Blesok no. 25, March-April, 2002

Austrian Heads

Ferid Muhić

    Captain Franciscus Trakl, the favorite of the 6th hill regiment, came to the mountain plateau first early in the morning of that day. The soldiers who followed him at the head of the stretched row of 162 men, at a distance of fifty steps, thought that their Franzi, that figure with broad and straight back, with a proud officer’s posture, sealed to the saddle of his muscled Kulash, sank into the light blue, over the dark edge of the mountain side, suddenly and irrevocably, just as those who will never come back disappear, just as the dream that we will never dream again ends.
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    When his horse stepped over the edge of the shadow that draw the purple darkness sharply to the very border of the steep uphill, just as the ocean indigo shapes the body of the island and separates it from the dark depths, captain Trakl suddenly dived into a blinding glow. He forgot about his regiment, about these four years of hard war. He pulled the reigns. The horse stopped. So synchronous with his movement that one could not say whether, just a split second before the horse had stopped itself petrified by the miracle that had opened in front of them.
    It was not a common plateau! An ocean of green waves bathed in the morning sun shone until the borders of the horizon. Similar to a sky island, this view of pure, shiny grass gently waved. And only a distant mountain slope, sprinkled with white rocks, or the twinkling of the kofil on the gentle slopes, made it different from an ocean experience, as the whitening of the foam of distant waves. When his eyes adjusted, captain Trakl noticed that thick galaxies of meadow flowers were sprinkled throughout that calm shiny desert – the leftover gold of the extinguished stars. Several blue mirrors, lakes, darker and bluer than the other surface glowed in the distance, reminding Trakl of the views that he had seen in the Kornati, at the Adriatic Sea, when the smooth spots on the calm sea shine under the gentle blows of the mistral, in the middle of the grayness of the wrinkled sea surface. He was a bit surprised by the knowledge that he was not bothered by the absence of any traces of people, civilization, history. And then that nice inner smile that his lovers liked so much appeared on his face. He was surprised by the clear and already written or read thought. Yes, no doubt there is neither Vienna, nor Salzburg, nor Venice, nor Prague here. But, this is no human world after all. All of those four elements, which rule so voluptuously here, this wide land of the plateau, the transparent and sharp air of the mountain, the crystal clear waters of the springs and shimmering lakes, and the fire of this eternal Sun, which rules with everybody and everything, must have looked like this even before people existed. How, I would never know. But, here, I know how they would look after our disappearance!

… … … … … … … … … … … … … …
    On the surface of that endless, timeless Ocean, calmly and confidently, as a saint walking on water, he was approached by lieutenant Musil, the commander of the reconnaissance patrol. Through the long, gentle green wave, the captain saw the four people of the patrol descending, with the same calm and sovereignly saintly step, as in a prayer or a dream.
    After he had saluted, lieutenant Musil sharply gave his report.
    Everything is OK, Mr. Captain! No traces of people, nor any residential facilities, walls, trenches or any other proofs of human presence.
And then he took the liberty of giving a comment:
    Everything looks surreal, timeless. As if I had dreamt all of my previous life. I feel that we, those before this, were not at all, as if we had never been!
Captain Trakl and lieutenant Musil were friends at the war academy. This informality between them was not unusual, and their friendship resisted all temptations of the strict army hierarchy.
    I agree, my man. Although, I would add that I am impressed by the other complementary point: as if we are just now. And as if we had just arrived where we would stay forever. We passed from time to eternity, from darkness to light, from fiction to reality.
