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Nebojsa Devetak

There it comes
Midnight moves in with me
White midnight with black stars

Time halts, time freezes
Under moonlight's dark glow

I certainly never will arrive where I am headed
Out there you are smiling
Out there your hair is fettered by hairgrips
Your tiny feet steeped in the lake water
Out there your hands prune roses
Around the monastery
And bring them withered to my face
To smell
Oh, that scent of flowers and incense
That delivering and caressing intoxication

And I am just a fugitive
Distrustful and sharp as a blade
On which slumbers white midnight with black stars

And I certainly never will arrive where I am headed


The Church

I like entering the church all alone

After venerating icons
And lighting candles - I become part of the property
Shrouded in the penumbra before the fresco
I open up like a shell hidden in the ooze
I only feel a gentle movement of the waves above

Haste not, o Lord, as the psalm bids
To deliver me from that mud
That is why I entered the temple
To let the whirlpool close above me
To hide from irreligion and evil

It does not matter if I will see the light of day again
Traces of joy are effaced in my wake
All that I cherished has come to nothing
Thinking about tomorrow only discourages me
I am not desperate, just tired and impassive

Perhaps in my seclusion I seek the deceitful pleasantness
The world has rested on that illusion since its beginning:
In amassing unnecessary, cheap avarice

Therefore haste not, o Lord
You are privy to my sins more than myself anyway
I do not think about death, nor am I afraid of it
But I know that somewhere it meows under the blanket

Translated by Sergej Macura


Преко чаролије твога гласа
Из слушалице његов глас се јави
Занемех, на трен од саблазни
Као да авет измигољелу видех
Из Поовог кавеза или гроба
Срећом - само то и ништа више

Не чух лепет крила, само осетих узлет
Као да и мене са њим понесе невидљива сила
А твој глас - свицима опточена свила
Оста да осветљава згасле успомене
И гле! Из пепела тог осмех ми се јави
Сев муње. Пупољак расцвали
Ведро небо прекрили нас
Стотинама километара удаљене

Какав обрт из кљуна који збори
Какво чудо умилности крика
Кроз небеске прозоре твоја се помаља слика
Под благошћу твојих прстију
Топи се страх од страшнога лика

Смушено гледам око себе
Није ми јасно шта се зби
Да ли то стварно глас гаврана слушах
Или анђеоски шапат Анабел Ли


Nebojsa Devetak
[1955, Mala Gradusa near Sisak, Croatia], highly respected Serbian poet. Poetry collections published: The Decisive Thirst [1980], And Other Conditions [1980], Unwanted Guests [1984], The Interrupted Screening [1988], The Keyhole [1991], The Desired Campaign [1995], Decay [1997], Steps without a Destination, selection [2004], Face to the Reverse, selected and new poems [2004], Wrinkles and Scars [2005]; a book of prose notes on the war in Croatia Scattering the Ashes [1998]. He edited An Anthology of Serbian Twentieth-Century Poetry in Croatia [2002] and a collection of poems on migrations, exile and displacement Roads Are Our Homeland [2006]. He lives in Vrbas [Vojvodina]. He has won the Golden String of the Smederevo Poets' Autumn, the Seal of Sremski Karlovci City, the Rakić, Zmaj and other prizes.



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