My language sprouts in me
and I sprout in IT perfectly
and time and time again
I reap and sift IT,
I knead, and mould, and bake IT
for if deprived of IT, I have no body,
no face, no surface, and no volume,
no soul, and all the more — no name
And IT observes me gently.
Quite often we debate,
and always have these heated rows
in passion and in misery**
but IT will take a seat at night,
so heavy and exhausted, crusty,
to take a bite of my soft bread
and I now turn my back on IT,
now spin IT with odd thread
Yet IT is there and observes me gently
IT gives my breath direction
so when I rush to roam the world
and foreign languages I dash
to plough, to sow, to sprout
and bread from them to bake
in them to cherish, honour, vow,
in them to dearly adore…
whenever should I lose my way
in IT again to sprout.
Listen to the poem, if you dare…
This poem in Bulgarian
* The title is trying to echo the symbolic poem Sacred Language of My Predecessors by the iconic Bulgarian poet, writer and playwright Ivan Vazov, author of the first Bulgarian novel.
The long wooden tray, the kneading trough, the bread trough, the so-called “noshtvi” [нощви] is an important symbol of the Bulgarian culture. It is an ancestral object that needs to be guarded for the generations as it is believed to protect the family from evil forces. It is the safe place before the bread is thrown into the furnace. The etymology of the word is hard to trace back, but many Slavic languages, including Russian, have similar words for either water troughs or kneading trough. In some Baltic languages, such as Latvian there are similarly sounding words related to wheat and reaping, although the connection is weak. Still, the word is not related to “night”, which has a close spelling.
** The phrase “passion and misery” is yet another popular phrase which comes from Yavorov’s poem “Two Lovely Eyes“. Peyo Yavorov is one of the forerunners of symbolism and Modernism in Bulgarian poetry and a fascinating character.