Jephimia

Jephimia

By Milan Rakić

Jephimia, the wife of Uglješa, the despot,
And a nobleman’s daughter, in a sanctuary
All secluded, with pious zeal and no respite,
Embroiders a silk shroud for the monastery.

All around her, the blood of people is shed,
Empires fall and crumbles the world whole,
She, ever alone, embroiders in silk thread
And gold the deep anguish of her noble soul.

Centuries have gone by, in oblivion they rest,
But this people is still groaning as before.
And it seems that even in the time of yore
Our hearts used to beat in your gentle chest.

And at the time of the nation’s doleful fall,
When in the horizon there is no light frail,
You and your humble abode I clearly recall,
O despotress of Serbia with a nun’s veil!

Then I feel that just as once she used to do,
Over our calamity which ever direr grows,
Over the flame enveloped by darkness, too,
The old Black Lady is bemoaning our woes…

Translated from the Serbian by:
Ljiljana Parović

JEFIMIJA

Jefimija, ćerka gospodara Drame,
I žene despota Uglješe, u miru,
Daleko od sveta, puna verske tame,
Veze svilen pokrov za dar manastiru.

Pokraj nje se krve narodi i guše,
Propadaju carstva, svet vaskolik cvili,
Ona, večno sama, na zlatu i svili
Veze strašne bole otmene joj duše.

Vekovi su prošli i zaborav pada,
A još ovaj narod kao nekad grca,
I meni se čini da su naša srca
U grudima tvojim kucala još tada,

I u mučne čase narodnoga sloma,
Kad svetlosti nema na vidiku celom,
Ja se sećam tebe i tvojega doma,
Despotice srpska s kaluđerskim velom!

I osećam tada da, ko nekad, sama,
Nad nesrećnom kobi što steže sve jače,
Nad plamenom koji obuhvata tama,
Stara Crna Gospa zapeva i plače…

Advertisements
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