Simonida

Simonida

(A fresco housed by the 14th century Serbian
Monastery of Gra
čanica, Kosovo-Metohija)

By Milan Rakić

They gouged your orbs out, image fair
On a stone slab one distant night.
Knowing no one could see him there,
An Arbanas marred your orbs bright.

But, he wouldn’t touch with his hand,
Your sweet lips or your noble face,
Your crown of gold or your veil grand
Hiding your thick hair ‘neath its lace.

Now, in the church, on a stone plate,
In an ornate mosaic-like robe clad,
As you quietly endure your ill fate,
I behold you all white, solemn and sad;

And like extinguished stars which
To send their light to a man persist,
So he can see the form and shine rich
Of distant stars that no more exist,

Even now from the soot-covered plate,
On the dark wall of this holy shrine,
Your orbs, doleful Simonida, not of late
Gouged out, on me continue to shine.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

Simonida

Iskopaše ti oči, lepa sliko
Večeri jedne na kamenoj ploči,
Znajući da ga tad ne vidi niko,
Arbanas ti je nožem izbo oči.

Ali dirnuti rukom nije hteo
Ni otmeno ti lice, niti usta,
Ni zlatnu krunu, ni kraljevski veo,
Pod kojim leži kosa tvoja gusta.

I sad u crkvi, na kamenom stubu,
U iskićenom mozaik-odelu,
Dok mirno snosiš sudbu svoju grubu,
Gledam te tužnu, svečanu, i belu;

I kao zvezde ugašene, koje
Čoveku ipak šalju svetlost svoju,
Te čovek vidi sjaj, oblik, i boju
Dalekih zvezda što već ne postoje,

Tako na mene, sa mračnoga zida,
Na počađaloj i starinskoj ploči,
Sijaju sada, tužna Simonida, –
Tvoje već davno iskopane oči.

Simonida

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