The Dniapro flows between high banks gently and confidently, washing sand out from under slopes, at times uncovering for human eyes things it has hidden from them before: spongy limestones, purplish-red iron ore slabs and centuries-old, Viking-age oaks.
They are black like bone, these stained oaks. Like bone char. And when one sees a wet log on a shoal, half-buried with sand, he realizes at once the origin of the folktale of heroes who sleep buried in pebbles and tangled in grassroots, sleep until a time of great peril comes and the people summon them.
...In many times of peril, they never resurrected. Perhaps, were indeed petrified like the oaks?
Yet the great river flows and flows. Long before us it carried its waves past backwaters, virgin forests and storks’ nests. And when none of us is left, it will still be running on and on, to the last, distant sea.
...The village of Azyaryshcha that perched above the Dniapro, on a white sand slope, is engulfed by water in spring, so it stands on an island. The church is nearby, on another island, so on Easter Sunday in some years the priest with clergy have to go around it in dugouts rather than on foot.
The Easter passed; the water dropped a lot. In uplands, they are already done ploughing and sowing. The village, empty, drowsy, is day-dreaming in lazy rays of the May sun. Still, the Dniapro, having almost retired to its summer low flow, can’t calm down and gnaws lazily at the bank’s bottom... Silence. Peace. An odd rooster’s crow above steaming manure.
(translated from Belarusian; excerpt from Ears of Rye under Thy Sickle by Uladzimir Karatkevich)