Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Uroš Zupan

A TREE AND A SPARROW

Yesterday the dark sea began to come.
I heard it rise, displacing air,
I heard it grow over the canopy.
The rabbits in coops twitched nervously in their sleep.
Their closed eyes glowed in the dark, the shutters
banged and the steps of my forgotten body
glided through the deserted rooms. I am alone.
The silence in my skull has become thick like clay.
It shines into the distant rooms. Everyone has gone.
Sudden deaths and farewells. Slow deaths
and farewells. Farewells like death. Does it make
a difference anyway? And then the long bending over
the buzzing in the receiver. Countless impulses of silence.
The family disperse, go their separate ways, vanish
like music in the room. People disperse,
go their separate ways, vanish like light
when you switch it off. I sleep ever less.
That might be a cure for a longer life.
Sleep is nothing but the imitation of death.
I keep tossing and turning between the sheets. My lungs
are ebbing and flowing like the sea.
But I’m no longer conscious of it. I’m ever lighter
and ever more contracted. I need ever less room.
I displace ever less air. Ever more do I feel that
I’m beginning to resemble a sparrow.
The night wind is constantly bringing yellow dust
into my wakefulness. From it I assemble a woman’s cry,
which I have buried at the bottom of the ocean,
which I have heard between the huts
on the border between life and death.
I didn’t know her language,
yet the flight of her voice told me she is asking for light.
Then I didn’t understand. Now I do.
Even my highest plea is a plea for light.
Solitude is milder in the light.
False is the belief that eyes can rest
in the dark. Only light brings them real rest,
illuminated beds on objects.
Animals are awake and flowers open.
We can exchange messages.
I can give them life. I can rear them
and water them with love that once
I gave to those closest to me. The neighbours
who pass by my house chat with me.
Talking to them I forget about everything.
Talking to myself I remember it all.
The shutters are banging and the sea salt is snowing over the meadows.
The night birds are beginning to speak the language of fish.
The hand onto which the angels of destruction
have burnt a mark is breaking the dusk.
There in the end-room, before sleep,  it’ll find
itself pulling the blanket up to her child eyes.
The further I go along the circle of time
the closer I come to my beginning.
The dimensions of my body are also ever more
like those from the beginning. There
in the end-room I might meet
a stranger whose mind quivers and sings.
He will offer his hand, trudge his way across the river
and take me to the other side. Why do I ever drift around?
I’m just imagining it all. The polar night
stretches deep into the day. Although I can hear
the blood filling my veins I cannot find
the way out from wakefulness. If you get up at night,
glide to the kitchen and there meet
the one who grew in your belly,
then you know there is still hope,
then you know that through him you move into the future.
Yet everyone has gone.
Although at times it seems to me that they have left
a trace behind like on postcards
they had written from big cities,
on which the streets remain intertwined
with headlights long after the cars
have all gone. The voices
are coming back to the birds. Soon dawn will break.
My plea will be heard once more.
I will get up and go into the garden.
I will look into the coop to see if the dark sea
has taken a rabbit instead of me.
I always think that I was given so many years
because they had been taken away from others.
I ask myself, isn’t there an average of years
someone is playing around with, someone
who cannot calculate, who has no sense of
harmony and balance. And since, like some people,
I do not know of any other means of avenging the mortal’s hand,
I will, at one point in the future, when the time is ripe,
touch the only tree in the garden on which
the sparrows always sit, and become what I have
always been. A solitary tree.
Its bark will be my skin.
When now and then the people will return,
their children will drowse in my shade.
And if I sleep, I will sleep like a tree.
And if I travel, I will travel like a sparrow
that always stays close to its nest
and never flies south.

