Kocbek Edvard:
The Generosity of Poems

Throughout all times poets have been charged

with trying to fix in special words

fateful human events worthy of remembrance,

like solemn chroniclers,

so that young and old could learn them

by heart and sing them in sorrow

to the glory and betterment of all generations. And

yet, poets have always exulted

and mixed their sacred duty to history

with an unbounded lust for the play of the elements.

They’ve written their poems, just as rain and snow

fulfill their duty in nature,

and like the careful sower sows the

upturned earth in fall and reaps in summer.

At this moment I feel a special generosity.

It is fed by all that was

and still remains in human worship,

surpassing my recall and mingling with everything

alive in man’s community and the imagination.

Now I sense as never before that

a poem is the combined force of all human

talents, and that its exemplariness

derives from the abundance of language.

Translated by Michael Biggins