Franciscus Trakl was an experienced soldier. One of the three best cadets in the generation of Militarische Akademie, he had all the preconditions for a brilliant military carrier. The war took him by surprise and postponed those perspectives, but now, at its end, everything could start from the beginning. Accelerate even, because the country needs every capable man after such a defeat. Often possessed by his plans for the future, the captain was surprised by some feeling of carelessness, peace and almost complete indifference to any thought of planning. His unit was withdrawing from the Thessaloniki front, from the Kajmakcalan region, after the long battles in the trenches. With his wise decisions, by understanding the logic of the field and with his excellent tactics knowledge, captain Trucks kept his unit practically without losses throughout the three endlessly long war years. He was completely close to any of the men, sharing their worries, hopes, interests, and dreams. In his unit he had a philosophy professor, two painters, four musicians, out of whom there was one composer and one violinist of the Wienner Filharmonische Orchestra, two physicists… Each of them had been surprised by the thorough knowledge and inventiveness of the spirit of their captain, whether it was the esthetic beliefs of Benedetto Croce, Hegel’s dialectics, or the concepts of Max Planck. Trakl equally convincingly demonstrated his deep understanding of the painting, especially the period of quattrocento and cinquecento, as well as the work of Titian and Raphael, while he knew the details of the contemporary music not only in theory but first hand, Franciscus Trakl played the violin so well that when he was seventeen he was offered to play at the Conservatorium.
    Still, the captain also knew how to behave with any other man in his unit, regardless of their education level. He was happy and had fun with the three tailor’s assistants, he told dirty jokes with a dozen of factory workers, he was equal in skill to the two professional wrestlers of his unit. He was born in Innsbruck, and often as a boy he traveled to Bolzano, where his family regularly spent the winters, and at his early age he learned Italian perfectly. There, when he was fifteen, he met and make friends with his peer, the assistant at the hotel where the Trakl family regularly stayed, named Martin Lupino. When the war started, Martin was also at Franciscus Trakl’s unit, probably upon the direct intervention of the captain himself, and he never left any traces of it nor did he mention the subject.

    So, their friendship never stopped since then. Now they were also together, Martin was his personal adjutant, and in this three years their friendship grew into this rare kind of direct, almost instinctive and telepathic understanding. Once Martin made a joke on this topic, stating: “The awkward side of our understanding is that we don’t need to speak any more. First, because we know anyway what the other thinks; second, because by keeping silent we express our thoughts in a clearer way than putting them in speech!”
    Trakl remembered this. He startled from his bewitched silence. He chose a mildly slopped side with his eyes, naturally shaped and grown into an almost perfect amphitheater, turned south-east. The soldiers were tired of everyday marches. After the endless months in the mud of the rainy and snowy trenches, the strong dose of sun will do them good. He ordered that the soldiers are given their food when they arrive and that they rest for four hours. The usual schedule and regime of guard was the final part of the order that lieutenant Musil forwarded.
    Entre nos, my dear captain, I think that here in this primordial region of eternal silence we are very safe, safer than in our barracks at Linz, said the lieutenant while they slowly walked towards the place they chose for their rest.
    You mean the order to put guards? Asked captain Trakl.
    Yes, I think that any reason for putting guards other than the rules of the service, even when such a reason would exist, would be a miracle? Said Musil.
    Captain Trakl smiled: Meine Lieber Nauptmann! I believe in miracles. That is part of my job!
… … … … … … … … … … … … … …
    Martin Lupino, the adjutant of captain Trucks, assumed the position next to his superior. Although Trakl never introduced the slightest note of subordination in their communication, not even when he was ordering him in front of others, Martin had a feeling of endless respect and even admiration to Trakl. Maybe the difference in their social status was not quite an insignificant factor. If it ever had any influence, this factor played its role at their first meeting – when the young Lupino served tea to the Trakl family, distinguished guests in the hotel where Martin had been accepted as an assistant and occasionally, a waiter. Very handsome, with a good figure, Martin was a hardworking young man, with a feisty temperament, and the same afternoon, him and the slightly older Franciscus Trakl competed fiercely in a breathtaking ski race along the steepest ski slope. The social barrier between these two boys was then completely erased. Still, everything that Trakl said or did afterwards fascinated Martin, and this thrill with his friend was an excellent formula for their business relation, not hurting his vanity and not imposing any forced obligations. The closeness of their souls remained intact.