DREVO IN VRABEC

DREVO IN VRABEC

Vceraj je zacelo prihajati temno morje.
Slišala sem, kako se dviguje in spodmika zrak,
slišala sem, kako raste cez krošnje dreves.
Zajci v zajcniku se nemirno trzali v spanju.
Njihove zaprte oci so zarele v temi, polkna
udarjala in koraki mojega pozabljenega telesa
so drseli po zapušcenih prostorih. Sama sem.
Tišina v moji lobanji je postala gosta kot glina.
Sije v oddaljene sobe. Vsi so odšli.
Nenadne smrti in slovesa. Pocasna umiranja
in slovesa. Odhodi kot smrt. V cem je sploh
razlika? In potem dolgo nagibanje nad
brnenje v telefonski slušalki. Nešteti impulzi molka.
Druzina se porazgubi, raztepe po svetu, izgine
kot glasba v prostoru. Ljudje se porazgubijo,
raztepejo po svetu, izginejo kot svetloba,
ko ugasneš luc. Cedalje manj spim.
Mogoce je to zdravilo, ki daljša zivljenje.
Spanec ni nic drugega kot posnemanje smrti.
Samo obracam se med rjuhami. Moja pljuca
se dvigujejo in spušcajo kot morje.
A na to nisem vec pozorna. Cedalje lazja
sem in bolj skrcena. Cedalje manj prostora
potrebujem. Cedalje manj zraka odrivam.
Cedalje bolj cutim, da postajam podobna vrabcu.
Nocni veter nenehno prinaša rumen prah v mojo
budnost. Iz njega sestavim krik zenske,
ki sem ga zakopala na dno oceana,
ki sem ga slišala med barakami,
na meji med zivljenjem in smrtjo.
Nisem poznala njenega jezika,
a let glasu mi je govoril, da prosi za luc.
Takrat nisem razumela. Zdaj razumem.
Tudi moja najvišja prošnja je prošnja
za luc. Samota je na svetlobi blazja.
Zmotno je prepricanje, da se oci spocijejo
v temi. Samo luc jim prinaša pravi pocitek,
osvetljena lezišca na predmetih.
Zivali so budne in roze razprte.
Lahko si izmenjujejmo sporocila.
Lahko jim dajem zivljenje, lahko jih vzgajam
in zalivam z ljubeznijo, ki sem jo
nekoc dajala najblizjim. Sosedi,
ki gredo mimo hiše, me ogovarjajo.
Ko govorim z njimi, pozabim na vse.
Ko se pogovarjam sama s sabo, se vsega spominjam.
Polkna udarjajo in morska sol snezi na travnike.
Nocne ptice zacenjajo govoriti jezik rib.
Roka, v katero so mi angeli unicenja
vzgali znamenje, prelamlja mrak.
Tam v zadnji sobi se bo našla,
kako pred spanjem vlece odejo do otroških oci.
Bolj ko se oddaljujem po kroznici casa,
bolj se blizam svojemu zacetku.
Tudi dimenzije mojega telesa so cedalje
bolj podobne tistim z zacetka. Tam
v zadnji sobi bom danes mogoce srecala
neznanca, cigar um drhti in poje.
Podal mi bo roko in utrl gaz skozi reko,
me popeljal na drugo stran. Kaj sploh blodim?
Vse si samo domišljam. Polarna
noc se vlece globoko v dan. Ceprav slišim kri,
ki mi polni zile, ne najdem
izhoda iz budnosti. Ce ponoci vstaneš,
oddrsaš do kuhinje in tam srecaš
cloveka, ki je rasel v tvojem trebuhu,
veš, da še obstaja upanje,
veš, da se skozenj seliš v prihodnost.
Toda vsi so odšli. Ceprav se mi vcasih zdi, da so za
sabo pustili sled, kot na razglednicah,
ki so mi jih pisali iz velkih mest,
na katerih ulice ostajajo
prepredene z avtomobilskimi zarometi
še dolgo po tistem, ko so avtomobili
ze zdavnaj odpeljali. Ptice dobivajo
nazaj svoje glasove. Kmalu se bo zacelo daniti.
moja prošnja bo še enkrat uslišana.
Vstala bom in odšla na vrt.
Pogledala v zajcnik, ali je temno morje,
namesto mene, vzelo kakšnega zajca.
Vedno mislim, da je bilo meni naklonjenih
toliko let, ker so bila odšteta drugim.
Sprašujem se, ali ne obstaja neko povprecje
let, s katerim se nekdo igra,
ki ne zna racunati, ki nima obcutka za
skladnost in ravnovesje. In ker tako
kot nekateri drugi ne poznam drugacnega
nacina za mašcevanje smrtnikove roke,
se bom enkrat v prihodnosti
dotaknila edinega drevesa na vrtu, na katerem
vedno sedijo vrabci. In postala tisto,
kar sem ze ves cas. Drevo na samem.
Njegovo lubje bo moja koza.
Ko se bodo ljudje vcasih vrnili,
bodo njihovi otroci dremali v moji senci.
In ce bom spala, bom spala kot drevo.
In ce bom potovala, bom potovala kot vrabec,
ki vedno ostane v blizini gnezda
in se nikoli ne seli na jug.
Close

