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Translated by Lazar Macura



 I feel worst on Monday mornings

 when I wake up from the woods
 from the swift childhood brooks
 a salt-cellar, a piece of bread, a glass of wine

 All sufferings were gone
 a smile on each face, handshaking of archers

 The traces of evil in fog
 forests gentle for breathing
 altogether attractive

 Father seated at the table
 noting down five-fingered letters
 commenting on Zodiac signs

 I feel worst on Monday mornings

 On an autumn Monday
 Father migrated from the World into poetry

 Oh, it is so cold, oh, it is painstaking, oh, it is miserable
 on Monday mornings

 I put on my formal suit
 I expect evil news



 Horror in a queue, Death
 beside the stiff Aesculapius

 A surgeon's fingers pass over the back of your head
 Spring plants descend in their colourful clothes
 to the end of the blind alley with black gates

 A horned viper frozen in flight
 wave screams, fish scales
 buffalo's eyes bordered with flames

 A hidden brain sign developed with conception
 A fountain of screams. Overlapped points of the compass
 Destroyed crystals, confused circles, road signs turned upside down

 The disrupted harmony of boxes and bottles
 smelling salts and bitter herbs
 Forgiveness departing and sinking

 Horror in a queue beside the stiff Aesculapius
 the poem's blood stream kills a poet.



 You hang above our heads
 You may be watching the sea
 we cannot see

 In your hands, equally arranged
 are the weights of life and death

 Your feet are above the hills
 your head among smoky clouds

 You are braver than us and than your father
 you were born on the day before these days
 You were born in a night darker
 than the one setting in

 You were born in a time
 we do not remember

 You are above our heads
 above our senses

 You do not make noise
 you do not wear yourself out groundlessly

 Reach the invisible
 do not turn around
 they will never outrun you.



 Birth senses you somewhere
 and swift and cold waters run
 where vineyards ripen, swallows rise in the air
 where your mother's words are spun

 under the forehead, and behold, a horn
 blows and wakes up the cliffs
 from the big table made of gold
 the light lights up your face with happiness

 Your steps are followed
 by roes. Life like a mark
 in your heart and on the path

 You walk along and go alone far away
 The clock of the dark
 road echoes in your ears in a soft way.



 1 How to call you back

 How to call you back from there
 while you face Liberty Square
   in which the stake is burning out
 The soul of the moon smells sweet
 Under the stone wall the ones died of the cutting edge

 Near the square fallen asleep the headsman's house sleeps
 On the blue night's flag a wheel dance of stars
 Oh, you tiny revolution
 scared by the crown-prince's head
 raised to God!

 We hug each other, my lover with butterfly-like wings
 while you are late for the morning guillotine
 repeating that happiness never has a happy ending
 the being of happiness desires to enter the being of the word
 the being of the word desires to enter the being of the living
 and the being of the dead,
 words which were heard from
   the rolling golden lips

 Who is your winged sister
 and your mud-sputtered daughter
 and your weeping mother
 and your unburied sons

 Pay attention to the voices
   of the summoned
 To loaves of bread which will not fill them up

 The insatiable keep simpering
 through the open window, through the closed shutters
 While I watch you young still
 In death which has not
 gone too far away

 It has stayed here
 waiting for the outcome.

 2 The Morning Fancy Rolls

 Then, the desperately worried custodians
 pulled out flags from a heap of ashes
 the faded attire of the defeated
 Thin happiness of those arriving in columns of the evening
 filled up with the scent of lime-tree alleys in memory
 triumphal arches, charred remnants
 The clammy wind from mountain pastures
 browses through Alexandrian libraries
 which are sparkingly burning out.
 All in them were we
 Unconvinced in the onceness
 (of something that could be life)

 They are gathering in Labourer Square
 the morning fancy rolls smell sweet
 Legs exposed to the gentle sunshine
 Blond heroes
 Advance through ant-hills
 The wind from mountain pastures
 reads high-circulation magazines
 with strings of glittering teeth
 and with shining eyes
 All this were we
 ignorant of transience
 (of something that could be calm)

 In the lower part of the hill cut in two,
 after years-long measurings, people say, there was
 a Fireplace
 (traces of fire, broken pottery,
 bones of birds and of small mammals)
 Undeniable proofs
 that we did exist once
 in the living constellation of waves
 beneath the stony theatre.
 We used to enter in secret when the lights were off
 and when everything was quiet and the moon could be heard
 so that all numberless queues
 and watchful stars
 could see and hear
 that I loved you more
 (than any history
 can stand)