    Now Martin felt that his friend the captain had entered a completely special mood, as he had never shown until then. Something happened with Trakl. Something happened with him as well, with all of them in this magical space of green sky island, dived into blue. Something had come over the hundred and sixty men comfortably lying in the deep fragrant grass, hidden in the middle of the flowers at the slopes of the natural amphitheater chosen by the captain for rest, as if created for a dream that should not stop.
    There are some situations, Martin, started Trakl. Situations that come from nowhere. They fall on some area as a fog, they overcome the people and their thoughts become thick, sticky premonition. All plans stop, every difference is erased, thought disappears. The captain did not look at Martin. His eyes wandered far, focused somewhere in the endlessness, maybe several centimeters above the very forehead of God. He knew that Martin understands him better than he managed to understand his own thought. In these cases, not the things that we want, neither those that we strive for happen to us, but the things that a situation carries within. We stick to this feeling, we separate from ourselves, we give in to something that is indifferent to us, and what predetermines us – as some sunny area that gives in to the twilight without objection, not knowing and not asking what it brings.
    Then both happiness and misery happens to us easily.
    Here, this overcomes me now.

… … … … … … … … … … … … … …
    Stretched on the comfortable side, leaning on their backpacks, with their shirts undone, barefoot, to rest their feet and air their shoes, Trakl’s soldiers slept. All of a sudden, while his men surrendered to the sun and that surreal beauty everywhere around him, from time to time still releasing their backpack and untying the shoelaces of the heavy shoes, the captain found his destiny. Although he was still standing, he again forgot everything that preceded this moment, as when in a dream, the other dream descends and with the soft wing of forgetfulness it covers both the dreamer and the first dream.
    Martin, comfortably lying on his back, let himself to the hypnotic force of the sky ink spilt on this morning, clear as if it had fell from the first drop of the God’s pen. He counted seven big eagles silently circling in spirals, raising towards the blue endlessness that opened like a bell in front of them. It looked that with every new circle they untied a new huge sack, tied with invisible ties that they carried in their beaks; and they threw handfuls of golden yellow, powder-blue, white, gentle pink flowers, large like stars, and it silently covered the startled desert like think hives of snowflakes.
    Now I understand the stories in which the soul of the main character hides in the eagle. The body would never agree to leave such a deadly beauty. The eagle is a soul that repents its yearning for immortality by sacrificing everything that is beautiful. Because, beauty dies, and it has to be paid with life.
Martin did not answer anything. He knew that his friend, captain Trakl looked at those eagles at the same time as him, that left the magnificent allegory of this world, and that he did not expect a comment, but he just expressed their common trembling before what shook them both to the bottom of their souls.

    At the peak of the turquoise side, a pile similar to a tower, with a moss color in a hazelnut shade – dark, dim reflection of green, passed through the shimmering of a warmed dark granite; under that, several rocks shone like purple and pink crystals. Where the slope descended into the plateau, the waves of the mountain river playfully foamed and in unpredictable showers hit the deep cut with a young meat color. Martin thought that a huge horse – greeny, hits his back with his snowy white tail, while he waits for his giant rider, so that he jumps in the saddle with the kidnapped fairy in his arms.
    A deeply melancholic symphony echoed across that divine plane, endlessly, quietly; the shine of those milky ways woven from flowers, braided in the green waves of the grass web, changed in clear accords, with the extinguished, partially drawn shadows of the high lonely rocks, as if on a  big wreath prepared for somebody who is not here yet, but he is expected to be brought any minute. Somewhere around, some quiet, hushed aura twinkled, turning the visible world into a higher existence.
    Captain Franciscus Trakl sighed and in the end lied down in the flower beauty, as if lying down in a God’s hand.
… … … … … … … … … … … … … …
    He was startled by some unclear premonition. There was deadly silence everywhere. The sun was still high and shone with that pleasant mountain warmth, that leaves the air fresh and light for breathing. His sharpened military instinct told him that something big was not right. He could simply smell the danger – and what he felt now was more than danger. The thought of the sunny area that surrenders itself to the twilight in the end of the day, just like the lamb surrenders itself to the knife. He felt that he was too far from his past, from everything that he remembered, everything he cared for. Captain Trakl realized that he controlled nothing anymore, that some decision had been made, that this decision was a verdict really, and that this verdict was irrevocable. And as if the hour for it to be executed had come.
