Wednesday, February 19, 2014

VASKO POPA - POETRY




Vasko  Popa  1922 - 1991








Vasko Popa  was born in the village of Grebenac, Vojvodina, Serbia. 

During World War II he fought with a partisan group; afterwards he studied in Vienna and Bucharest before completing his education at the University of Belgrade.

He was elected to the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1972 and to the Parisian Académie Mallarmé in 1977.

He visited Britain on several occasions, attending the London Poetry International and Cambridge Poetry Festivals.

He was widely regarded not only as the greatest poet of the Serbo-Croat language but as a poet of towering European stature.

He lived in Belgrade where he worked as an editor for the publishers Nolit from 1954 until 1979.

In 1995, the town of Vršac established a poetry award named after Vasko Popa. It is awarded annually for the best book of poetry published in Serbian language. The award ceremony is held on the day of Popa’s birthday, 29 June.

Vasko Popa died on January 5, 1991 in Belgrade and is buried in the Aisle of the Deserving Citizens in Belgrade’s New Cemetery.




http://www.anvilpresspoetry.com/assets_cm/files/image/popa__complete_poems.jpg



IN  THE  VILLAGE  OF  MY  ANCESTORS






Someone embraces me
Someone looks at me with the eyes of a wolf
Someone takes off his hat
So I can see him better


Everyone asks me
Do you know how I'm related to you


Unknown old men and women
Appropriate the names
Of young men and women from my memory


I ask one of them
Tell me for God's sake
Is George the Wolf still living


That's me he answers
With a voice from the next world


I touch his cheek with my hand
And beg him with my eyes
To tell me if I'm living too







LAST  NEWS  ABOUT  THE  LITTLE  BOX


The little box which contains the world
Fell in love with herself
And conceived
Still another little box


The little box of the little box
Also fell in love with herself
And conceived
Still another little box


And so it went on forever


The world from the little box
Ought to be inside
The last offspring of the little box


But not one of the little boxes
Inside the little box in love with herself
Is the last one


Let's see you find the world now






BEFORE  THE  GAME




Shut one eye then the other
Peek into every corner of yourself
See that there are no nails no thieves
See that there are no cuckoo's eggs


Shut then the other eye
Squat and jump
Jump high high high
On top of yourself


Fall then with all your weight
Fall for days on end deep deep deep
To the bottom of your abyss


Who doesn't break into pieces
Who remains whole gets up whole
Plays






BETWEEN  GAMES




Nobody rests

This one constantly shifts his eyes
Hangs them on his head
And whether he wants it or not starts walking
backwards
He puts them on the soles of his feet
And whether he wants it or not returns walking
on his head



This one turns into an ear
He hears all that won't let itself be heard
But he grows bored
Yearns to turn again into himself
But without eyes he can't see how



That one bares all his faces
One after the other he throws them over the roof
The last one he throws under his feet
And sinks his head into his hands


This one stretches his sight
Stretches it from thumb to thumb
Walks over it walks
First slow then fast
Then faster and faster



That one plays with his head
Juggles it in the air
Meets it with his index finger
Or doesn't meet it at all

Nobody rests




THE  LITTLE  BOX




The little box gets her first teeth
And her little length
Little width little emptiness
And all the rest she has


The little box continues growing
The cupboard that she was inside
Is now inside her


And she grows bigger bigger bigger
Now the room is inside her
And the house and the city and the earth
And the world she was in before


The little box remembers her childhood
And by a great longing
She becomes a little box again


Now in the little box
You have the whole world in miniature
You can easily put in a pocket
Easily steal it lose it


Take care of the little box






RACE


Some bite from the others
A leg an arm or whatever


Take it between their teeth
Run out as fast as they can
Cover it up with earth


The others scatter everywhere
Sniff look sniff look
Dig up the whole earth


If they are lucky and find an arm
Or leg or whatever
It's their turn to bite


The game continues at a lively pace


As long as there are arms
As long as there are legs
As long as there is anything






WEDDING


Each strips his own skin
Each bares his own constellation
Which has never seen the night


Each fills his skin with rocks
And plays with it
Lit by his own stars


Who doesn't stop till dawn
Who doesn't bat an eyelid or fall
Earns his own skin


(This game is rarely played)






Grebenac - Romanian Orthodox Church







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