Thursday 2 June 2022

One Poem by Ana Nikvul - Translated from Serbian by Petar Penda




I waited and saw 

the time to unpack the boxes

a pile of books and old gramophones

bought somewhere abroad

at the time of a hurt soul and a stormy mind

old debts and wrinkled sorrows

thoughts like rocks scattered

over the worn Persian rug

dust mixed with a blooming apricot

the taste of mead fused with melted wax

and the view of my varnished toenails

and his almost woman-like soft hands


did we look at one another

when one of the gramophones

I carelessly dropped

started playing our song

or we just went on

piling up sets of books by our favourite writers

high below the ceiling of a large room

did you kiss my shoulder blade then telling

look I've got a massage oil

and the water bed suddenly

waved the here and now between our fingers

all the way to the thing between

which he doesn't want in a poem

for its make-believe rude though

all know where and what it is


Translated from Serbian by Petar Penda




dočekala sam

došlo vreme kutije da se raspakuju

brdo knjiga i stari gramofoni

kupljeni negde u inostranstvu

u vreme uganule duše i oluje u umu

stari računi i naborane tuge

misli kao stene prosule se

po olinjalom persijskom tepihu

prašina pomešana sa kajsijom u cvatu

ukus medovače upleo se u topljeni vosak 

i pogled na moje lakirane nokte na nogama

i njegove gotovo ženski nežne ruke


jesmo li se pogledali

kad je jedan od gramofona

koji sam ispustila nesmotreno

zapevao onu našu stvar

ili smo samo nastavili

da ređamo komplete knjiga omiljenih pisaca

visoko pod čelo prostrane sobe

jesi li me tada poljubio u plećku govoreći

vidi imam i ulje za masažu

i vodeni krevet je odjednom

zaljuljao sadašnjost između naših prstiju

pa sve do onog između

što on ne voli da napišem u pesmi

kao bajagi bezobrazno je

a svi znaju gde je i šta je

Ana Nikvul is an acclaimed Serbian poet, dramatist, and fiction writer. She was born in Kosovska Mitrovica and now lives in Mladenovac, where she teaches Serbian language and literature. Ana has published poetry widely, winning renowned regional and international awards. She authored five books of poetry and several notable plays, successfully staged in prominent Balkan theatres. Her poetry was translated into Spanish, Slovene, English, Hungarian, Greek, and Italian, and found a home in anthologies of contemporary Serbian
poets published in Russian and Slovene.

Petar Penda is a professor of English and American literature (University of Banja Luka) and a translator. His translations have been published in renowned journals in the USA and the UK. His poetry was published by "A Thin Slice of Anxiety" and "Trouvaille Review".

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