    That tissue of his soul – Europe! – quite disappeared from his deepest memories, it separated from him and became less real than any blade of grass in which he had dived, lying immobile, just awaken and still suddenly quite awake. As the yearning for woman, company, glass of cognac had disappeared. And although he could still touch and feel it, he knew that his own life was already far from him, that it was similar to a distant view, that we cover with our hand and hide it from us ourselves. The cover of the silent beauty had already fallen on him and his people, covering them and separating them from this world.
    “The guards were killed!” He yelled this and clearly felt it at the same time, not knowing how he knew it! Martin jumped at captain’s words. Too late. Guns started shooting from all sides. Franciscus Trakl saw his men getting up, taken from their dream, and fell back in the thick grass, in the kofil and flowers, hit by the bullets that flew on all sides. He reached for his gun, got behind some thick bushes, and started watching. The rifles shot endlessly, but nobody of the attackers could be seen. The amphitheater, so convenient for sunbathing, now became a fatal trap along whose edges there were the invisible attackers. Trying to group, his men rose, ran for couple of steps, or not a single step, and they fell, fell like mowed, fell like harvested. The clearness of the meadow did not offer any cover, not a single shield. To get up her meant being a perfect target. Not to get up could mean that the last chance for another facing the world in a straight position and on one’s own feet was missed. For a moment, it was safer to lie down, but the situation demanded action, and not passive lying and waiting for the bullet of the invisible shooters to come.
    A bit later, it became clear that neither could influence the final outcome. Trakl’s people could be heard less and less, only a shot here and there. The captain could recognize the guns of each of his soldiers based on their sounds. “This is Herman! This one now – Thomas! By the creek – that’s Marcelo! This must have been Verner!” Of course, he also shot. He was aware that his soldiers also knew the sound of his gun. A first class shooter, captain Franciscus Trakl carefully spent every shot. He mostly shot at those places where a minute ago he would see a little cloud of powder smoke, where, according to the logic of the configuration of the field, the attacker could hide. Only twice did he think that after his shot, the shooting from those places at which he had shot stopped immediately; the high thick grass hid the truth about whether he had also answered in the same way to some of the invisible snipers. Next to him, only couple of steps lower, only Martin Lupino remained, and he shot filling in his rifle quickly.
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    At one moment he noticed how the dark figures quickly jumped out of the grass and changed their positions approaching closer and closer, already very deep inside their lines. Trakl pointed his officer’s binoculars to one of them who ran across the empty space at that moment. He wanted to be sure that he would hit him and waited that the man stop at his new position that he would precisely locate, and then shoot at a place in the grass where the attacker could hide from the eyes, but not from the bullet. He saw a sharp, dry face of a highlander, with thick moustache. His eyes or his expression did not show any rage, greed, or fierce need for battle, or the joy created by the desire for heroism. He shot running quickly, as if following an order, but not a usual military order, but more in a trance of calm determination. As if following an order obtained from the destiny, fate, as if on a mission given from the angel of doom personally.
    Trakl lowered his binoculars and grabbed the gun. Nobody hates anybody here, he thought. It seemed that they were all together in a gravity field that determined their actions as the gravity determined the trail of a heavy rock that breaks, destroys and demolished everything in front of it, mute and speechless, not hating anybody and not caring for anybody’s destruction!
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    The captain lowered his binoculars. That face, exposed only to the naked eye of Franciscus Trakl, looked too small and unexpectedly remote. The familiar strong urge of the hunter determined to get on his pray, so precious for the high breed warrior, completely overcame him.
    He rose a bit above the grass line and shot. At the same moment, as the distant echo of his shot rang in his ears, captain Franciscus Trakl felt a hot blow in his chest, sudden warmth in his cheeks, a sound in his ears. And a very mild dizziness.
