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

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Our Days

Our Days

By Vladislav Petković-Dis

Dark times of decline did us befall,
Scum, lechery and vice do thrive,
A rotten breath of decay we feel all,
Heroes and seers are no more alive.
Dark times of decline did us befall.

All dens and canals are open wide,
All basements were raised very high,
All devious, damned and with no pride
At present are our sovereigns sly.
All dens and canals are open wide.

Shrines and reliquaries were devastated,
All virtues and honours were despised,
All graves and lives were humiliated,
Funeral and baptism were compromised.
Shrines and reliquaries were devastated.

Centuries-old bells of revolt silent fell
The spirit of unison and war gods fled,
Let us banish holidays and tribunes to hell,
Let us upon sins, errors and mud be fed.
Centuries-old days of revolt silent fell.

We turned gendarmes into noblemen,
Medals are worn by idiot compatriots,
And thieves became well-off men,
Some dark souls were dubbed patriots.
We turned gendarmes into noblemen.

In elections our wisdom we dissipated,
Our bravery yielded to tricks and eats,
All springs of future we contaminated,
Instead of victories we celebrate defeats.
In elections our wisdom we dissipated.

Instead of glorious history and graves
We resurrected pygmies and the unwise;
Before our wretched brothers, slaves,
We sealed our pockets and shut our eyes.
Instead of glorious history and graves

Only dust on paper is what remains now
As a sole memory of the giant ones;
The glory of the party is what we avow,
The spirit of scorn imbued all the sons.
Only dust on paper is what remains now.

The rising generation lives in disgrace,
But with no protests or cries of dismay;
The ignominy our populace does face,
An’ the descendants that as spiders prey.
The rising generation lives in disgrace.

Deep darkness descended upon our days,
Obscuring our poor country and its plight;
But, when the fire engulfs all the ways,
Where shall we hide from judge and light!
Deep darkness descended upon our days.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

Naši dani

Razvilo se crno vreme opadanja,
Nabujao šljam i razvrat i poroci,
Podig’o se truli zadah propadanja,
Umrli su svi heroji i proroci.
Razvilo se crno vreme opadanja.

Progledale sve jazbine i kanali,
Na visoko podigli se sutereni,
Svi podmukli, svi prokleti i svi mali
Postali su danas naši suvereni.
Progledale sve jazbine i kanali.

Pokradeni svi hramovi i ćivoti,
Ismejane sve vrline i poštenje,
Poniženi svi grobovi i životi,
Uprljano i opelo i krštenje.
Pokradeni svi hramovi i ćivoti.

Zakovana petvekovna zvona bune,
Pobegao duh jedinstva i bog rata;
Obesimo sve praznike i tribune,
Gojimo se od grehova i od blata.
Zakovana petvekovna zvona bune.

Od pandura stvorili smo velikaše,
Dostojanstva podeliše idioti,
Lopovi nam izrađuju bogataše
Mračne duše nazvaše se patrioti.
Od pandura stvorili smo velikaše.

Svoju mudrost rastočismo na izbore,
Svoju hrabrost na podvale i obede,
Budućnosti zatrovasmo sve izvore,
A poraze proglasismo za pobede.
Svoju mudrost rastočismo na izbore.

Mesto svetle istorije i grobova
Vaskrsli smo sve pigmeje i repove;
Od nesrećne braće naše, od robova,
Zatvorismo svoje oči i džepove.
Mesto svetle istorije i grobova

Ostala nam još prašina na hartiji
K’o jedina uspomena na džinove;
Sad svu slavu pronađosmo u partiji,
Pir poruge dohvatio sve sinove.
Ostala nam još prašina na hartiji.

Pod sramotom živi naše pokolenje,
Ne čuju se ni protesti ni jauci;
Pod sramotom živi naše javno mnenje,
Naraštaji, koji sišu k’o pauci.
Pod sramotom živi naše pokolenje.

Pomrčina pritisnula naše dane,
Ne vidi se jadna naša zemlja huda;
Al’ kad požar poduhvati na sve strane,
Kuda ćemo od svetlosti i od suda!
Pomrčina pritisnula naše dane.

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