Midnight

Midnight

By Djura Jakšić

It’s midnight,
That black-veiled silent goddess
Of a free soul she’s the blessedness,
Dark is the night, th’ evil hour has come.

But, what’s that hum?…
Under the black wing of a mute midnight,
Just like an immense solitary billow
That rolls across the sea high and low;
It’s roaring soft and slow as if dying,
As if coming from underground, horrifying.
Is it the spirits speaking to the earth?
Is it the earth cursing its deeds of little worth?
Or haply the heavens are journeying forth,
Not to listen to my curse henceforth;
So the stars and the sky are filled with rue,
As they bid to the world their last adieu!
What if the world of the sky is bereft?
What if no more dawn on earth is left?
What if the darkness
Stays on?…

The steps are heard as well…
If ‘tis midnight softly gliding I cannot tell.
Treading so quietly is not even the air;
As if it came from yonder world fair.
Is it a cloud drifting aloft furtively?
Is it some ailing man gasping heavily?
Is it an angel with a cure to save his life,
Or a keen scythe to cut short his strife?
Could it be love?….Could it be spite?…
It might be sneaking up, oh, yes it might,
To empty our sole glass of joy and delight?
Or haply tears of grief are poured alright,
To inundate us by their floods so shed,
Or the defunct are rising from the dead?

The door creaked open…
O ghost! Dearest spirit, o!
Darling mother! O I’m blessed so!
Many a day, many a year have passed,
Many a time truths were bitter in the past;
Many a time shivered my fearful heart,
Many a time people tore my soul apart;
Much I repented and much I sinned again,
And with cold death I consoled myself then;
With bitterness filled I drank many a glass,
Many a piece I drenched in tears, alas!
O mother, mother! Dearest spirit, o!
Mother, ever since I parted with thee,
No good or bliss has ever befallen me!…
Yet, thou might think: “He’s well, I believe,
For he harks not the spider softly weave
Its gossamer cobweb, with a silken thread,
Which over our gloomy ceiling is spread:
-Thou art among thy neighbours, thy kin.”

Yet, being among them is worse than a sin:
Hand in hand walk malice and disgrace,
Envy oft gives them a brotherly embrace,
Falsehood is their close and dear friend,
Villainy takes them to the world’s end;
Attended by flattery, served by treachery,
They seek infidelity to keep them company.
O, mother, mother, this world is malicious,
Life is, mother, so sorrowful and vicious!

Translated from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

PONOĆ

Ponoć je,
U crnom plaštu nema boginja.
Slobodne duše to je svetinja,
To gluvo doba, taj crni čas…

Al’ kakav glas?…
Po tamnom krilu neme ponoći,
K’o grdan talas jedan jedini
Da se po morskoj valja pučini;
Lagano huji k’o da umire,
Il’ da iz crne zemlje izvire.
Možda to dusi zemlji govore?
Il’ zemlja kune svoje pokore?
Il’ nebo možda dalje putuje,
Da moju kletvu više ne čuje;
Pa zvezde plaču, nebo tuguje,
Poslednji put se s zemljom rukuje!
Pa zar da neba svetu nestane?
Pa zar da zemlji više ne svane?
Zar da ostane
Tama?…

I hod se čuje…
Da l’ ponoć tako mirno putuje?
Ni vazduh tako tiho ne gazi;
K’o da sa onog sveta dolazi.
Il’ kradom oblak ide na više?
Il’ bolnik kakav teško uzdiše?
Il’ anđ’o melem s neba donosi?
Il’ oštru kosu, da ga pokosi?
Da ljubav ne ide?… Da zloba nije?…
Možda se krade, da nam popije
I ovu jednu čašu radosti?
Il’ možda suza ide žalosti,
Da nas orosi tužna kapljica?
Ili nam mrtve vraća zemljica?

Vrata škrinuše…
O duše! o mila seni!
O majko moja! o blago meni!
Mnogo je dana, mnogo godina,
Mnogo je gorkih bilo istina;
Mnogo mi puta drhtaše grudi,
Mnogo mi srca cepaše ljudi;
Mnogo sam kaj’o, mnogo grešio,
I hladnom smrću sebe tešio;
Mnogu sam gorku čašu popio,
Mnogi sam komad suzom topio.
O majko, majko! o mila seni!
Otkad te, majko, nisam video,
Nikakva dobra nisam video!…
Il’ možda misliš: „Ta dobro mu je,
Kad ono tiho tkanje ne čuje
Što pauk veze žicom tananom
Nad onim našim crnim tavanom:
– Među ljud’ma si, među bližnjima“…

Al’ zlo je, majko, biti međ’ njima:
Pod ruku s zlobom pakost putuje,
S njima se zavist bratski rukuje,
A laž se uvek onde nahodi
Gde ih po svetu podlost provodi;
Laska ih dvori, izdajstvo služi,
A nevera se sa njima druži…
O majko, majko, svet je pakostan,
Život je, majko, vrlo žalostan!

