Saturday, March 15, 2014

Svyatogor’s Bed

I was always proud of strength,
the only thing a mountain loves.
And once I bragged to God if there
were just a place to set my feet
I could carry the weight of the world!
Earth bound legs were only a shade
of what would come. If only God
had given me the sense of my horse
I would still be alive.
Ilya tried his best to best
(how those Kyivan flies can bite).
At least he could plainly see
the value of humility.
But even that broad sword
of Muromets could not free
me from my pride. Now I lay
me down in sleep, wrapped in wood
and iron. My brother Muromets,
the mighty do not fall, they sleep
in beds they make for themselves.

Svyatogor was a bogatyr (knight) of the Kyivan-Rus time period (Kyivan-Rus primarily covered the territory of Ukraine and beyond). Legend has it he was a giant with shoulders two-three yards wide. Ilya Muromets was briefly his companion. The name svyatogor means mountain. Legend has it he and Ilya discovered a coffin on their journey. Svyatogor climbed inside and bid Ilya cover him with the lid to see if it fit. It fit him perfectly. Unable to remove the lid, Ilya tried to hack it off but with each blow of his sword an iron band wrapped itself around the coffin. Svyatogor bid his companion leave him to his fate and the sorrowful Ilya obeyed.