Udovič Jože:
The Life Of A Captive

I have been held captive

beneath an arch of frigid shadows,

and yet not a day has passed

but that I’ve seized morning by the shoulders

and walked through locked doors

toward the forbidden light.

This is how I know: there are moments

when everything is open - the earth and stars,

signs in the heavens, spiral mists.

The path of worlds,

shining spheres are close by

as I pass through the great equinox

into regions where the morning star

holds temporal sway.


From hope’s charred remains

I keep fleeing to the northern cold,

the dark-blue chill, the slate-green ice,

and desires flicker in me

like the northern lights.


Then I return to the familiar ridges,

youthful memories flowing

like blue streams between them,

go out amid strange winds

bearing scents

from a southern sea.



Storms set to, fall hoarse,

I awake then on coral islands,

gaze at flocks of flying fish

as the soul hovers

over waves, amid reflections

like a white seagull.


I know of ivory coasts,

of palms over sheltering inlets

where nymphs with dazzling eyes

beckon in the water.

I know of wilds where

my thoughts race like gazelles.

I step through ruins

where the old gods

whisper their names.


The tropic of anxious days

keep binding me

to a gutted tree.

I break loose and escape to a land

of springs and unknown flowers

where I seek the orchid of wonderment

and where a playful gust

writes in the grass

the words that I whisper -

My heart is made of light and desire,

I cannot remain a captive.

Translated by Michael Biggins