Bulgarian Poets: Nikola Vaptsarov (Никола Вапцаров)

From Wikipedia:

Nikola Vaptsarov (Bulgarian: Никола Вапцаров) (7 December 1909 - 23 July 1942) was a Bulgarian poet and revolutionary. He was born in Bansko and trained as a machine engineer at the Naval Machinery School in Varna, later Naval Academy. Vaptsarov worked machinist jobs most of his life and wrote in his spare time. His only released book of poetry is Motoring Verses (1940). Because of his underground activity against the government of Boris III and the German troops in Bulgaria, he was arrested in March 1942. The court imposed the death penalty on July 23, 1942, Vaptsarov wrote his last poem at 2 pm and was executed by a firing squad the same evening at age of 33.

His poetry has been translated in 98 languages throughout the world. Vaptsarov Peak in eastern Livingston Island, Antarctica is named after the famous Bulgarian poet.

Vaptsarov Peak on Livingston Island, Antarctica. The peak is named after the famous Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov (1909-42). Image source: Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.

The first verse of the poem Spring (in Bulgarian, source: slovo.bg):


Пролет моя, моя бяла пролет,
още неживяна, непразнувана,
само в зрачни сънища сънувана,
как минуваш ниско над тополите,
но не спираш тука своя полет.

English translation: Spring

Spring of mine, O spring of mine so white,
as yet unlived, as yet unfeasted,
alone in visions vague yet dreamt of,
how low above the poplars do you skim,
yet without pausing in your flight.

Video: Margret Nikolova - Prolet moya (1971) (in Bulgarian).

Прощално (in Bulgarian)

На жена ми

Понякога ще идвам във съня ти
като нечакан и неискан гостенин.
Не ме оставяй ти отвън на пътя –
вратите не залоствай.

Ще влезна тихо. Кротко ще приседна,
ще вперя поглед в мрака да те видя.
Когато се наситя да те гледам –
ще те целуна и ще си отида.

English translation: On Parting (A Farewell)

To My Wife

Sometimes I'll come when you're asleep,
An unexpected visitor.
Don't leave me outside in the street.
Don't bar the door!

I'll enter quietly, softly sit.
And gaze upon you in the dark.
Then when my eyes have gazed their fill,
I'll kiss you and depart.

Vaptsarov's last poem, written hours before his death:

Борбата е безмилостно жестока... (in Bulgarian)

Борбата е безмилостно жестока.
Борбата както казват, е епична.
Аз паднах. Друг ще ме смени и...
Какво тук значи някаква си личност?!

14 ч. – 23.07.1942 г.

English translation: The fight is hard and pitiless

The fight is hard and pitiless
The fight is epic, as they say.
I fell. Another takes my place -
Why single out a name?

2 PM, 23 July 1942

Nikola Vaptsarov in Rough guide to Bulgaria By Jonathan Bousfield, Dan Richardson:

Bansko (Bulgarian: Банско) is a town in southwestern Bulgaria, located at the foot of Pirin at an altitude of 925 m above sea level. It is considered to be the most developed Ski and Winter Resort in Eastern Europe, and one of the best in Europe. Bansko is the birthplace of 20th century Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov and Bulgarian enlighteners Paisiy Hilendarski and Neofit Rilski.

Image source: Vaptsarov as a sailor in Varna, Wikipedia, public domain.

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