 3 The Defected Sea

 At this address no longer does the sea live
 it has sailed away in search of a job
 Only a small room is left
 where every evening in the month of Resurrection
 we listen to its confused messages
 comparably agitated
 we try to solve that death rattle
 sprinkled with finely chopped stones
 and with glittering sand in the eyes

 At this address no longer do seagulls live
 they have flown away following ships
 they have left their warm nests without offspring

 At this address no longer do fish live
 or little worms, or awfully boring sharks,
 or silted-up paths leading to the unburied ships
 full of ghosts, gold, antiquity wine, silk
 each with a captain stomping over our heads with a stilt

 On this address no longer do the postmen call
 with a back pension cheque
 or a bill for an unpaid credit installment
 with the new world bank

 Here, in fact, everything is new
 and a games of chance neon sign
 glares and charmingly
 sings in the night.

 4 Inhabitants of Old Cities

 I do not want History!
 It is a nerve-racking fate of inhabitants
   of old cities
 Beneath each eyelid stalks
 a battle, a rebellion, an upheaval,
 a parade, a revolution, a coronation.
 Sleep tight amongst the accumulated centuries.

 Under the arms in young forests
 the noisy Huns furtively advance.
 Each of them carries a golden calf under himself.

 Do not make noise, oh History!
 Your pen, books, painstakingly packed
 a red dress
 lie tired in the most luxurious
 corner of the leaking hut
 around which buzz the eyes of the CNN, BBC, RAI,
 The news has flown around the delighted planet
 like a spring bee
 By means of the most recent DNA hocus-pocus
 it was confirmed: despite your periodical
 excavations and burials
 with the most favourable hawk, horse and dog,
 with a pen, a book, an icon,
 it is really you, only you
 who on many occasions was desecrated, hanged,
 guillotined, executed
 and asphyxiated in gas chambers
 poured over with the whitest quick lime

 Now, after so many shared things,
 they feel a bit uncomfortable
 because they have found
 that you are still alive.
 Yet, they will keep trying with chosen,
   round words,
 for the shared destiny is waiting for all.

 There glide along ships darker than the inkpot
 They bring me to you, oh you lulled asleep.

Smederevo, Belgrade, Herceg Novi




   To my children's generation

 How to tell
 that pain all around us
 falling onto the bitter
 field of origin
 out of which all blood
   of our blood

 How to restrain before you
 the weak words
 about centuries with the ancestral
 How to restrain the fear
 before the decisive battle
 against the evil Agarians
 and against the crows
 which discharge the breath of death
 of two-thousand-headed dragons
 led by she-devils
 on gilded leashes
   of cataclysm

 Let the chained childhood years
 the spasm between the evil pieces of news
 and a spark of love
 be your shield and sword

 Oh generation,
 between the first kisses
 and new grave-mounds
 finish dreaming the interrupted
   dreams of your age-mates
 left on the ashes of homes
 Sing for the sake of smothered hopes and trepidations
 from the heart span,
 for the unembraced peers
 for the sake of their tangs
 of the light and dark
 made even for ever

 Do not allow them to choke your tongue
 to cut off your spring
 to build up towers of quick decay
 with your name
 the towers of pestilential cities
    with a false hope

 You have remained here
 to give birth to hope
 to build a sanctuary 
 with feats
 and defeats
 with bells and prayers

 To believe and not to believe
 that God-fearing
   and brave
 Patriarch Arsenius Charnoevic
 fights in the visible constellation
 with packs of beasts
 Crucified in front of divine
 oh, infants of love
 cradle and oath

 Your clear light of the hearth
 cutting through the dark
 and calling the Sun
 into our words, songs, prayers
 brightly illuminate life

 At Smederevo hospital, in the spring of 1999, on the eve of the NATO aggression



 Somewhere in the North of Italy
 near the town of Milan
 we understood, as always,
 the Latin character.

 With restrained smiles
 as if nothing
   had happened
 in the spring of 1999,
 we talked about exhibitions,
 singers, books.

 Among old buildings,
 in squares filled with
 whispers of ancient lovers
 and the hum of Japanese cameras
 I discern in agreements
   of frequent beggars
 and rare vendors
   of games of chance
 the Serbian language in many

 I feel anguish and humiliation
 By mistake am I here
 where the coincidence of true friendship is also

 Oh, damn you Avviano
 although you are not mentioned
 by anyone as something important
 for this meeting.



 When we were located by the evil-doers
 in our basements
 we did not even know
 that we were more dangerous
 than the Sixth Fleet.

 We did our best to calm
   our children
 and to calm children in ourselves
 and we were anxious
 how to supply them
 with milk breakfast

 In the spring of 1999

 1) Aleksinac, a town in south-eastern Serbia without any army facilities, which did not prevent the NATO air forces from destroying the town centre and from killing a large number of civilians in the spring of 1999. This same town was also destroyed by the English and American bombers in 1943 and 1944.



