Blesok no. 37, July-August, 2004
Poetry


Pere-Lachaise
Translated by: Dijana Komlenac. Proofread by Bela Gligorova and Eric Davis.

Tihomir JanĨovski



If you love and not feel pain


If you love and not feel pain,
Impotent is your love, girl

What truth is called suffering encompasses
And faith and hope and sacrifice

Yet, life without love can be,
But barren and void




Pere-Lachaise


While the others set off to an amusement park,
We went to the cemeery.
It was on Good Friday, 2002.

Wandering through the alleys of the dead,
In search of the final resting places
Of the people we had never met
But yet knew (about),

We passed by the bones of one-time
Paris heroes, men-of-letters, painters,
Presidents, sinners, and righteous people

And just like the occupants whose bones they interred,
The graves stood in great diversity:
Marble ones, white-washed, bright, flaunting extravagance, obscure,
Plain and sculpture-like.

I thought to myself: Could this be some kind of morbid
Tourism featuring dead people?
I don't know and cannot say.

Yet, amidst this eternal placidity
We beheld a real funeral
At which no one cried,
The deceased was not bewailed,
No woman shed a tear, no dog barked, nothing,
Only silent pain

Buried and unmourned after,
There he lies in his pit,
There at Pere Lachaise,
The cemetery of the glorious
In Paris




Last Fare-well


In life we experience
Both joy and anguish
And two kinds of events
Espouse them most:
Get-togethers and partings

And as it passes by,
Life,
The first bring us more joy
Whereas the second
Strike us with more grief

Get-togethers are beginnings,
Partings endings
And death is the greatest and
Most painful parting
Of all the partings

Yet, it is not the ultimate end
Death,
Rather it is a passage from one
Form of existence into another

Though the dead does not
Dwell in his body any more
We still feel
His presence,
His soul

Why, then, are we compelled
To cry and bemoan
If there is no death?

We do not mourn after
The deceased,
And we do not grieve for his
Bodily surcease,
His demise

Rather we lament ourselves,
We are bereft of him,
And we miss him immensly




Choice


Lately freedom is weighing heavily
Upon us
Making us aware
That choices are ours
Free from pressure
We chose
And what we chose
That's what we'll live with
It will be our retribution or reward
For everything
Our (in)felicitous lot




Lot's Wife


She was chosen
To flee Sodom
Together with Lot and their daughters
They set out

Angles led them
Outside of the city walls
And out they struck
And plodded

On the way she wavered
And stopped
And although she was forbidden,
She turned back towards Sodom-home

She felt sorry for the city
Where people became carnal merchandise
Sold and
Bought

And was turned into
A pillar of salt
Lot's wife,
Wretched,
Foolish

Familiar depravity
Was more dear to her
Than unknown
Beauty




I reached out


I reached out
To take you along
You grabbed my hand
And then let go off it
Saying you would rather go back
Whence you had come from
You were not ready to strike out and suffer
(if needs be)
Go, then, if you prefer it that way
Go and shut yourself up into
Tears, plastic,
And the doldrums




Scared off by beauty


Scared off by beauty,
And petrified by the unknown it promised forth,
And absence of bars,
And what is beyond the wall,

It was easier for you to cower, and remain
In the rut, your own,
For you even the cage seemed beautiful
Somehow very beautiful

And like a chicken
Strutting aimlessly through the village,
Yester night
You came back
To your coop.

At daybreak,
Squinting
From its dunghill
And you from your cage,
Both, the chicken and you were watching
Birds circling up in the sky,
And you felt a twinge of jealousy
Because you have forgone the flight
Somehow a very sharp twinge




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