Zupan Uroš:


Everything written thus far came too early,

life before birth, a preparation and a guessing,

a wind rising in the night, a voice that drifts

above the dark waterline of a subterranean current and only rarely

arrives, rarely disturbs someone’s sleep.


It can’t be helped, or perhaps help comes too late.

Allies are dead, without bodies, their whisper does not

reach the ear,  doubles sleep under another sky,

sheltered by the music of the same interstellar spaces.


It can’t be helped, no one as yet  has outrun subjective time,

what remains certain are a vacant landscape and solitary skill,

waiting in silence to be perfected.


This is for when my eyes open and I understand

where power springs from.

This is for when  no one is interested in my own story,

my diagram, any longer.


Yet at times it feels

that years of training have conferred upon me the title of a fine craftsman,

whose lot is the wisdom of humility and devotion,

who can, without masters, without preconceptions,

take shortcuts, cross the cadences of prayer,

and dive into the center of mystery.


If I look back, everything is distinct and clear,

all loves without a flaw, all defeats and victories,

all the disjunctions of the world balanced.


If I look ahead, again, as in centuries

before, twilight advances, indistinct shapes

in the evening shadows mist and dark forebodings are the masters of life.


Still, something in me will not be denied, since ancient time

I’ve felt another presence at my side,

an angel perhaps, and if  in my

awkward sleepwalking I came too close to the edge,

he always, without waking or frightening me,

steered me in another direction.


Now I ask him, as has been written on my palms,

to abide by me,

and although I do not walk the labyrinths of London

and have not been visited by fire for a long time

I keep questioning him:


Who, sailing across nothingness,

is carried by what has been breathed here

beyond, into one of the worlds on the other side?

Why has the tongue overpowered love?

What is the afterlife of words?

Why, at times, do they seem like a gift and at times

a torment, but always real?


My words are someone else’s words.

My body is someone else’s body.

My name is more than a heteronym.

Now, even though I know not

where my beloved Ithaca lies

I speak as Ulysses.

Am Nobody.

Translated by Mia Dintinjana with Phyllis Levin