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    Soft, more like descending than falling, the captain returned to the warm sweetness of the fragrant grass. He stayed on one knee. His face touched the kofil that softly caressed him, almost next to his eyes. He also lowered the other knee to the ground. He still held his carbine, a reward from the all army competition held in Graz in 1912, in the summer, just at this time, maybe even on this date, he thought, and he vividly remembered that moment as he had received this very carbine from the hands of colonel Schtal, and that sweet madchen Paula smiled at him with her shiny eyes, golden hair, snowy white blouse and the little dress with suspenders red a forest strawberries, standing in the first row, in the middle among her distinguished mama und papa, who would become, as early as the fall of that same year, his mother and father in law, and they would all warmly and happily clap…
    Captain Franciscus Trakl spread his arms as never before, so much that he even surprised himself; as if made of rubber, or without bones or ligaments, his spread arms stretched more and more before his eyes, across the borders of this battlefield, and just like that reached the horizon itself, which seemed easy to hug, if only he wanted. He felt that he had left somewhere, that this is the way to leave you own life.
    Now, he could still do whatever he wanted. He touched the lips of his beloved gently with his lips, at the same time knowing that this feeling would never repeat, nor be replaced with some other. All senses slowly extinguished, died out, as if his hand stiffens leaning on a pillow too soft. As if he had stopped his own life, and still he had soundness enough to notice, in wonder, how he completely clearly followed the more and more distant flight of those eagles, sharply marked in the transparency of the sky, that looked like the air itself had been sucked out of it.
    He was especially surprised that despite the stronger and stronger feeling that he himself was sinking in the sky abyss, and that he had become one of those small, distant points the eagles had turned into, still, perfectly clear, from close range, immediately next to his eyes, he saw the blossoms of the blue encijan, golden glow of the mountain heather, the thick bunch of sky blue crocus that pierced through the bushes of moss like an ikebana, and that he quite clearly recognized the striking, bitter fragrance of the spruce tree.
    Captain Franciscus Trakl realized that his suddenly overflowing yearning for future faced his sudden discovery that here, on this beautiful meadow he would soon lie dead! Or that he was already lying…
    All the feelings through which he knew of his body, joy, enthusiasm, hunger, passion, thirst, had disappeared as fester running out of a pressed wound. He felt that he was getting weaker suddenly and carelessly, just like butterflies get weaker in early fall.
    He thought that his senses had sharpened beyond any understandable limit, that they grab and shape the lights, smells, sounds… with a fullness and magic with which the secrets hidden in the land reveal themselves through the crown of the spring sour cherry. A lightning hit the embellished crown of the April sour cherry that, a minute before, revealed itself before some inner eye. An awful sharp pang of pain hit him. It seemed that the pain would never stop, that the pain could not pass till the end of time and world, it was so dense, concentrated, as if created of a pre-matter that would never disintegrate and that can not be destroyed by anything.
    No pain lasts longer than life! He thought in relief.
    Not much longer afterwards, the pain calmed down, and then passed completely. The perfect, liberating force of the knowledge that life had passed removed from captain Franciscus Trickle the load of all other thoughts.
… … … … … … … … … … … … … …
    Martin Lupino lied behind a big rock, high above the battlefield. Sweaty, but unhurt, he was still gasping for breath while he was staring at the place of the disaster. His whole unit was destroyed. All of his friends were dead. He saw when captain Franciscus Trakl, his dear friend Franzi, quietly got down on the grass after he had hit one of the attackers who dared to run out of his shelter with a precise shot. Now one of the bandits yelled something in an unknown language exactly from the place where the captain remained lying. Leaning on the grass for a while, the bandit rose and happily, triumphantly started waving with Trakl’s captain’s dolama. Everywhere on the battlefield there were human figures moving in dark clothes of rough wool fabric, occasionally leaning over the dead. They undressed the uniforms from the dead, searched their pockets, collected the weapons and the ammunition, with the same seriousness, concentration and indifference with which they had shot them a while ago. It seemed that they were at work and that they were performing their everyday tasks where they lived.
