The poetry of Marko Pogačar, translated by Andrea Jurjević

Sunday Collector

My heart carried an endless Sunday 

like a muffled murmur. 

with each heartbeat time ripened into a song:

autumn curled up in every corner, stuffed hands into pockets,

chestnuts into newspaper cones. the deception of leaves kept winning. 

chestnuts, still hot, rushed into hungry throats,

newspapers awaited a force stronger than wind, stronger than fire.

awaited the hand to pick them up, as if all the longing of the world 

gathered into just three of all the things tied to old newspapers:

crumple them up and stuff them into empty shoes,

fold them into hats and send them to a random housepainter.

reuse one of the hats, perhaps the largest, turn it into a boat

for an imagined child to send down a stream into a land

where God is not boundless but mute. and there’s nothing there.    

nothing but Sundays. 

Sakupljač nedjelja

Beskrajnu nedjelju nosio sam na srcu, 

kao skrivenu manu. 

sa svakim otkucajem vrijeme je dozrijevalo u pjesmu:

jesen se kutrila u svakom uglu, gurala ruke u džepove, 

kestene u tuljce od starog tiska. pobjeđivala je prevara lišća. 

kesteni, još uvijek vrući, srljali su ususret gladnom grlu, 

novine iščekivale silu jaču od vjetra, jaču od vatre. 

čekale su tu ruku što će ih podići, kao da se sva čežnja svijeta 

skupila u samo tri od svih silnih uz stare novine vezanih stvari:

novine zgužvati i nagurati u cipele dok noge nema, 

novine presaviti u kape i poslati ih nepoznatome ličiocu.  

jednu od kapa, moguće najveću, prenamijeniti potom u brod 

što će ga neko nestvarno dijete niz potok pustiti u zemlju 

gdje bog nije beskrajan nego nijem. i nema ničega.  

nema ničega osim nedjelja.   

Through the Kitchen Window

A poem is a dense thing. a patterned curtain pulled

open with a single stroke,

black February the hand that calls me to the light, black spring the window;

underneath it blossomed a man

and we let the roots rise up: we churned 

the sky like moles. it hadn’t snowed yet, 

ping-pong balls flew across the borders of space,

where the air thins and words, along with breathing, gain weight.

nothing extraordinary happened. kids in the yard blew

into whistles. women shelled peas, one of them

more a woman than most, surrounded by wind, under her feet

mice. on the other side, the sea was resting, but I keep quiet about that

a dense thing, dense—like a bone, like teeth-grinding winters.

icy air passed through me, warmed up in my throat and veins

and fogged up the pane as breath does. the window gathered the drops

I offered. it took all my writing. I know what my fingertips

cut into the scene like spit into snow, yet I don’t mention it

in front the unknown in bloom, behind my back a woman

the wind sticks petals to face

Kroz Prozor Kuhinje

Pjesma je gusta stvar. zavjesa s uzorkom navučena 

jednim potezom razmaknuta, 

crna veljača ruka koja me zove prozoru, crno proljeće okno; 

pod njim je procvao ležao čovjek

a mi smo korijenje pustili obrnuto: isprevrtali smo

nebo nalik na krtice. snijega još nije bilo, 

ping-pong loptice letjele su preko granice prostora, 

gdje se zrak rijedi i riječi postaju teške, zajedno s disanjem. 

ništa se posebno nije desilo. djeca u dvorištu puhala su 

u zviždaljke. žene su trijebile grašak, jedna od njih 

više žena no druge, najviše žena, okolo vjetar, pod njenim nogama

miševi. s druge strane je mirovalo more, ali o tome šutim 

gusta stvar, gusta – kao kost, kao kad zime samelju zube. 

zrak je leden kroz mene prolazio, zagrijavao se u grlu i žilama

i kao dah maglio staklo. okno je primilo kapljice 

koje sam nudio. uzelo je sve moje pismo. što sam prstima 

kao pljuvačkom u snijeg usjekao u prizor pamtim, o tom ne govorim

pred mojim očima ovdje nepoznati u cvatu, za mojim leđima žena 

vjetar latice lijepi o lice 

Magellan, Home Alone

You woke up sweaty and naked

muscles cramped from a drinking spree that lasted too long

and sailed in the direction of the fridge, sweaty and naked,

an explorer in search of a new world.

it turned out the world is a watermelon

seen from afar through a silk stocking 

under its core bloody magma, sugar cooled into envy 

tosses seeds in its sweet love. 

inside each seed, like in a town hall, a dead man keeps court

with his habit of silence, his test of stillness

until a knife floods rooms with the syrup of warm spring nights

and clerks, abandoned by everyone, run before the first drops

under the roof of a provincial post office.

from there, the haughty and dry watch pigs swallow the world

and the storm rinses out its map; they ask: how does so much rain fit

into the sky above such a small town?

Kućni Magellan

Probudio si se znojan i gol

mišića zgrčenih od pijanke koja je predugo trajala

i otisnuo se u smjeru hladnjaka znojan i gol 

nalik pomorcu u potrazi za novim svijetom.  

ispostavilo se svijet je lubenica 

viđena izdaleka kroz jednu svilenu čarapu 

pod čijom korom krvava magma, šećer ohlađen do ljubomore 

u slatkoj ljubavi ljuljuška koštice.  

u svakoj koštici kao u vijećnici stoluje mrtvac

sa svojom navikom šutnje, ispitom mirovanja 

dok nož ne potopi urede u lijepak toplih proljetnih noći 

i službenici napušteni od sviju pred prvim kapima 

pobjegnu pod krov provincijske pošte. 

gordi i suhi promatraju odande svinje kako gutaju svijet 

i kako pljusak ispire njegovu mapu; pitaju kako toliko kiše 

stane u nebo nad tako malim gradom? 

Poet:

Marko Pogačar is one of Croatia’s leading contemporary poets. Author of five poetry collections, five books of essays, and a short story collection, Pogačar also edited Young Croatian Lyric anthology (2014). His writing has been translated into more than 30 languages.

Translator: 

Andrea Jurjević is the author of Small Crimes, winner of the 2015 Philip Levine Poetry Prize, and a translator whose book-length translations from Croatian include Mamasafari (Diálogos Press, 2018) and Dead Letter Office (The Word Works, 2020). 

About the contributor

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