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Monday, January 29, 2018

Matej Bor A Traveler Went Through the Atomic Age

Matej Bor:
Šel je popotnik skozi atomski vek

painting by Kaspar, Friedrich

Šel je popotnik skozi atomski vek
in je na tržnicah, kjer prodajajo vse,
tudi marelice in šmarnice
zgodaj pomladi,
prodajal svoje srce.
In ko ga je razprodal,
je rekel: Kaj sedaj?
Vprašal je kanarčka: Ali naj kupim tebe?
- Kaj boš z menoj zdaj, ko nimaš srca?
Vprašal je psa: Ali naj kupim tebe?
- Pretepal bi me zdaj, ko nimaš srca?
Vprašal je zvezdo: Ali naj kupim tebe?
- Kam me boš spravil zdaj, ko nimaš srca?
In nazadnje je sklenil, da si pozida
hišico
tam na obronkih atomskega veka.
In tako je tudi storil.
In ko so ljudje hodili mimo in vpraševali:
Kdo živi v tej hišici,
da nikoli ne odpre ne oken ne vrat?
je rekla hišica:
Človek, ki se je skril vame,
ker ga je sram, da je prodal svoje srce.
- Gotovo ga je prodal slabo,
so dejali in pognali svoje limuzine
naprej skozi atomski vek.



A traveler went through the atomic age
and on markets, where everything is sold,
even apricots and lillies of the valley
early in the Spring,
he was selling his heart.
And once it was sold,
he had said: What next?
He asked of a canary: Can I buy you?
What will you with me now that you have no heart?
He asked of a dog: Can I buy you?
You'd beat me up now that you have no heart?
Of a star he asked: Or should I buy you?
And where would you put me now that you have no heart?

In the end he decided he will build himself
a tiny house
there on the edges of the atomic age.
And so he had done.
And when people would be walking by asking:
Who dwells in this tiny house,
hardly opening either windows or doors?
the house would have replied:
A man who hides inside,
the one ashamed that he sold his heart.
He must have sold it cheaply,
they'd answer and off they'd go, firing their limos,
onward through the atomic age.



Matej Bor (1913-1993): was an important Slovene modernist poet and a member of the modest Slovene anti-fascist resistance during WW2.

This allegorical poem was written in the 1950's and was part of the eponymous collection. Curiosly enough, it has been translated into English language twice, both, I believe, in British editions. 


Translated from the Slovenian

by Boris Bo Gregoric 

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