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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Antun Branko Šimić Two Poems


ANTUN BRANKO ŠIMIĆ:    TWO POEMS


Edo Kovacevic: Zagreb Scene (oil on canvas, 1930's?)



Podne i Bolesnik


Plavo podne sjedi
na oblacima

U jednoj sobi kamo ne ulazi niko
bolesnik mre
Kraj njega ćuti crna tica

U vrtovima sunčaju se gole djevojke
i plavi mlaz visoka vodoskoka
u plavu prazninu
šumi

.....................

Bolesnik leži mrtav:
predmet pokraj predmeta u sobi

Crne tice
nema?

Ispod neba
rep pauna ogroman svjetlucav
sa oblaka visi u vrtove




Zavedena

Ne, njega nema više. Pobjego je. Vrata 
na kući dolje glasno zalupila
ko zadnji put

Da letim za njim niza stepenice?
Ukočila se, stojim

Na podu zgažen cvijet

Kroz prozor
crvene se zvijezde glasno smiju

Ja zovnem u noć iz svih snaga
Na prozoru staklo se zatrese i smiri

U noći
kamenito srce grada ćuti

Moje golo tijelo dršće
obliveno ladnim svjetlom zvijezda






_______________________________________

NOON AND THE CONVALESCENT


Blue noon sits
on clouds

In a room that no one enters
a convalescent is dying
By his side, quiet, a blackbird

In the yard the naked girls sunbathe
and the blue jet of the tall fountain
scatters
into blue vacuity

..................

Convalescent lies dead
a thing next to others in the room


The blackbird's
gone?

Under the skies
the peacock’s tail enormous splendid
from clouds hangs over to the yard





SEDUCED


No, he is no more. He run away. The door
to the house below slammed loudly
for the last time.

Should I fly after him down the stairs?
Stiff, I stand
On the ground a trampled flower

Through the window
red stars are laughing loudly

Into the night I shout
The windowpane shakes and stops

In the night
the stony heart of the city quiets

My naked body trembles
drenched in frigid starlight





Translated from the Croatian
 by
Boris Gregoric

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Antun Branko Šimić* (1898–1925): was a turn of the century Southern Slav expressionist poet and critic who revolutionized Southern Slavic poetry by breaking up its traditional meter and rhyme, introducing  'free verse' .  Šimić died of consumption aged 27. 

*
Šimić: roughly pronounced as Shee-mitz.  Or 'mitts' in AE.   
 
 –––––––––––

On the task of poets and poetry ca 1917 Šimić wrote: "... kragne, manšete, kravate, šalove i sve ono drugo, da bacimo iz sebe sve trope, figure, metonimije, aliteracije, asonance, klimakse, sve ono što je ukus, što je retorika i 'ljepota', to će reći sve ono što je suvišno - i da govorimo istinu"

'...we must get rid of 'collars, handcuffs, ties, scarves, and everything else, we must purge from us all tropes, figures of speech, metonimies, alliterations, assonances, climaxes, everything that is Taste, that is Rhetoric, that is 'beauty', in other words everything superficial —and we should speak truth'

Friday, November 20, 2015

Zen Sow


boris gregoric:

 ZEN SOW





Borisse: B & H,  newsprint collage, 1998



from who knows where this morning, on our doors knocked that aged sow which too shall dance in front of one's gates1 but poor beast was, alas, free, free from that monstrous, criminal metal ring, free from the sweaty hand of its tormentor, free from the kettle-drum's noise, from the dishevelled mud-covered barefooted urchins, one big and free Northamerican gray-haired bear knocking on the doors of our Zen center and—of course—come on in, step inside, how about some coffee? a cake? perhaps even meditation? half an hour if you've got spare time? but please, I am but an ordinary sow, she answers, have you ever heard of a sow that would sip coffee and sit in meditation? 


All rights reserved: Boris Gregoric 




1The Balkan proverb sow shall dance in front of your gates too is the equivalent of 'What goes around comes around'. It refers to the sad old fashion of the itinerant Gypsy bear handlers who would make the bear dance tugging at the metal ring in bear's nostril with one hand, while beating the kettle-drum with another. Cruel and, we hope, by now extinct form of 'entertainment'.

Miroslav Antic: Hide-and-Seek


Miroslav Antić

Grasshopper, photo by Miroslav Kirin


Žmurke



1.
Postoji nešto brže i od same mogućnosti da se
čovek sporazume sa svojom mišlju.Nekakva
groznica uobrazilje. Čarolija.
Trag koji se već dogodio unapred.

