it was warm too. It’s the function of the sun to shed warmth and light on all the four winds. You should have seen the life they lead there! It’s summer all the year round, there’s eternal peace, and the orchards bear fruit from January to December.”

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Gardening is a job that knows no let-up, but it’s an honorable profession, a peaceful profession. I would say that ours is not just a peaceful calling, it symbolizes man’s peaceful activity and his striving for beauty and abundance. Those who think in terms of blood and destruction never bother about orchards: they have no time for them. We often say: the dove of peace! And to my mind we should add to the dove and the olive branch on the peace emblem a cherry, apple or oak sapling. Without troubling anyone the sapling takes root and stretches to the sun – peaceful, calm and gentle. And yet it has great strength, capacity for growth and development; and these qualities make it formidable against the scorching winds, dust-storms, and other scourges.

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