 We were going back to our homeland
 to reassure our dear ones
 to make our wives happy
   with our meagre wages

 In the junction of the river, railway and bridge
 we were hit by a monster
 to taint our Morava River
 with our ashes.

 We will not finish
 building our houses
 The sky is watching us
 through the unfinished roofs.

 In the spring of 1999    
1) On a bridge near Grdelica, a small town in south-eastern Serbia, a NATO plane hit an international train while it was crossing the bridge. More than 50 civilians were killed. Among them there were many construction workers who lived in the villages of south-eastern Serbia. At the NATO headquarters the train was sarcastically termed a legitimate target.


 Old men and women
 with paper targets
   on their chests
 dance and sing
 on a road and on a bridge
 without growing weary

 What's the point they are asked
 by foreign TV reporters
 in amazement.

 We defend our children
 against these invisible lunatics
 to prevent our children
   from growing mad of fear.

 In the spring of 1999

1) During the NATO aggression on Serbia, thousands of people used to gather in squares, on bridges and roads in protest rallies. They were joined by poets, actors, musicians, illusionists who performed their programs. Friends from all parts of our planet also took part in these protest rallies. All participants had paper targets on their chests, giving rise to a special “target” culture.


 After we had plated Europe
 with gold and silver
 we were easily surrendered
 to barbarians

 They came back armoured
 with evil designs
 to crush once more
 the Golden Babylon
 of Serbian kings and despots

 Into the golden veins of hills
 the world's trash is piled
 by the new barbarians.

 1) Novo Brdo was one of the most important industrial centres of Serbia in the  XIV century. The gold and silver mine was surrounded with foundries, goldsmiths' shops and with a mint. The town had 40 thousand inhabitants and was one of the most densely populated in Europe. The Venerable Throne, weighing 1320 pounds, donated to St Nicholas' Basilica in Bari, Italy, was made of silver from Novo Brdo.


 For nights and days
 The “Merciful Angel”
 Kept crushing the Orthodox
 Cemetery in Pristina

 In the chasms of earth,
 Concrete, brick, iron
 Of parts of crosses and bones

 There rose part of a broken
 Monument or
 A tombstone
 With the inscription
 GOD . . .

 In the spring of 1999     


 In a room with a small sidewise light
 and with windows criss-crossed
    with adhesive tapes
 (to prevent the glass from falling down)
 every night I watch TV broadcasts
 with the message at the screen corner:
 Listening attentively to the flight of phantoms
 I estimate the moment
 at which to interrupt the sleep of my household members

 In order to cower by the door-posts
 and listen to destroying of our ancient town
 By our former allies
 and foes united.

 Smederevo, in the spring of 1999


 I dream of that sound and hear it growing
 fatally all around.
 It devours towns, rivers, and young forests
 the scream of the wounded water of birth and baptism
 sprinkles the cold people, pulled out from the abyss.

 The sound with myriads of dark spiral
 gloves. Brave young men
 go into them, they move in pain and weeping.
 Is a fighter plane closing in on an unknown
 Or it is its own prey and scream?
 There burn a grave, home and temple
 there burn the mind, seed, and child, while
 there howls an infernal flame
 and all is devoured by soot and slime.

 The evening prayers from St Archangels1)
 are overcome by the bark
 of Agarians with tails grown at night
 Potkaljaja2) on fire. The world melts
 in the Bistrica River3) like the snow of Shara Mountain4)
 through the broken frontal bone
 In hazes I hear
 the growing laughter of the tailed one and the burning
     of Christ's cross.

 I dream the death rattle of toddlers
 below the Skull Tower5) and Pantelej6)
 The screams of mothers over
    tiny new grave-mounds
 The sobbing of fathers.

 Charon, rather confused,
 rows up the Danube, Morava,
 Drina, Timok, Tisa, Sava7)
 not able to distinguish
 the direction, purpose, point.

 I hear the petrified whisper
 in the last greetings
 of soldiers and inconsolable sweethearts
 I hear the song which would like to sing
    love without death
 The rose that would crawl up
 to the young bride's coronet.

 I listen to that sound in the crumpled
    dream and I see
 angels conferring
   at sunset.

 It is not me, the merciful angel rustles,
 it is the State witch
 with glued wings from a Broadway theater,
 nothing can be done,
   they buzzed
 he has departed somewhere
 or has fallen fast asleep.

 I keep dreaming of that sound
 of howling, crushing, destroying,
 of the call of the abyss.