A TREE AND A SPARROW

Yesterday the dark sea began to come.
I heard it rise, displacing air,
I heard it grow over the canopy.
The rabbits in coops twitched nervously in their sleep.
Their closed eyes glowed in the dark, the shutters
banged and the steps of my forgotten body
glided through the deserted rooms. I am alone.
The silence in my skull has become thick like clay.
It shines into the distant rooms. Everyone has gone.
Sudden deaths and farewells. Slow deaths
and farewells. Farewells like death. Does it make
a difference anyway? And then the long bending over
the buzzing in the receiver. Countless impulses of silence.
The family disperse, go their separate ways, vanish
like music in the room. People disperse,
go their separate ways, vanish like light
when you switch it off. I sleep ever less.
That might be a cure for a longer life.
Sleep is nothing but the imitation of death.
I keep tossing and turning between the sheets. My lungs
are ebbing and flowing like the sea.
But I’m no longer conscious of it. I’m ever lighter
and ever more contracted. I need ever less room.
I displace ever less air. Ever more do I feel that
I’m beginning to resemble a sparrow.
The night wind is constantly bringing yellow dust
into my wakefulness. From it I assemble a woman’s cry,
which I have buried at the bottom of the ocean,
which I have heard between the huts
on the border between life and death.
I didn’t know her language,
yet the flight of her voice told me she is asking for light.
Then I didn’t understand. Now I do.
Even my highest plea is a plea for light.
Solitude is milder in the light.
False is the belief that eyes can rest
in the dark. Only light brings them real rest,
illuminated beds on objects.
Animals are awake and flowers open.
We can exchange messages.
I can give them life. I can rear them
and water them with love that once
I gave to those closest to me. The neighbours
who pass by my house chat with me.
Talking to them I forget about everything.
Talking to myself I remember it all.
The shutters are banging and the sea salt is snowing over the meadows.
The night birds are beginning to speak the language of fish.
The hand onto which the angels of destruction
have burnt a mark is breaking the dusk.
There in the end-room, before sleep,  it’ll find
itself pulling the blanket up to her child eyes.
The further I go along the circle of time
the closer I come to my beginning.
The dimensions of my body are also ever more
like those from the beginning. There
in the end-room I might meet
a stranger whose mind quivers and sings.
He will offer his hand, trudge his way across the river
and take me to the other side. Why do I ever drift around?
I’m just imagining it all. The polar night
stretches deep into the day. Although I can hear
the blood filling my veins I cannot find
the way out from wakefulness. If you get up at night,
glide to the kitchen and there meet
the one who grew in your belly,
then you know there is still hope,
then you know that through him you move into the future.
Yet everyone has gone.
Although at times it seems to me that they have left
a trace behind like on postcards
they had written from big cities,
on which the streets remain intertwined
with headlights long after the cars
have all gone. The voices
are coming back to the birds. Soon dawn will break.
My plea will be heard once more.
I will get up and go into the garden.
I will look into the coop to see if the dark sea
has taken a rabbit instead of me.
I always think that I was given so many years
because they had been taken away from others.
I ask myself, isn’t there an average of years
someone is playing around with, someone
who cannot calculate, who has no sense of
harmony and balance. And since, like some people,
I do not know of any other means of avenging the mortal’s hand,
I will, at one point in the future, when the time is ripe,
touch the only tree in the garden on which
the sparrows always sit, and become what I have
always been. A solitary tree.
Its bark will be my skin.
When now and then the people will return,
their children will drowse in my shade.
And if I sleep, I will sleep like a tree.
And if I travel, I will travel like a sparrow
that always stays close to its nest
and never flies south.

