De Profundis

De Profundis

By Jovan Dučić

You await solace. No, solace there is no:
What they call solace, oblivion you call,
Never does it sleep a truly profound woe.

‘Twixt fantasy and reality lingering all,
Observing the motionless vigil o’er you
Of that Angel of Suffering standing tall,

You yearn and wait. And even now you
Know not the bitter glass is brimming still
With the deadly poison of an irony true;

And that our ever passionate past will
Frighten us during many a restless night,
Like of an old inmate’s chains the clank ill.

Harsh times will come and claim outright
Their own piece of a delirious, pleading
And desirous heart: and you’ll be rising right

To the fateful peak, tirelessly proceeding,
Barefoot, pallid, freezing, oh, poor soul
Reaching out and for the Sun appealing!

And so those joyless days with no goal,
Taking away their part of the tears we cry,
Will fly past us like ravens beyond control,

Without severing a single link or tie
Binding us to the past that stands behind
And like Medusa on us keeps an eye…

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

De profundis

Ti utehu čekaš. Ne, utehe nema:
Što utehom zovu, zovi zaboravom;
Jad istinski dubok nikad ne zadrema.

Rastrzana tako među snom i javom,
Gledajući kako nepomično bdije
Taj Anđeo Stradanja nad tužnom ti glavom,

Ti želiš i čekaš. I ne znaš da nije
Ni sad ispijena ta čemerna čaša,
I svirepi otrov jedne ironije;

I da će nas večno strasna prošlost naša
U nemirne noći da trgne i seti,
Kao zveket lanca starog robijaša.

Surovi će dani doći i uzeti
Svaki po svoj deo od srca što bunca,
Što želi, što moli; a ti ćeš se peti;

Peti neprekidno, do kobnog vrhunca,
Golom stopom, bleda, smrzla, jadno dete
Pružajuci ruke i vapijuć: Sunca!

I tako ti dani bez sreće i mete,
Odnoseć svoj deo stradanja i suza,
Kao gavrani će kraj nas da prolete,

I ne pokidavši ni jednu od uza
Što nas vežu i sad za prošlost, što stoji,
Za nama i gleda na nas ko Meduza…

medusa

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