 At the bottom of the dream, in the throat of the sound
 I see St George
 killing the Dragon
 and the hallucinative scream
 flying around the blue planet
 and hacking the hands of the famous city
 raised high, the Apple Poison
 and I see the Ocean rolling the head of the statue,
 which used to welcome
 towards a far-away coast
 where naked children write down their first letters.

 (Read on the first anniversary of the NATO aggression – in Smederevo on  March 24, 2000)

1) Serbian Orthodox monastery in Kosovo and Metohia near the town of Prizren, residence of the Serbian Tsar Dusan the Mighty. The monastery was burnt down to the ground by the Albanians on March 17, 2004, before the eyes of NATO troops.
2) Potkaljaja, a quarter of Prizren where the Serbs lived, which dates back to the ancient times, burnt down after the arrival of NATO forces in 1999.
3) The Bistrica River – river flowing through Prizren.
4) Shara Mountain – a mountain range between Serbia and Macedonia.
5) The Skull Tower – a tower in the vicinity of Niš, into which were built skulls of the Serbs killed by the Turks during the First Serbian Uprising in 1809.
6) Pantelej – a quarter of the town of Niš (Roman Naissus) in south-eastern Serbia, the birthplace of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. During the 1999 NATO aggression the town was bombed for days on end with cluster bombs, which destroyed many facilities and killed many civilians (otherwise, the use of cluster bombs is forbidden by international conventions).
7) The Danube, Morava, Drina, Timok, Tisa, and Sava – rivers in Serbia.          


 In the picture nowhere mislaid, fresh
 at the Les Deux Magots café
 a lady and a gentleman, only one century young
 are sipping double espresso in the night of acquaintance
 in July of 1999 in Paris which misplaced
 its game, love and mind.
 The day feels ashamed to dawn. Satan
 tramps the victory lap
 along boulevards, in undergrounds, churches,
 museums, powdering schools and homes,
 yellowed rows of the innocent, fear and hope.
 Serbia is on fire. The carbonized scream of the Maid
 of Kosovo is not heard by the bells of the Notre Dame.
 Ashes over Paris. Isolated war veterans' graves
 creak for the salvation of the age
 sunk in the steam of brotherly blood. Paris, a fussy
 guignol of its unchanged executioners,
 sinks into dazingly running mud, singing.
 One soft heart in Paris feels
 that the picture of friendship
 from the magic Les Deux Magots café lives on.
 A lady and a gentleman, only one century young,
 in the July night of acquaintance in 1998, can see,
 while the eternal bliss is prepared for Serbia,
 in the shallow unemptied sip of coffee
 like in the dried-up Seine River, the wriggling
 panting little fishes of equality, brotherhood, and freedom.



 Things cannot be changed,
   you say,
 here has his seat Emperor of Emperors
 from our tribe who eats one hundred girls
 and one hundred boys a day.
 He has no daughters or sons
 people say he ate them up
 before they were even born
 due to the lack of greenstuff.

 We who are forgotten
 in craggy grounds and ravines
 are informed very rarely
 between the rains.
 In caves do we hide our brood
 of the Emperor's dust.

 Forgotten in wilderness
 we hunt boars and jays
 expecting the One to bring fire
 inextinguishable by dust.

 The white powder
 is of some value to the Emperor himself
 he builds up dangerous towers
 turns the courses of rivers under his feet
 catching stars in them
 and gathering them in swarms
   in his flag.

 You say it is the best
 that could befall us.
 With other tribes
 tribute is much heavier,
 yet again, they happily
 welcome each new day.
 They rejoice in squares
 where flags wave.

 The knight should turn up from somewhere,
 but he is delayed,
 he renders accounts to customs officers.
 Without the black seal
 he cannot come back
   to his home
 for all houses belong to the Emperor
 as well as all estates and hopes.
 He allots them according to merits.



 You are on the trail of a big beast
 do not allow the perfumes of spring
    to delude you

 Fingers beneath the grass make traps
 and snakes suck out eyes

 Do not allow to get confused
 by the promises of clear water

 For streets change at sunset
 and you will not recognize your home

 Oh, hunter, your dog has been bribed
 with apples, dream under the elder-tree.