Midnight Pop

The Falling of Leaves

The Falling of Leaves

By Jovan Dučić

She walked silent, cold, beside me,
With no silver tear in her bleary eye;
All around us dead vervains lay free,
An old river was wholly enveloped by

The falling eve. Her stride was like
A step of solitude, sad and gentle so.
Sorrow-laden we were, beset by like
Tearless anguish and the same woe.

The dark ill night with dust did smear
Alleys of plane-trees and the lakeside;
Our frail hearts were all filled with fear
Yonder where everything quietly died.

When the eve ever dimmer did grow,
And in cold silence our lips gently met
All terrified we felt that each kiss, woe!
Meant the death of another minute yet.

With ev’ry heartbeat something dies, o!
Ev’ry wish fears it will quench a breath!
And this November, grey and dreary so,
There is no Life other than in Death!

Translated from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

PADANjE LIŠĆA

Koračaše nema, hladna, pored mene,
Bez srebrne suze u mutnome oku;
Kraj nas behu mrtve ruže i vrbene,
Padalo je veče na vodu široku

Stare jedne reke. Njen je korak bio
Kô korak samoće, nečujan i setan.
Besmo tako tužni; nas tištaše tiho
Isti jad bez suza i bol istovetan.

Mrak bolesne noći zasipaše prahom
Platane po vrtu, jezero prozirno;
Naša srca behu ispunjena strahom
Tuda, gde sve tako umiraše mirno.

I kad u to veče što sve većma mrači,
Približismo usta što ledeno ćute,
Vaj, mi osetismo, s užasom, da znači
I taj svaki poljub smrt jedne minute.

Svaki udar srca, smrt nečeg što živi!
Svaka želja strepi da će nešto strti!
U ovaj novembar čamotni i sivi,
Ne postoji Život drugde neg u Smrti.

The Mirror

The Mirror

By Vladislav Petković-Dis

Thro’ conscience and nerves I can hear
A cloud of silence and a faint peace drift,
And a dense fog slowly gather and shift
Into a pall of ache and of many a tear.

I feel the touch of that decayed shroud,
I feel as if my self were leaving this form,
Damp earth that the lines does transform,
As the first soft whisper is growing loud.

As I behold the demise, dismal and slow,
Of a blind body an instinct invigorated by,
Of a sudden to a mirror I rivet my eye:

To see the lips that soon mute will go,
Tho’ still thirsting for a kiss, not for pain,
Not for a shroud, not for a mortal stain.

Translated from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

OGLEDALO

Kroz svest i nerve čujem da korača
Senka tišine i nejasna mira,
I gusta magla lagano se zbira
U pokrov bola, u zavesu plača.

Osećam dodir trulog ogrtača,
Sebe, da idem iz ovog okvira,
I vlagu zemlje, da linije spira,
Dok šapat prvi budi se i jača.

Gledeći kako izumire vreme
Slepome telu, što ga instinkt krepi,
Za ogledalo se pogled naglo lepi:

Da vidi usta što će da zaneme,
Mada još žedna poljubaca, nege,
A ne pokrova, ne mrtvačke pege.

For the Important Ones

For the Important Ones

By Desanka Maksimović

-I seek a pardon-

I seek a pardon
For those who have invitations
For every pageant and fair,
For the one who even on a train,
At a banquet, in the house of prayer,
And in heaven has a place reserved,
For the ones who, during their lifetime,
Know where they will be buried sometime;
For the people who may awaited be
By ships at every ocean or sea,
And by an anchor in every shipwreck,
Which offers security for the lot
Of the merciful angels we know or know not.

For they will be disappointed
When in the darkness profound
Where everything is mixed up
They fail to feel a single button,
A single bell,
To call for help, or
To find a single ship in their quest,
To sail back to your palace
Or proceed to the Promised
Land of the blessed.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

Za važne

-tražim pomilovanje-

Tražim pomilovanje
za one koji imaju pozivnice
za svaku povorku i panoramu,
za čoveka koga i u vozu,
i na gozbi, i u hramu,
i u raju, numerisano mesto čeka,
za one koji još za veka
grobnicu gde će leći znaju;
Za ljude koje na svakoj vodi
čekaju brodi
i kotva u svakom brodolomu,
kojima su svi znani i neznani
anđeli milosrđa osigurani.

