Bury them with their Motanka,
doll tight in their hands.
Dress them in that yellow
fleece wanted and put back on the shelf,
two wreaths of roses and gerberas
adjacent their crypt,
filled with their birth smells,
the sandalwood, jasmine of the crib,
a towel and a bowl of water
near to wipe their tears.
Flood the nave lightly dark
so they may chase the path of birds.
Recite the names they gave
the fowl, flowers, everything.
Only you must remain ignorant
of the sun and the dark.
Only you would pray to re-turn
amniotic time to have them again,
nine months to split the seeding moment,
to be flesh renewed, a new word within you.
Only you will thirst to
return drop by by red drop
the blood spilled from them
to the wanting womb.
Only you will drag their sled
from church to cemetery.
You will feast with others
on the third, ninth, the fortieth
day of their passing, feast again
on the sixth month and the annum,
for each one day past Easter
for another forty Provodies.
Notes on the Ukrainian funeral rites and rituals mentioned in the poem:
On the days of Ukrainian funerals, a bowl of drinking water and a towel are left for the dead as a spiritual offering. This is done because it is believed that the soul of the deceased drinks the water and uses the towel in order to wash away the tears along the way.
Moreover, Ukrainians abstain from drinking water in the presence of the body of the deceased.
Another Ukrainian traditions is to use a sled to move the body of the deceased from the funeral service to the burial site.
They have a feasting ritual in which members of the community join to feast on the third, ninth and fortieth days after a death has occurred. These feasts are also repeated on the six month and one year anniversaries of the death of a person. Ukrainians also commemorate the lives of their ancestors on the days following Easter. It is believe that this puts the spirits of their ancestors at ease so they can continue to rest in peace. This Ukrainian remembrance festivity is referred to as “Provody”.
The mainly faceless Motanka dolls can be found in every region of the Ukraine. They are a symbol of women’s wisdom and family bounds. In Orthodox Catholic regions of the Ukraine the face of a Motanka is made of a cross— a symbol of not only their faith but also sun and light, not only a good luck charm but also a symbol of well-being.
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