Hell is other people…

Paradise will always be for others
Paradise will always be somewhere else
elsewhere Paradise is, rather,
yet another Hell.

Where is the crossing point between Jean-Paul Sartre’s pessimism (Hell is Other People) and Georgi Gospodinov’s desperation, or quite possibly, the uptimate celebration of the idea to be happy with what you have. A very explicit attempt at translating the poet’s brilliant formalistic Paradise.

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When Spring Blows Me Away

At the blink of those flawless moments
when whimsically winter withdraws
with questioning leaves
ever so eager to burst into life
and confused yet curious seeds
groping for life-pouring light…

I can see, spring has gone nuts, totally nuts —

with numerous nameless smells in the air,
with optimistic sandals
brushing the succulent grass,
no recollections, no traces, no heirs,
no future, no past,
as if the world has just been created.

The line

They say,
living happens with crossing lines, invisible or not,
with, quite possibly, being
    slightly
        out
            of
              line
With gaining crossing lines in the face
with crossing out some givens
Or maybe, just maybe,
crossing swords every so often

As the stardust in you sardonically screams

All it takes is cross yourself and take
                a mighty
            leap
     of faith
to defy the straight line…

But (there’s always a but)
over your shoulder you see
you’ve come back where you started
A circle?
How could that be?!
Gravity freezes
logic flees
a new meaning gleams
in a bottomless well
of freedom from passion, hunger, greed,
and intent
Where you can be anything.

Sacred Language of My Bread Trough*

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.

Език свещен на моите нощви

Езикът ми покълва в мен
и аз покълвам в него съвършено
и всеки ден
го жъна и пресявам,
омесвам, втасвам и опичам
че аз без него съм без тяло,
лице, обем или повърхност
и без душа, без име даже

А той ме гледа кротко.

Нерядко с него спорим,
и все се палим
в страсти и неволи
но все присяда вечер той,
че натежал и морен, целия в следи
от моя хляб да вкуси
а аз ту му обръщам гръб,
ту го пресуквам с чужди нишки

Но той е там, и гледа кротко

на дъха ми дава посока
та по света щом се втурна
и чужди езици се юрна
да сея, ора и покълвам
и хляб от тях да опичам
на тях да милея, да тача,
на тях да обичам…
случи ли се да се загубя
в него пак да покълна.

play the poemСтихотворението, изчетено от мен

A drink of infinity

I walk along this tightrope
called life
as if I’ve become one, once more,
with the ground I every day trample
My tendons are strained
like never before
Yet, release the rope, Master
let it rest on the ground
Sit down
with me, in the middle
and pour me a glass of wine
to swallow this wink of infinity
For we all mean eternity, Master.