Three poems by Branko Miljkovic

In Vain I Wake Her

I wake her for the sun that explains itself in plants
For sky stretched between the fingers
I wake her for words that burn my throat
I love her with my ears.
End of the world should be reached and drops of dew found in grass.
I wake her for some distant things that look like these here,
For people who, without forehead or name, go along the street,
For anonymous words, for squares I wake her,
For manufactured landscapes of public parks.
I wake her for this planet of ours which may become a mine
In bloodshed sky
For smiles in stones, friends fallen asleep between two battles
When sky was no longer a big birdcage but
An airport
My love full of others is a part of dawn,
I wake her for the dawn, for love, for myself, for others,
I wake her, even if it is more in vain than to call a bird
That landed forever
She must have said: let him look for me and see that I am gone
That woman with the hands of a child that I love
That child fallen asleep with tears still not wiped, which I wake
In vain in vain in vain
In vain I wake her
For she will wake up different and new
In vain I wake her
For her mouth will not be able to tell
In vain I wake her
You know the water runs through but says nothing
In vain I wake her
A lost name should be promised someone's face in sand
If this is not so cut off my arms and turn me into stone

Praise to the World

Oh world do not leave me
Do not go you naïve swallow

Do not hurt the earth
Do not bother the air
Do no harm to water
Do not make me quarrel with fire
Let me walk
Towards myself as towards my own aim

Let me talk to water
Talk to the earth
And the bird that lives of air
My voice stretched out as a nerve
Let me talk
While there is fire in me
We may once be able
To what we say, we touch with our hands

Oh world do not leave me
Do not go you naïve swallow

Between Two Days

She passed by the house
Where the light is turned on, milk drank and one sleeps
And left on the pavement her footprints
Like piano keys
Since then I bear on my lips
A kiss as large as her forehead
And I am thinking up a word
That will find and recognise her

I was born this morning in spite of all statistics about me
And still I am older than the morning and tomorrow
And have forgotten nothing that was
Before my birth
And remember everything that was after my death
And cannot be blamed for anything that happened yesterday

I speak
I am silent
A spoken word faces me
Accuses me
I smile
The word returns ashamed to my mouth
My words do not recognise me

I loved her
And met her on the pavement
On the morning of my birth
And was sorry that she existed still yesterday

All poems of Branko Miljkovic were translated by Nicholas Cobic


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