Sećam se svoje prve školske torbe. Nisam
žurio da je otvorim. Dugo sam je posmatrao,
obilazio oko nje i zamišljao u njoj
obilje neobčcnih stvari.

I danas, evo, ako dobijem poklon, ne otvaram
ga danima. Lepše mi je da zamišljam šta
može biti unutra. Uvek je tako sa zatvorenim
stvarima.

I tek kad oljuštiš omot, prestaje svaka čarolija,
jer više nema smisla nijedna igra pogadjanja.

2.
Jer sve je u nama kad žmurimo, a strano kad
otvorimo oči. I sve je naše dok želimo , a
tudje kad se ostvari.

Mi smo nalik na cvetove: rastemo u sebi,
unutra, u skladištima tajni i korenju energije.
Samo smo spolja dopadljivi, puni
boja i mirisa. A unutra, u nama, kipe
orijaska sunca.
Sve se to dogadja zato što nismo skinuli omot
sa svog još uvek pitomog i detinjastog
srca.

Dobivši sebe na poklon od ovog ovde jedinog
i nepovratnog života, mi u tom srcu
nosimo sve ono što postoji i što će tek
postojati u našim drugim životima.
I ne kvarimo ga kao igračku, da otkrijemo
čime voli. I ne kvarimo ga da vidimo čime
se boji i čime sanja.

3.
Kad zvezde padaju avgusta, ne trči da ih
potražiš u travi. Ne sakupljaj ih po šumama i
ne vijaj za bregovima.
Samo zatvori oči. Bar ti znaš da se igraš
žmurke.

Uhvati ih u letu i sve će u tebe duboko
otkotrljati.

Zaželiš li se mora ili severnih snegova, zaželiš
li se planina, jezera ili pustinja, samo zažmuri
u svet, ne odmotavaj omot vida,
i sve će se u tebe zauvek naseliti i tu nastaniti.






Miroslav Antić:


Hide-and-Seek



1.

There's something faster even than the possibility
that one can agree with one's thoughts. A feverish
fancy of sorts. Magic.
A trace that has happened in advance.

I remember my first schoolbag. I haven't
hurried to open it. For a very long time
I only observed it, circled around it, imagined that inside
full of extraordinary stuff.

Even today, when I get a gift, for days I let it sit
unopened. It's better to imagine what
may lie inside. And thus, it's always with the things
enclosed.

Once you rip the wrap off, the magic vanishes,
and the game of guesswork becomes pointless.


2.

With our eyes closed, everything is there, but it all turns strange
when we open them. When we desire them, things belong to us,
and become alien when we get them.

We resemble flowers: growing inside,
within, in the secret depots, the roots of energy.
Only on the outside are we likeable, filled
with color and scent. While within, inside, the giant suns
are seething.
All because we haven't taken the wrap off
from the still meek and childish
heart.

By getting ourselves, a gift from this one
irrevocable life, we, in this heart of ours
carry all that there is and all that is yet
to be in our other lives.
And we don't break it like a toy, in order to find out
how does it love. And we don't break it to see
does it have fears, and how does it dream.


3.

When in August the stars fall, don't run
to look for them in the grass. Don't gather them in the forest
don't chase after them across the hills.
Just close your eyes. If anyone, you should know how to play
hide-and-seek.

Catch them in their flight and they will roll into you
deeply.

And if you yearn for the seas or northern snows, if you yearn
for the mountains, lakes or deserts, just close your eyes
into the world, don't unwrap the wrap which is eyesight,
and all things shall for ever settle and dwell within you.



Translated from the Serbian language
by
Boris Gregoric


(August 2015) 


Miroslav 'Mika' Antic (1932–1986): remains one of the most popular and beloved poets from the post-war Serbian and Yugoslavian literature.  He was influenced by his contemporary Soviet-era  'stadium' poets (Yevtushenko, Ahmadulina, Voznesensky...).  He also wrote screenplays some of which were filmed and have become integral part of the Yugoslav Black Wave Cinema (roughly 1960's to mid 1970's). 




ALL TRANSLATION RIGHTS RESERVED. 













Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tribute to Dusko Trifunovic: Two Ballads



Duško TRIFUNOVIĆ:


Photo: Boris J. Gregoric


 IMA NEKA TAJNA VEZA

Ima neka tajna veza
za sve ljude zakon krut
njome čovek sebe veže
kada bira neki put

Ima neka tajna veza
tajna veza za sve nas
njome čovek sebe veže
kada traži duši spas

Sidro koje lađu čuva
da ne bude buri plen
tone skupa sa tom lađom
jer je ono deo nje



SECRET BIND

There's a secret bind
for everyone a law inexorable
binding each one of us
when we choose a path

There's a secret bind
a secret bind for all of us
with which we bind ourselves
seeking to save one's soul

An anchor that guards a ship
not to fall prey to tempest
sinks with the same ship
being one with it




Translated from the Serbo-Croatian language
by
Boris Gregoric






PRISTAO SAM BIĆU SVE ŠTO HOĆE

Pristao sam biću sve što hoće,
Evo prodajem dušu vragu svome.
I ostaću samo crna tačka
Poslije ove igre kad me slome,
Kad me mirno slome.
Pristao sam biću sve što hoće.

Mislio sam da se zvijeri boje
Ove vatre koja trag mi prati.
I to sam mislio.
A sad nosim kako mi ga skroje,
Po meni se ništa neće zvati.
Po meni se ništa neće zvati.

Zablude sam, evo, prestao da brojim
Nemam kome da se vratim kući.
— Nemam kome...
Dokle pjevam dotle i postojim,
Prijatelji bivši, prijatelji budući,
Prijatelji bivši...
Pamtite me po pjesmama mojim.



I'LL BE EVERYTHING THEY WANT


I'll be everything they want, I conceded
Here I am selling my soul to the devil
For I'll be but a speck
After this game in which they break me
When quietly they break me.
I'll be everything they want, I conceded.

I thought beasts might fear
this Fire following the tracks of mine.
That too is what I've thought.
But now I wear what's custom made for me,
Nothing shall be named after me,
Nothing shall be named after me.


There, my delusions I shall count no longer
I have no one to come home to.
—I have no one...
For as long as I sing, I do exist
Friends of the past, friends of the future,
Friends of the past...
By my songs remember me.




Translated from the Serbo-Croatian
by
Boris Gregoric



Dusko Trifunovic (1933–2006):  was a legendary author of some of the most beloved  pop and rock songs in the history of Yugoslavian popular music.  These two ballads have been known and sang by millions in the late 70's to early 80's.  * Trifunovic wrote using the colloquial, tradional Slavic decasyllable (the closest equivalent in EL, of course, would be the imabic pentameter).  Some poems he wrote in the 'symetrical' eight syllable meter which represents the later development in the history of the Southern Slav languages.  The rhyming facility of the Serbo-Croatian original is unfortunately not translatable into English (where rhymes are very limited in number, or/thus predictable and stilted).   *Translator's note


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:  Boris Gregoric

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Chet's Last Stand and Few Others


Chet's Last Stand


unnoticed
unplayed
by the beaten
hotel nightstand
a trumpet
left
in its case





In the Nick of Time

 
The new bank card
arriving in the nick of time
to fend off
the Dark Ages
the brave new world
the end days
the fundamentalist madness
train collisions
tsunamis
revolutions
Isis
crises
endless troubles
of the future past tense





Sending you a bottle



the morning sketch
sent across the sea
in a green wine bottle
to the sunny side
of a cafe
wherever you might be


*

with my arms around it
I'll defend the Siberian elm tree
in the backyard

I’ll defend him
I’ll defend that scraggly giant to death


*


Training


here’s a sketch of
the birch tree branching
leafing out
your arms outspread

here’s the rabbits
in the grass
leaping
at the beginning of summer

here’s you on your skates
and me
following astride
your Daimler roadster
a famous
blue one


Au petit coin des lapins —
as good as any a name
for the trail — the abandoned
single rail line
nowadays
the end-to-end suburbia


the skater and the cyclist
zigzagging
you training for
the marathon race at the Northern great lake
me assisting  —
circling around the obstacles
the cyclists, the runners
the walkers with their dogs
the breeding rabbits 
everywhere 

mind the treacherous turn
under the overpass
where you can
easily miss the curve
and crash

the hedges
of the satellite suburbia
thick
deserted
everyone slaving
no homebodies

so here’s a sketch
for them too




daily mystery

 

the hissing espresso maker —a steaming locomotive


*

Extinction



Eyes are cameras
of the quiet streets
close to the central station
then to the decaying harbor
the cast iron mushrooms
the mooring posts with the verdigris coat of paint peeling —
the guardians of the gray jetty

cast a glance at the hills
on this sad provincial city
only a rusty cargo flotilla 
once the world’s superpower
the pride of the nation! 

  the empires  — how they go! how they go! 







 
© Boris Gregoric, 2015