Udovič Jože:
Leaden, Slanting Rain

The lightly rigged skiff

has foundered.

You haven’t discovered the coast

which the morning winds promised.

In the hot sand not a trace

of Odysseus’s footsteps.

No sign of an oracle,


at the foot of youth’s volcano.

The sibyl is silent.

The white, translucent statue

did not glow like a miracle.

In its draperies’ folds

ossified time seemed lusterless, gray,

and its cold marble eyes

stared at you, senseless.


Nor did you care to try

the lotus flower, the fruit of forgetting,

in lands not a revelation.

A river flowed slowly:

beyond lay a brown, scorched desert,

here, cliffs and turbid water

littered with dry leaves.


Toward evening you said,

"Boatsman, take me across,

past the reefs of this dark hour,

the harbor a chasm,

a watery path to

the underworld’s shores."


And he set out, rowing

toward the old, familiar coastline.

In the distance he saw it:

bare trees, a low horizon

and falling on these a leaden,

slanting rain.

Translated by Michael Biggins