From the cycle The Buildings
In an inhuman game,
in an unnatural cause,
With chains of paraments cast up and down,
The imperious muscle swelled with heavy torus,
Embracing the edges
of a calm abyss.
It brought up skyward,
like a coveted cup,
A wide gate,
The wide gate – sinful and earthly,
Like a round ring on a burly hand.
And the creative spirit,
Placed bundles of sightly herbs upon the stone,
Like breasts of maidens,
ardent and unclean,
In plays of a lustful imagination.
It threw so lavishly a spotty truss,
Like habitual lover thrown on a bed
That know loving sweat,
the qualms of heavy intercourse,
And sated sleep,
and morning appetite.
Upon the truss is blossom,
blossom like an eye
Of a male aroused by a female
From those centuries,
Drank the passion of the lewd Baroque
That flew from the ancient maze of ages,
That banded from afar
Dense branches of Ukrainian gates
With alleviated Corinthian acanthus.
And the acanthus – not laurels
on a regal brow,
So those gates had never been wide open
To let in prisoners from
For the path of victory had never led through those gates.
The gate is for subdued and violent passion
Of elder centuries.
Clad in scarlet,
In those days, the proud hetmanate
Erected its gilded belfries
like rich bunchuks.
In those days, Mazepa placed his churches
Upon the greasy hair of the steppes
Like a ringing crown.
Mazepa the poet,
and the hetman,
and the trader,
He lost the desperate game,
And his white horse
Learned to flee, a stableless Pegasus,
A tailless Bucephalus
of modern hetmanlings.
Oh, drive away that horse,
may its gallop cease!
Break the shadows of the belfries
like a rusted spear!
And the peal of bells grows quiet
under the vaulted arch,
For our heart is larger than their one!(Mykola Bazhan. The Buildings: Poems. [Kharkiv:] Knyhospilka, , p. 36–41.)
In Mykola Bazhan’s poem, the Zaborovsky Gate embodies the Baroque corporality. That brings up, for example, the comparison with a lover’s passion. The poem was answered by another Ukrainian poet of the 1920s, the neo-classicist Mykola Zerov. In his Zaborovsky Gate, the portal becomes a symbol of the advanced culture of the Baroque, as the gate was ordered and funded by Metropolitan Bishop Raphael Zaborovsky, who was also a protector and benefactor of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.
Corinthian acanthus – a common plant form to make foliage ornament and decoration in architecture, in particular, in column capitals of Corinthian order. The name originated from the Mediterranean species of the Acanthus genus of plants.
Hetmanate – refers to the period of ruling hetmans (the Cossack Hetmanate) and, in particular, the period of Ivan Mazepa patronage. The gate was built in 1745, two years before the short-lived reconstitution of the hetmanate by Elizabeth of Russia.