Wednesday, October 6, 2010



Armful of dry twigs

I carry to the fire

through busy streets.

I can't see the stake,

don't know who is being

burnt alive or why.

Flames rise in the glow

beyond the ecstatic crowd

singing, shouting and firing guns.

(This dream, I am not

bound to forget.)

Don't sway like that, O my curtain.


Hard freeze, and the stepmother

kicks me out of the house.

In the barn the cows were steaming.

It was warm to be with them.

I didn't curse anyone,

nor did I think about my fate.

When I started the village path,

I had my father's old shirt on

which I wore like a dress.

On the first big crossroad,

(all crossroads are big)

a man asked me where I was going

and I told him I am going far

beyond the hills

to seek Father and Holy Mother.

I wandered everywhere

like a God's fool.

whatever I acquired — I lost.

What I gave to life — died.

My stepmother died too.

Now I've no one left in the world.

Only her countless sons

and her wicked daughters.


Hey, little marsh, weed, cattail and water lily.

flies flies the gray crow.

among swamp plants, a tufted diver.

a small white heron hunts a frog, swallows the frog.

high in the tree the bird nests sway gently.

here, there, there's no one in the rotted boat.

no one rides the school of fish.

only gentlemen cormorants, only hungry white spoonbill.

let's praise everything we see.

let's set out for the open waters.

let's turn and lie on our backs forever.

translated from the Serbian by Charles Simic

from Dark Things (BOA Editions)