Debeljak Aleš:
Lord of Tears

Let it be so: may your ears never again hear the fluttering of jays

that cover the gutters of the watchtowers like rotting celestial fruit.

May your steps again measure the endless depths of drawing rooms where whispered

messages from faraway palaces revive the dreams of distant ancestors,

dreams of endless lands, where the same name is spoken with the same

fear. May your spit harden to crystal. May your hand touch

no one. May the heroes who strode across the Illyrian hills and lay down

on the shores of the warm sea foretell your future. Unavoidable alone.


May the salty fluid splash for a moment through the ruined walls

the soldiers left behind. May the commanders stare in dead earnest at the time

of memories which must thicken gradually, like wax. With it


you will seal up the legacy of pain which grows steadily in the guts of

your living poets. They will run with you towards the shores of the

divided island. It will be too late when you bow down before a crude star.

Translated by Andrew Wachtel