A TREE AND A SPARROW

Yesterday the dark sea began to come.
I heard it rise, displacing air,
I heard it grow over the canopy.
The rabbits in coops twitched nervously in their sleep.
Their closed eyes glowed in the dark, the shutters
banged and the steps of my forgotten body
glided through the deserted rooms. I am alone.
The silence in my skull has become thick like clay.
It shines into the distant rooms. Everyone has gone.
Sudden deaths and farewells. Slow deaths
and farewells. Farewells like death. Does it make
a difference anyway? And then the long bending over
the buzzing in the receiver. Countless impulses of silence.
The family disperse, go their separate ways, vanish
like music in the room. People disperse,
go their separate ways, vanish like light
when you switch it off. I sleep ever less.
That might be a cure for a longer life.
Sleep is nothing but the imitation of death.
I keep tossing and turning between the sheets. My lungs
are ebbing and flowing like the sea.
But I’m no longer conscious of it. I’m ever lighter
and ever more contracted. I need ever less room.
I displace ever less air. Ever more do I feel that
I’m beginning to resemble a sparrow.
The night wind is constantly bringing yellow dust
into my wakefulness. From it I assemble a woman’s cry,
which I have buried at the bottom of the ocean,
which I have heard between the huts
on the border between life and death.
I didn’t know her language,
yet the flight of her voice told me she is asking for light.
Then I didn’t understand. Now I do.
Even my highest plea is a plea for light.
Solitude is milder in the light.
False is the belief that eyes can rest
in the dark. Only light brings them real rest,
illuminated beds on objects.
Animals are awake and flowers open.
We can exchange messages.
I can give them life. I can rear them
and water them with love that once
I gave to those closest to me. The neighbours
who pass by my house chat with me.
Talking to them I forget about everything.
Talking to myself I remember it all.
The shutters are banging and the sea salt is snowing over the meadows.
The night birds are beginning to speak the language of fish.
The hand onto which the angels of destruction
have burnt a mark is breaking the dusk.
There in the end-room, before sleep,  it’ll find
itself pulling the blanket up to her child eyes.
The further I go along the circle of time
the closer I come to my beginning.
The dimensions of my body are also ever more
like those from the beginning. There
in the end-room I might meet
a stranger whose mind quivers and sings.
He will offer his hand, trudge his way across the river
and take me to the other side. Why do I ever drift around?
I’m just imagining it all. The polar night
stretches deep into the day. Although I can hear
the blood filling my veins I cannot find
the way out from wakefulness. If you get up at night,
glide to the kitchen and there meet
the one who grew in your belly,
then you know there is still hope,
then you know that through him you move into the future.
Yet everyone has gone.
Although at times it seems to me that they have left
a trace behind like on postcards
they had written from big cities,
on which the streets remain intertwined
with headlights long after the cars
have all gone. The voices
are coming back to the birds. Soon dawn will break.
My plea will be heard once more.
I will get up and go into the garden.
I will look into the coop to see if the dark sea
has taken a rabbit instead of me.
I always think that I was given so many years
because they had been taken away from others.
I ask myself, isn’t there an average of years
someone is playing around with, someone
who cannot calculate, who has no sense of
harmony and balance. And since, like some people,
I do not know of any other means of avenging the mortal’s hand,
I will, at one point in the future, when the time is ripe,
touch the only tree in the garden on which
the sparrows always sit, and become what I have
always been. A solitary tree.
Its bark will be my skin.
When now and then the people will return,
their children will drowse in my shade.
And if I sleep, I will sleep like a tree.
And if I travel, I will travel like a sparrow
that always stays close to its nest
and never flies south.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère