Poem by Milan Rakic (Serbia, September 1876 — Croatia, June 1938)

Mention me in your prayers
As the sun sets for distant mountains,
Know that cruel thoughts keep hunting me,
And that, likewise a weak child, I fear to be.

You, genuine soul, be Genoveva,
Watching sleeping Paris over,
So long as, by its blessing, dreams
The virtuous lover and all miscreants sins;

And let them be silent beneath your prayer,
Oh, patroness of my eternal soul,
All the fatal thoughts clouding my heart,
Like miscreants standing ready to fight.

Mention me in prayers, darling,
And I’ll know in the hours of dark,
The dishonourable force again when sparks,
That your good soul is watching over me.

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Poem by Milan Rakic (Serbia, September 1876 — Croatia, June 1938)

How beautiful this night is! Look, all over,
From poplar, oak, acacia and mulberry,
In rays, golden-haired, falling is
An inconspicuous moon. Presently,
Above the meadows where grass scents
Into flowering branches, atop fields
That turn black past wondrous rain,
The great soul of the moon dreams.
All is calm. Hush. Quiet is the flat land
Where once troops by troops fell,
- Sprouted out of much blood,
Red and blue, Kosovo peonies bloom.

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Poem by Jovan Ducic (Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 1874 — US, April 1943)

Passionate words remained unsaid,
Only your eyes, calm as darkness,
They watched and listened;
Silence sang my pain at your ear.

What a hymn of the heart, that unspoken word!
That word that does not know nonsense and lascivious acts!
When silence speaks for us, it is her word that has all
The pureness of dreams and painful yearning.

That mild music of love that keeps silent,
The peaceful prayer in the depths of the soul:
Never has it been hazed by words of lies,
Nor did a single voice of vice touch our sense of hearing.

An idea set in a deadened stone;
All faith in tears that won’t fall;
The given oath at an unbeknown hour of the day;
And the highest law of pain that wails.

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Poem by Hermann Hesse (Germany, July 1877 — Switzerland, August 1962)

How is your stare so tough,
As if to petrify everything,
Ain’t therein the faintest dream,
But coldest presence.

In your mind, ain’t there any
Sun to shine at all?
Doesn’t it make you cry,
Not having been juvenile?

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Poem by Hermann Hesse (Germany, July 1877 — Switzerland, August 1962)

Music of the universe and music of the masters
Are we ready listening to with awe,
For sheer party honoured spirits of
Gifted times to invoke.

The mystery we let uplift us,
A magic formula font under which spell
The unboundedness, the storminess, the life is
To curdle into the most similar.

Starry pictures alike, they resound crystalline,
In their service, lives meaningfully enlight,
And none can fall from those circles, but
Towards sacred medium insight.

Alone — Poem by Hermann Hesse

Across the earth, it leads to
Roads and ways a lot, still,
All of them have one,
Same final path.

You can ride and drive,
In twos and threes,
The last step is
Alone to bring.

That’s why no knowledge,
No skill is that good,
As all the heaviness
Alone you do.

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Poem by Hermann Hesse (Germany, July 1877 — Switzerland, August 1962)

All the books in this world
Bring you no luck,
But teach you secretly
Into yourself back.

There’s all you need,
Sun, star and moon
And all the bliss you ever asked for,
In yourself is won.

The wisdom you’ve long sought
In the book room,
Glows now from every letter -
Since, as of now, they are your matter.

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Poem by Hermann Hesse (Germany, July 1877 — Switzerland, August 1962)

My pillow looks at me at night
Vapid as a headstone;
This bitter I never thought it’d be,
Being alone
And don’t be bedded in your hair!

Alone I lie in the quiet house,
The sconce put out,
And, gingerly, I stretch out my hands,
To clasp yours,
And, quietly, I press my fervent mouth
At you and kiss til I’m slack and sore -
And suddenly, I woke up
And all around silent is the cold night,
The star in the window frankly shimmerin’ -
O you, where’s your fair hair,
Where is your sweet mouth?

Well, now I drink ache in every pleasure
And poison in every wine;
This bitter I never knew it’d be,
Being alone, all alone,
Without you with me!

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Poem by Hermann Hesse (Germany, July 1877 — Switzerland, August 1962)

How heavy the days are!
Not a fire that’d warm me up,
No sun to smile along to me anymore,
All is void,
All is cold and ruthless,
And even the lovely limpid stars
Look at me bleakly,
Ever since I found in my heart,
That love can die.

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October 1944

Poem by Hermann Hesse (Germany, July 1887 — Switzerland, August 1962)

Passionately the rain is pouring,
Whimpering, it hurls itself onto the land,
Streams gurgling in the paths
Towards an overfilled lake,
Which lately still so vitreous was.

That we were joyous once
And the world seemed blissful to us
Was a dream. Greyhaired we’re
Standing autumnal and versed
Tormented by war and loathe.

Swept bare and without glitter
Lies the world, once that had laughed;
A grid of leafless branches through
A dead-bitter winter staring is into,
And the night is reaching out for us.

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MILICA MARJANOVIC

I am translating poems with the intention of reviving them, not making them contemporary, still preserving what is precious to the human soul: The poetic word.