 These are parts of the cross
 from the Church of Ljeviška Virgin in flames
 which was pulled out by an Albanian
 accompanied by shouts of the mob
 and the gazes of the newly arrived Germans
 (at a freeze-frame that made the tour
 of the world in the spring of 2004)

 Here was the room with a view
 of the milky green valley.
 Here was the room of little sisters
 (small ear-rings, a ring, hairpins
 of extraordinary beauty, of filigree
 work, melted in fire)

 Here was the room of parents
 (over charred walls raw insomnias
 walk to and fro. Live coals
 of chests huskily growl, they watch over
 trousseaus and clothes in case of death)
 Handle carefully spatulas and
 under the book there is a hand.
 (The skin is preserved, the paper
 burnt out almost completely, carbonized)

 Above the stone door-step
 there was a door once
 the nest of the
 house-guarding snake

 The fallen chimney descended
   into the cellar
 slurps red wine
 for the soul's rest.

 This is St Nicholas (The intact image
 on the burnt icon)
 blessing guests
 on the patron-saint's day.




 You have left the shores
 on which at good times
 you built up
 a home, a grave
 a temple and a theatre

 The depth you are falling into
 you will not touch with a scream
 gushing out
 from your jaws
 lined with instilled words
 which do not come out
 from the heart,
 but come into being
 between the brain and the hand
   like smoke
 leaving the many-headed



 Who will you find in the marshes
 beavers or birds?

 Or your parents' nest
 warm and open?

 Who will you find on your way
 among hemlock and bitter grass?

 Good luck or a word that abandoned you
 or your love or you just

 keep going to the unknown to the timeless
 alone carrying your head on your shoulder       

 Everything makes you bitter and solitary
 In lace and silk clothes

 Everything makes you remote and alien
 in the houses where you have lodged for the night

 What morning will wake you up
 what sunbathed bed

 Everything catches you up on your way
 the curse and the knife of enemy tribesmen

 With what deadly water will you wash
 your face

 What eyes will mourn you
 bristled in the brushwood



 From nightmares and loves
 young men come back
 with unknown melodies
   on their chapped lips
 with flags of sticky touches
 in a day which refuses
   to dawn.
 Crucified before the divine doorframe
 of the last kisses
 and the first daffodils

 Oh, you earth between maidens'
 beds and fresh grave-mounds

 Appease your hunger with the fruits
 of our words, poem, prayer

 Oh, you sinking river in the voices
 of morning roosters
 in the foundations of homes

 Allow us to grow old
 at the crossways.


 How to dig in the paper
 a hole deep enough
 to receive all
 happy and unhappy,
 real or imaginary
 pictures, words, prayers?

 I see a tree growing out of water
 with different branches
 with different birds
 fireworks of colours
 and voices.

 I sail between
 rare islands, over
 sunken chasms.
 Council voices
 call from the deep.

 Will the survivor
 preserve these melodies
 abstracts from temples

 cradles of volcanoes

 provide with arms the voyager
 going back to himself
 without looking around.

 A birth from the river
 or just a return
 or our awakened recollection
 of long-past red-hot dusk in greenery.


 Deserted horse-stables
 full of ghost-like shadows
 and of brave lovers

 Crushed grain on the floor
 and homes. The bay horse
 with the forehead blown to bits

 A rider frozen
 on a sabre. Rye

 cropped up from feed-bags
 A snake fallen asleep
 in loaves of bread

 Whinnying from sleep
 and a celestial trot
 at dusk.



 You are here invisible ones
 quite close

 In parched sods
 of July

 You present your hands
 both to water and fire

 You settle your feet
 onto muddy paths
 onto rutted roads

 You fly around our heads
 around monastery bell-towers

 in the mirrors of the Sitnica
 and Lab
 out of which all rivers
 and into which all tears



 You reach the very boundary,
   you make a stride
 not waiting to grow old
 You are a pigeon, a tall poplar-tree
 a boar at a waterhole
 a breeze, a hurricane, a storm

 Where, for God's sake, have you been so far
 ask grasses, wheats
 orchards, sweet smelling bunches of grapes
 Those who have suddenly dropped in  
 await your arrival
 in secrecy and fear.

 You come like a shot
 into every water and mount
 into every chimney and foundation
 into brushwoods and forests
 into the streets of childhood
 into dawns and dusks.

 You build up fence and gable
 you take the lead of the sleepy tribe
 You feed the house-guarding snake,
 and the mocking bird
 You water cattle on the brook
 You make a shepherd's flute and play
 you lead the heavy dance
 You dig out the bell, you make a bell-tower
 and put an icon on the young oak-tree
 you cross yourself three times
 You bring forth children, you graft an apple-tree,
 you dry plums and drain off wine.
 Then you kiss with your brothers just born
 And upright you welcome the Sun.

1) Metohija, the most beautiful part of Kosovo and Metohija, out of which the Serbs were expelled by the NATO forces in the summer of 1999. The name itself derives from the word 'metoh' denoting a monastery estate.


Goran Djordjevic

Translated by Lazar Macura