Jer biće za njih razočarenje
kada usred velikog mraka
gde sve se izmeša
ne mognu napipati nijedno dugme,
nijedno zvonce,
kojima se u pomoć zove,
kad ne mognu naći nijednog broda
ni da se vrate, do tvoje palate,
ni da produže do obećanog
nebeskog svoda.

desanka-maksimovic

Waiting

Waiting

By Jovan Dučić

The last holy minute will too come nigh,
When, sometime, waiting peacefully, lo,
We shall tell each other: it’s time to die,
As is usually said: home it’s time to go.

An empty horizon as we shall behold,
On the line ‘twixt dark and light there,
The last woe’s tears we’ll calmly hold,
The woe of us not having met ever ere –

In sunny morns as each other we seek
By the green rivers; when falls the night,
As th’ motionless moonlight sits bleak,
On the slumbering water, cold and white.

As the holy hour of return draws nigh,
Awaiting that meeting weary e’er so,
When we are to say: it’s time to die,
As is usually said: home it’s time to go.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

Čekanje

Doći će i trenut poslednji i sveti,
Kada ćemo jednom, mirno čekajući,
Reći jedno drugom: već je vreme mreti,
Kao što se kaže: već je vreme kući.

U horizont prazan gledajući tada,
Na ivici gde se mrak i svetlost deli,
Zamrznuće mirno suza zadnjeg jada,
Jada što se nikad, nikad nismo sreli —

U sunčana jutra tražeć jedno drugo
Kraj zelenih reka; ili noć kad brodi,
I dok mesečina nepomično, dugo,
Leži hladna, bela, na zaspaloj vodi.

Dok je prilazio čas povratka sveti,
Umorni, taj susret večno čekajući,
Kada ćemo reći: već je vreme mreti,
Kao što se kaže: već je vreme kući.

jovan-ducic-sa-muzom

 

An Ordinary Song

An Ordinary Song

By Milutin Bojić

O, days, mighty is your giant roar!
Your dawns weep like a cracked bell,
Like broken glasses that dolefully knell,
How dreadful were the quiet nights before!

O, days, your demonic race now stall!
Youth shall not return with roses bright,
The gravedigger shall pull the ropes tight,
And as an omen, a withered leaf shall fall.

The sun painfully pierces the clouds thro’,
Almond blossom is shattered by a storm,
I vainly steal the scents an’ sunshine warm,
For July days quickly fly by and are but few.

O, time, fly no more! May Chronos breed
An eternal Today with sun to nourish me,
May Beauty now sing with the wind in glee:
I still want to savour the pomegranate seed!

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

Svakidašnja pesma

Dani, kako tutnji vaš džinovski huk!
Ko raspuklo zvono plaču zore vaše,
Kô na piru smrti razlupane čaše,
Kako pun je strave prošlih noći muk!

Dani, ustavite svoj demonski trk!
Mladost neće doći više s vencem ruža,
Grobar brzo blatna zategnuće uža
I kô predznak pašće list sveo i mrk.

Sunce mučno bije kroz oblaka sloj,
Razvejava bura rascvetani badem,
A ja zalud miris, zalud sunca kradem,
Jer julskih je dana sve to manji broj.

O, ne dalje, dani. Neka Kronos star
Dâ mi večno Danas, da me suncem doji,
S vetrom nek Lepota ”Eoe!” zapoji:
Još hoću da srčem ispečeni nar.

nar

After Death

After Death

By Djura Jakšić

When a knife shall my heart tear,
O’er me a gory sword shall clink,
Sweet maidens, my roses fair,
Thou shalt not into grief sink!

Say not: “It’s here that rests
Of our love the wilted sheaf!”
Blame not this soil blessed,
Hush the cajoling hum of grief!

Waste not pretty roses, pray,
To deck my eternal home grand!
Celebrate me not-suffice to say,
“He was faithful to his land”.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

Posle smrti

Noževi kad mi srce podele,
Nad grobom zvekne krvavi mač,
Slatke devojke, ružice bele,
Neću da čujem vaš gorki plač!

Nemojte reći: „Ovde počiva
Ljubavi naše uveli struk!“
Ne kun’te zemlju, nije vam kriva —
Stišajte jada laskavi zvuk!

Nemojte trošit ruže ubave,
Kiteći njima moj večit dom!
Recite samo: „Dosta je slave —
Veran je bio narodu svom“.

Djura Jaksic