    When it got dark, Lupino left. He never discovered where exactly he escaped on the way to Restelica. He remembered that he had fallen into a crack so narrow that for a while he had quite accepted the idea that he would die stuck like that. In those awful moments, he thought that the feeling of tightness, fear of closed space probably came from the memories of the horrors of the birth. The one who was born, got through the smallest crack he would ever get through, and if the delivery was especially long, man gets fed up with tunnels, cracks and gorges for his whole life. Still, Martin somehow got out and late in the night he entered the remote mountain village at more than 1.800 meters above the sea level.
    He was taken by the first people who found him wandering though the narrow street. He did not say anything, he had lost his speech. They did not bother him with questions. They had apparently seen people in similar situations before. He dined at the same table with the host and he spent the night in the common room where the whole family slept. The next day, while he was sitting at the tea house trying to communicate with the locals, some of the attackers entered. To buy food. The one who wore the mundir of captain Franciscus Trakl, the leader if the thieves, approached him smiling kindly and patted him on the shoulder. He even gave him three gold coins.
    Nothing personal against anybody. This is just my job. I live on this. And one does not live easy or long like this. When you survived now, you will live. Of course you will outlive me. Here you are three ducats. They’ll come handy, For luck. And remember me when you find out that I’m gone.
Then laughing loudly, he rode away with his three companions. In the saddle and on the horse of captain Franciscus Trakl.
    Martin understood all of this later. He stayed at Restelica for three years. He worked as the village cook. His recipes have remained until nowadays, La cuisina Italiana di Restelica – sometimes laughed Martin, explaining the passers-by the strange food that none of them had seen or tasted before. But the locals, the people of Rastelica got used to his specialties quickly and accepted them, although they mostly asked for their nomadic, shepherds meals.

    Martin also found out that the attack had been planned for three whole days, secretly following them, by one notorious bandit with 38 men. He would not have attacked unless two army units had joined him – 94 men in total, to whom he had to promise previously that the division of the prey would be strictly based on the number of fighters, equal to everybody. The ambush was made in that valley, closed with Crn Kamen, a bit above the Veselova mountain and Mengulova Kula, at the very border of the Restelicki sinor, at 2.200 meters above the sea level, surrounded and almost wreathed with several strong and clear springs. This valley had no name until then, but it was simply called the Hole, but the next summer it became known as “Austrian Heads”.
    Always running, always chased, with military and police behind their backs, the bandits did not even try to bury the killed. They had one casualty among them (Martin was convinced that it was the man shot by captain Trakl at the moment when he himself was hit), who was buried quickly near a spring (so that soul is not thirsty!), and four wounded, who were placed in the villages of the Ljuma region, where they had their informers. 162 men, the whole unit minus him, Martin Lupino, remained in the grass and flowers, at the disposal of the beasts, birds and the gradual organic disintegration.
    The rare passers-by, shepherds mainly, avoided the place for a long time. Only several years later some of them dared to pass through the area covered with already whitened and scattered bones, turning their eyes away every time they would see a human scull in the thick grass or rich flowers.
    Nobody still had their flocks grazing there, and the toponym Austrian Heads marked the place where one passes in case of utter need only, and even then quickly, without a word, with the needed grace.
    Martin resisted the temptation to revisit the place of the event for a long time. Finally, in the summer of the third year of his new, gifted life, joined by Mursel, with whom he had a kind of almost mute friendship, he went to this awful pilgrimage. The bones had whitened in the strong mountain sun, wind, ice, rains, and in that clear day they shone almost like saint’s. He was particularly shaken by the skulls – those Austrian heads had really gotten some expressive energy that must have made even the simple shepherds choose the impeccable name for that place. Through the holes of those caves, once inhabited by souls, thoughts, plans, now there were only shrubs of grass, flowers; Martin remembered the story of the people who made idols out of their thoughts – captain Trakl had told him about the English philosopher Francis Bacon “Idola specus”, the idols of the cave, thought Martin then, and those were really idols of what is inside the cave called one’s own scull. The inhabitants of these sculls, those former homes of souls, moved away to who knows where, and everything that remained was indeed the desert of the empty caves.
