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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 10-11 | volume II | August-November, 1999



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 10-11August-November, 1999
Poetry

Leviathan: The White Whale

Translated by: Zoran Ančevski


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p. 2
Katica Kulavkova

Leviathan: The White Whale
Poetics Of Laughter

_______________________________________________________________________

Poetics Of Laughter
(invocation)

1. Grim laughter

Sing, O Goddess, of the gift to blaspheme
and sacrilege, of the grim laughter through tears and anguish,
recite in glory the ridicule of mortals,
the iambic mockery, the poisonous shriek

Give the joke to drink at its birth and death
the mask, the vice, the sin

Describe, O Eternal, the Cyclop's laughter
the blood's gurgle
scatter the circle in a ring of lines
in secret and passion, the gunpowder, the cartridge
in strict and meet meter
in the word magically reversed,*
with eyes at the neck,
in an old pattern, with a new faith

– who first mentioned the Name of God
he would perish unless there is
a sign in time
unless there is faith beside fraud
path beside abyss
absence beside presence
starlit forever.

        * Umberto Eco in The Name of the Rose (Zagreb: GZH, 1984, 271) writes about the “secret wisdom which allowed different occurrences to be named with different words, and various Godly objects to be given earthly names.”

2. From word to evil deed

I was horrified, O White Trinity*
I reduced the living word to a dizzy murmur
to green fear and black laughter
to irony
allegory
caricature
I made ugly the beautiful

for I saw
at every step in my home
greed for another home
passion and then apathy

dashes in the beginning and in the end
of history
(so that one can yell “mine”
and then pull at them!)

for I saw
how people take joy in the misery of their neighbours
and pride insatiably
mean pride typical for man
the godly creature, beast, blast!

for my eyes spilled from seeing
my word turned upside down
– an evil whip
so ob-vi(ci)ous!

        *Robert Graves, The Golden Fleece (Beograd: Prosveta, 1966). Graves lists several names for the incarnations of the Trinity Goddess: “Ancient,” “White,” “Unmentionable,” “Immortal”, “Eternal,” etc.

3. Paradox

If “God knows the measure” of immortality
and of evil which “grows and ripens”*
why doesn't He give us a hint
why
the numbers grow
and infinity becomes closer
and oh, paradoxes!
”our loss increases every day”**

let Him explain
– being rich with means and ways -
Who blessed the misanthropes
Who throw all, wild and tame, into the fire

to raze its seed and breed
O Mother?

        *Friedrich Helderlin, from his elegy “Return,” Bread and Wine (Split: Logos, 1985, p. 23).
        **Mesha Selimovich, The Dervish and Death.

4. Tragicomedy

Breathe life, verbally and congenially
into the blessed smile, long vanished
in this very same theatre, O Great Lightning

as there is no peace of cognition
neither comic nor tragic
where there is portentous coma

for comedy does not save the world*
where there is plunder

”because I do not hope, I do not hope”**
for peace to turn again where the cult is
extermination of peace
where hatred swells
like a forest fire
blown by a mountain wind
and a devilish Hoooooo

whereas we need sense for reality
so, how are we to endure,
O Goddess!

        *An allusion to Aristophanes' Frogs written “for the salvation of Athens,” (Beograd: Matica Srpska, 1978, p. 93).
        ** Thomas Stearns Eliot, “Ash Wednesday,” in Selected Poems (Beograd: Rad, 1977, p. 69).






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