Duska Vrhovac (Duška Vrhovac)


Duska Vrhovac .

Duska Vrhovac



Duska Vrhovac (Duška Vrhovac), poet, journalist and translator, was born in 1947 in Banja Luka, in the current Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. She graduated comparative literature at Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, where she lives and works as a writer and freelance journalist. She has worked for many years at the Television Belgrade (Radio Television of Serbia) and she has worked with major newspapers.

With 20 published books of poetry, some of which have been translated, in part or in full, into 20 languages, she is among the most significant contemporary authors of Serbia and beyond. Present in newspapers, literary journals and anthologies of absolute value, she has participated in many meetings, festivals and literary events in Serbia and abroad.

Duska Vrhovac is a member, among others, of the Association of Writers of Serbia, Association of Literary Translators of Serbia, of the International Federation of Journalists and she is ambassador of the Movement Poets of the World (Movimiento Poetas del Mundo) in Serbia and Vice President for Europa.

She has received important awards and recognition for poetry, including: Majska nagrada za poeziju -May prize for poetry- 1966, Yugoslavia; Pesničko uspenije -Ascension of Poetry – 2007, Serbia; Gensini Prize – Poetry Section 2011, Italy; Naji Naaman’s honour prize for complete work – 2015, Lebanon, and the golden badge assigned by the Institution for Culture and Education of the Republic of Serbia.



- Duska Vrhovac

 Poems by Duska Vrhovac





Poets are a gang

fanciful wanderers,

unreliable interpreters

of daily life and eternity,

futile trackers,

immoderate lovers,

hunters of misplaced words

and spies on roads and seas.


Poets are haughty caretakers

of overgrown royal gardens,

forerunners of star derailments,

harbingers of sunk ships,

desecrators of secret paths,

crafty healers of

Great Bear and Little Bear and

gatherers of  the dust of Universe.


Poets are the stealers of illusions,

discoverers of discarded utopias,

deceivers of every kind,

tasters of poisoned food,

prodigal sons and professional seducers,

knight-riders who readily place

theirheads under guillotine

and become their own executioners.


Poets are crowned

guardians of the essence of language,

devotees of unsolvable misteries,

illusionists and procurers.

They are the favourites of gods,

testers of magic potions


of their own lives.


Poets are the last offspring

of the most delicate sort of Cosmic beings

nurturers of the soul’s white flowers

and unreliable creators of unsustainable worlds.

Poets are interpreters of lost signs,

carriers of important messages

and a warning that Life is endless,

and Universe an unfinished project.


Poets are fireflies in the dump of Cosmos,

conquerors of the golden belt of rainbow’s colours

and performers of the sacred music

of the creation of Universe.

Poets are imperceptible conversationalists

in silence about sense and nonsense

about all the visible and the invisible.

Poets are my only true brothers.






Countless poets have already told

how they see a whole world in a grain of sand,

infinity in the palm of a hand, all heaven in an eye,

and how a single day can be an eternity..


Many of them have glorified love,

cursed suffering, sorrow and pain,

described death, hell, paradise and a happy home,

earnest that everlasting shall be their work and name.


Everything has been said and seen,

forewarned, sung and written about,

and there is nothing that has never been.


So why then do here I stand

Like the first woman and the first man,

As if I were a God.


To say what was told?

To describe what is written?

To find my own word.






I was picking red peonies with you last night

by the muddy Bistrica river.

From the sky were falling white petals on us

from the hands of souls who haven’t found peace.

From grass could be heard whisperings of ancient lovers,

the sound of horsemen clatter was coming from the road,

as in the poems of Hikmet Nazim.


While drops of the mystic rain were colouring our faces

Your eyes were sparkling balsam for the soul

and with some damned synergy

your hot breath on my mature lips

was turning into scarlet dew drops.

Everything was unreal except the night,

except our tears and blessings of our Lord.


Now I know that you are and what is and what is not.

If you were a blue dawn of my gentle death

and painful twilight of their outgoing youth;

if you were stopped voice of the primordial scream,

the runaway dream of fullness of a sleeping angel

who got tired of the excessive desire

and wished to rest on my shoulder.






On a dark veil of my confused night

with your finger, like with a magic brush,

you are painting white, drowsy lilies.


Confused by your risen desire

they mindlessly grow and outgrow

the view of my shaded window.


I am watching you while in an ecstasy you ask the wind

Can this field bear so much beauty

which swells your chest to burst.


Wind is quiet, entirely got quiet, intoxicated,

Fears to not get blown away by the smell of coming poem

into the dreams of the innocent and still asleep ones.


And on my face, as on the waters of Jordan,

fly reflections of your original character

and the soul celebrates, not caring for eternity or volatility.






Loneliness does not fade in the moonlight.

By that primal candle

fades only our unstable character

stooping over loneliness

wanting to portray it as a mystical moment

chosen and embraced voluntarily.


But the smell of iodine in the air warns.

The depth of breaths give us away

and we and this rich night in the distance

turn into cosmic pain

instead of the wax seal

which seals the important messages.


Pain thickens in the moonlight

Hands look for each other

as they are not twins

but strangers from another planet.

Not the smell of sea water

Nor the substantial iodine can help it there.


In the night of moonlight everything opens

and releases abstained traces

unfinished kisses

and easily broken dreams.

Not even the tide or ebb can do anything.

In the night of moonlight only love helps.



Translated by Richard Burns and Vera V. Radojević: POETS, TO FIND MY OWN WORD.

Translated by Aleksandar Malešević: MYSTIC RAINS, HEAVENLY THINGS, MOONLIGHT.



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