Monday, January 26, 2015

Srečko Kosovel ~

 Srečko Kosovel

( 1904-1926, Slovenia )


I love the quiet August rain
that cools the forests and fields,
the gray sky, the fresh wind
that comes to the heart's quiet.

Quietly it comes to the carefree heart,
which is quietly open to sadness.
No longer crushed or glum,
grief giving way to joy.

Now all is fulfilled, the gray
clouds fragrant and melancholy.
In the rain and in the field
the dark wet poplars rocking.


My poem's an explosion,
savage rending. Dissonance.
My poem won't reach you,
who by God's will and providence
are dead aesthetes, museum moths.
My poem is my face.


I would like to walk around
in a small coat of

But hidden underneath should be
a warm, bright world.

What is wealth?
What is luxury?
For me it is this:
a small coat I have,
and this coat is like
no other.


I went for a ride in a golden boat
across the red waters of evening
through the trees
and along the grassy shore.
I was rowing,
I, the golden boatman . . .

But a storm blew in
and the sun fell
from its height,
so that everything less golden
shone forth
more clearly, more alive,
newly born —
I stepped ashore.

Red clouds tore
from my heart.
I saw them,
and I followed them
across the world.


Why be human if being human
is so difficult? Become the lamp
by the roadside that quietly sheds
its light on man.
Be as it is, for as it is
he will always have a human face.
Be good to him, this man,
and impartial like a lamp
that quietly illuminates the faces
of drunkards, vagabonds, and students
along the solitary road.

Be a lamp
if you can't be human,
for being human is difficult.
A human has just two hands
but he should help thousands.
So be a lamp by the roadside
shining on a thousand happy faces,
shining for the lonely, the aimless.
Be a lamp with a single light,
man in a magic square
signaling with a green arm.
Be a lamp, a lamp,
a lamp.


The old world is dying in me.
A sad hour comes.
In a streak of gold comes
new mysticism.
Human mysticism.
Magnetic blaze of the heart.
Human eyes glow —
radium in the night.
Death — a retreat from life.
O happy death.


 translated from the Slovene by
Ana Jelnikar & Barbara Siegel Carlson

Look Back, Look Ahead
The selected poems of Srečko Kosovel 
Ugly Duckling Presse