In a gesture of international solidarity and cultural appreciation, renowned British actress Emma Thompson recited a poem by Ukrainian literary icon Lina Kostenko. Kostenko celebrates her 94th birthday today, March 19th, 2024.

A Birthday Tribute and a Message of Hope

Emma Thompson lent her voice to Ukraine today, reciting a poem by the country’s revered poet Lina Kostenko in a video message. The gesture, coinciding with Kostenko’s 94th birthday, offered a powerful tribute to Ukrainian culture and a message of solidarity in the face of ongoing conflict. Thompson’s reading of “Wings” resonated with the poem’s central theme of freedom and the enduring human spirit. The poem uses the evocative metaphor of wings to represent the intangible qualities that uplift humanity, even in the face of hardship.

“In Truth, the Wind Needs No Land”: The Poignant Verse of Lina Kostenko

In truth, the wind needs no land.
Without ground, there will be the sky.
Without fog, there will be the clouds.
Without land, there will be freedom.
In this, perhaps, is their avian truth.
And what about humans?
They live on land but do not fly.
Still they have wings.
They truly do have wings made instead of
quills and fluff of virtue, truth, and trust.
Some have wings of faithful love, some of endless
aspiration, some of empathy and action, some of zeal
and pride in work, some of poetry and song,
of art, hope, dreams, and passion.
They do not fly, or so it seems.
But they have wings.
They do have wings.

Lina Kostenko: A Literary Voice of Ukraine

Lina Kostenko foto
Lina Kostenko is a towering figure in Ukrainian literature. A poet, essayist, and novelist, her work has explored themes of national identity, memory, and the human condition. Born in 1930, Kostenko emerged as a prominent voice during a period of cultural repression in the Soviet Union. Her poems, often veiled in symbolism, offered subtle critiques of the regime while celebrating Ukrainian history and language. Kostenko’s work continues to resonate with readers today, offering solace and inspiration in a time of national struggle.