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

Return

Return

By Jovan Dučić

When you return, come to me again,
Not as a woman that loves and yearns,
But as a sister to a brother in pain
That softly feels his wound that burns.

Filled with hopeless nostalgia no brief,
Remind me not that a belated delight
Might emerge from the depth of grief,
As a midnight sun from the depth of night.

You know not, poor soul, that thru many
A day I loved you instead of any other maid
In your charm I loved all the charm of any…
And you were only the ghost of a shade.

Translation from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

Vraćanje

Kad mi opet dodješ, ti mi priđi tada,
Ali ne ko žena što čezne i voli,
Nego kao sestra bratu koji strada.
Tražeć mekom rukom mesto gde ga boli.

Puna nostalgije beznadežne, duge,
Ne sećaj me nikad da bi mogla doći
Zadocnela radost iz dubine tuge,
Ko ponoćno sunce iz dubine noći.

Jer ti ne znaš, bedna kroz sve dane duge
Da te voljah mesto ko zna koje žene
U tvom čaru ljubljah sav čar neke druge…
I ti beše samo sen nečije sene…