Zajc Dane:
Barren Harvest

She recognized his skull

by its beautiful white teeth, mother said.

Beautiful white teeth,

biting into the earth,

beautiful brown eyes,

filled with soil,

strong young bones,

which once were hands,

hands which had never caressed a woman,

strong young bones,

caressing the earth.


Full of young glistening teeth

shining in the earth.


Every spring the earth will blossom.

The cruel and hard earth

which swallows us with her dark jaws.

Hard is the death of old men.

Even harder is the harvest

of beautiful brown eyes

which have never seen a naked woman,

which have never been kissed by her

whispering lips: I’m yours

(these eyes which have not yet seen),

inconceivable is the harvest

of beautiful brown eyes,

the barren harvest

of the unfeeling earth.


I remember you, brother.

Our mother thought of

your beautiful white teeth.

Your beautiful white teeth

were the earth’s barren harvest.

Translated by Erica Johnson Debeljak