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ADELAIDE Independent Quarterly Literary Magazine / Revista Literária Independente Trimestral, New York / Lisboa, Online Edition  

 

 

 


 

 

branko miljkovic

 

IN VAIN I WAKE HER

Branko Miljković (Serbian Cyrillic: Бранко Миљковић) (January 29, 1934 - February 12, 1961) was an iconic Serbian poet, one of the leaders of the Neo-Symbolist movement which had the mission of bringing together Surrealism and Symbolism.

In a preface to an anthology of his work, Ljubica Miletic (2001) writes that "already in the first lines of his first book ("Uzalud Je Budim" / "I Wake Her In Vain") begins Branko's contest with words, their internal battle, and dilemma: is the poet master of the words or do they rule over him. Unfortunately, that battle ends with the poem "Epitaph": "Ubi me prejaka reč" ("I was killed by too strong a word")."

He died prematurely in 1961 at the age of 27, found hanging from a tree in Zagreb. This controversial incident was officially recorded as a suicide although remains unclear to this day.

His work was strongly influenced by the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus.

 

In Vain I Wake Her

For the Sun that explains itself in plants
I wake her
for the sky streched between the fingers
I wake her for the words that burn the throat
I love her with my ears
One should go to the end of the world
and find dew on the grass
I wake her for some distant things
that look alike the ones
here
For the people with no face nor name passing down the street
For the anonymous words of squares I wake her for the manufactured landscapes of public parks
I wake her for this planet of ours that might become
a mine in the bleeding sky
I wake her for the smiles in the stone of comarades that fell asleep
between two battles
when sky was not a great birdcage
but an airport
My love full of others is part of a dawn
I wake her for the dawn for love for me for others
I wake her though in vain
in vain as alluring a bird that has landed forever
Surely she said:
let him look for me and see that I'm gone
that woman with hands of a child that I love
that child that fell asleep not wiping its tears that I wake
In vain in vain in vain
in vain I wake her
for she'll wake up different and new
In vain I wake her
for her lips won't be able to tell her
In vain I wake her
you know water flows but doesn't say anything
In vain I wake her
One should promise to the long lost name
somebody's face in the sand
If not so
cut off my arms and turn me into a stone

(Translated by Aleksandra Milanović)

 

First canto

I found myself within a forest dark
Dante
It was a forest that ate the sky
the forest from which I came out to realize
that I did not come out that beasts have eaten me
and I knew that it will be bitter to tell
what I saw and didn't
see when I entered it's darkness and came out not
from that forest which ate its paths with green jaws
and got lost in itself
there is one warm shore hill of green and one
Beatrice
but there are three jaws three scissors and three knives
yes I would like to return
I went ahead of myself on the cried out road and sand was biting my feet
like glass and I saw dogs eating dirt
saw sinners being swung by the evil wind
sky that barks and rain of damnation heavy
and eternal
I saw blind waters of Stix and mud of hatred
I saw city in flames and women whose arms are snakes
I saw the wailing wall with no stars
and I heard words of pain in maelstrom
of those who became tree or a stone
and I can not hope for death
of those wretched that never've been born
I saw I saw I saw and heard and wept
flute of earth of forest
of blood
alluring the other shore
on the dire shore there stood people and wept
ay ay your damned souls
with balsamed arms and lips of blood
I saw I saw I saw and heard and fell dead
Oh Acheron Acheron
all sides of the world meet on your shores.

(Translated by Aleksandra Milanović)

 

The Last Poem

Evening star shall stare at my burned out eyes
and won't find it's lost reflection.
Somewhere someone will
over the peaceful river of thoughts lean
remembering
Sadness once in me shall fly out into the world
And distant sunflowers will bow their heads.

(Translated by Aleksandra Milanović)


Dedication of elegies

Messenger of headland what a bird
under heart you carry? By an eye replaced the world
above the river tightly sleeping you dream
Bitter fruit of climate for riddles above your bloodstream
when dead time and a pit the dome become
of our bitter days in a lavish flow
of stars under which I fell in fervor.
Where I have kneeled the Sun shall fall.

Speak up shadows do I sense the deceit
of a bleary nape. Oh sad north of the body, sky of four winds, turn into vapor
over wide open water that delivers
over body whole the darkness of eyes. Flames
become joyless when poems in me find
the dark abundance that torture me starved.

All that I have is our words
over waters that suspect the dark splice of the flow
when heights discover pain in me kneeling before
my core that dreams the painless flower.
By that which banishes river from the earth, let us be cured
When world tuned our bread into stone
when mirror into her dead face turns
above evil cliff for the winged birds.

Messenger of headland what a bird
under heart you carry? By an eye replaced the world
above the river tightly sleeping you dream
Bitter fruit of climate for riddles above your bloodstream
when dead time and a pit the dome become
of our bitter days in a lavish flow
of stars under which I fell in fervor.
Where I have kneeled the Sun shall fall.

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