He never removed this image from his memories, and he never returned to visit the Austrian Heads.
    When he made a bit of money and when the news of the stabilization of the situation reached Rastelica, distant and lonely, Martin cooked a big lunch for the whole village, bid good-bye and told the people he was going home, to Italy. Martin waited for Bolzano with a shiver and mild fear. In his thoughts he hugged all of those dear places where he went with his friend Franciscus Trakl, filled with bitterness that opened under his heart when he thought that now those were places where his captain was no more, and he would never be again. He did not want to work at the same hotel and shortly afterwards, he moved to the region of Abruzes and Maremo, because of two reasons. First, he wanted to avoid meeting Franciscus Trakl’s parents and wife; he felt that his friend and captain would not like that anything else other than the official notice that they had already gotten is found out: MISSING!
    Second, the fascinating energy of those areas seemed like such an important factor in their common destiny, that he believed that the inevitable meeting with Franciscus Trakl and all of his friends killed there can only happen at a place of approximate beauty. Central Italy with Gran Sas was the most similar.
    There were two dreams, that recurred often and he wrote down couple of lines on them.
    First dream: I saw her, by the waterfall, beautiful and fatal, standing and teasing, as the slim, deadly mushroom calls in the May dew. At the Dervish tekke I will wait for you, she said. And she rode a dorat horse under the oak tree. And all of a sudden I found myself in the middle of that heavy hair, as if when man steps in the thick fragrance of the forest covered with secret herbs sprouting.
The meaning of these words could be felt in the fact that an unknown amount from some foreign country regularly came to Mursel’s address, whose beautiful daughter refused to get married for a long time.
    Second dream:
    Once I saw it, I have dreamt of it all my life!
    In their heads there are the dreams of Croce and Hegel, the paintings of Raphael and Titian float, Michelangelo and Leonardo… and the big bears come, and silent wolves’ shadows, and fast foxes, and the ravens caw and the eagles hit with their powerful wings, and the bearded eagle circles! And they tear apart the Newton’s theories with their powerful jaws and they break the sculptures of David and they digest the frescoes of the walls of the Sistine Chapel with dissolving acids, the colors of the Renaissance masters leak from their bloody beaks, and Pico della Mirandola flies into the insides of the white headed vulture. And, in winter, the snow covers the empty caves without their inhabitants in layers…
    … Once I saw it, I have dreamt of it all my life. And I know that those beasts and birds are tortured, they’d like to speak, to make it easier to themselves, I know that the paintings, sculptures, formulas and pages of many books dance before their eyes in their dreams, when they mate or hunt. I hear what they hear, and in my ears it echoes that Hegel and Leonardo speak through their roar and howl, their crowing and screeching, through their bears’ throats and wolves’ jaws, through fox’s snout, thorough the bony beak of the ravens and eagles. And only I can understand that mute language of the souls turned into beasts… And then I go there and I collect the remains of those paintings and books, fragments of screams and music, and I return them to the museums, to the basis, to the libraries, everything to its proper place, and they are all alive again, they shake my hand, and they leave somewhere to get some sleep, and the animals and birds bless me and joyfully chattering and crow and happily speak in their own languages only…
    And then I wake up. And then I see the same thing, exactly the same thing, awake.
On the full meaning of these words only Martin Lupino could say the real thing. Both writings were sent to that same Mursel by mail, many years later, and not knowing what they might mean, he put them in a crack between two stones in the wall of a bacilo, when in late fall he left for the winter season with his flocks, home to Restelica, travelling as usual, along the longer way via Dedel-bey and Zendel-bey, circling around Austrian Heads in a broad line. Above that valley, the snow storm had already started. The snowflakes stuck to those empty caves where their inhabitants did not reside any more in hives.

Translated into English: Elizabeta Bakovska

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