Poem by Ranko Pavlovic / Translated by: Svetlana Pavlovic and Sofija Skoric

Ranko Pavlovic
Ranko Pavlovic was born on January 19, 1943 in Snjegotina Gornja, near Teslic, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He lives and works in Banjaluka.
He wrote 16 anthologies of poems, 16 anthologies of short stories, 5 novels, 16 anthologies of stories for children, one novel for young people , fifteen radio dramas and radio plays for children and ten texts for children’s theatres.
Publishing house for textbooks in Sarajevo published his Selected works in four volumes.
He won several important literary awards such as: “Laza Kostic“, “Skender Kulenovic“ “Petar Kocic“, “Veselin Maslesa“, “Zija Dizdarevic“, “Isak Samokovlija“…
Everything will finally come in its own place:
Nightingale on a poplar branch barely covered with leaves,
Bee on a first flower of primrose,
Sunbeam on a clear dew drop
Awake on a still not blooming bud.
Everything will finally be placed in its own place:
Smile on a freckled face of a sleeping child,
Maidenly wish in a smell of a bouncing apple,
Headless rhyme in harmonious verses
Of a poem that no beginning can be seen.
Everything will finally settle down in its own place,
Only my being will be far away,
Searching for a point where essence is shivering,
Only my thought will be on a path
Where feet do not touch the ground.
We hunted grasshoppers and butterflies,
Just to have enough play in the meadow …
… then we hunted rabbits and roebucks,
just to gorge ourselves and to survive,
then we hunted foxes and wolves,
to stop them hunting our rabbits and roebucks,
then we hunted other hunters,
to stop them hunting our quarry…
… so we started to hunt ourselves,
for he who once starts hunting – never stops.
He who writes poetry
Always has a safe hiding-place
To hide himself before the storm comes.
He writes a verse like a man
Who makes a roof above the house,
And hides himself before the storm comes.
Covers himself with a poem
Protects from peevishness
his family and himself too.
Him who writes poetry
Reaches a metaphor, finds a word
Warm as memory of a warm summer.
Such as a swallow for its nest
Infallibly finds the eaves
Under which all the inmates are happy.
He who writes poetry
Is never alone in his loneliness
And never his fingers and his heart become cold.
Translated by: Svetlana Pavlovic
Out of crumpled paper
Thrown into the room corner
The words are getting out
Like a fog out of a grove.
They don’t want to be abandoned,
They want me to embrace them again,
To give them their dignity back,
They want to be a poem.
If I do not comply with that wish
They sulk and turn their heads,
And when I turn off the lights
They slip into my bed and my sleep.
Washed and smiling,
They wake up the morning before I do,
And, like white butterflies,
Overfly my desk.
Beamed by their glitter,
I get out of bed drowsily
And hurry to put down again
Last night’s abandoned words.
Unexpectedly I turned up
In my parents’ house
Once full of joy
And found lonely old woman
Grown into numerous years,
With glasses on her nose
And a book in her hands.
My mother, who had
Between two deliveries
From a cooing of her sons
Solved the secret of the letters,
And whose love for books
Was unknown to me
Was reading my poems.
How surprised I was
And how astonished was I.
And how ashamed I was
For I hadn’t over each verse
Before its publishing
Kept longer watch, just to make sure
For it to be as meaningful
as mother’s word was.
They are returning from war
Year after year, decade after decade
they were coming back from war.
while going
to the wives’ bed, when their children
were born, when they buried fathers and mothers,
and bought for themselves
cemetery plots –
they are returning from war.
They are returning from war
while their generals
were reporting to the Commander- in-chief
and with him
drank champagne.
They are returning from war,
but it seems they are going to war.
Translated by Sofija Skoric

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