Iztok Osojnik (Slovene, 1951)
You never said anything
and I never heard anything
but there is no doubt:
that which is beyond in me
the twilight of your
There inside glows the measure
for the deep end of memory,
for the inquiring looks from under the eyebrows,
for the rustle of woods on the steep darkgreen slopes,
for the wild heights wrapped in fog
And farther still, like a shriek of a bird
that dashes out of a damp shadow for the sun,
for the slopes amid the grapes, tottering into wine
under the golden weight of autumn.
Out of you grows the remembrance of the Tyrol cravings for the Mediterranean,
those tough green irons on the pyramids of the red granite over Bozen.
Or of the long, moist nights,
out of which dreams spread deep into the tissue
of another reality,
nights, out of which I awoke shaken,
a witness to prenatal states,
unable to communicate them well,
stammering and still wet from the true/real sobbing of my soul.
Later though, imperceptibly almost, down
the valleys of darkgreen hips
and sharp rocks, slashed from the ice and the sun.
You may have known it all,
of the chain of fathers and sons and how the accumulated experience
is passed into seed and from one soul to another.
Up the valley, along the river, the waves of
world history penetrated, touching the cells nuclei,
The world is centerless/off-balance.
An ancestor, absorbed in thought, raised his eyes and
erected a chapel for a saint at the mouth of the river,
into the ravine he built a sign
which people came to see from afar, wanting to learn of
History ebbed and flowed like a flood,
it named sons or daughters, leaving them indelibly marked.
We all are marked,
with focused foreheads we all have written
what we have not always understood.
We have left graves behind, strewn with flint sand,
now ablaze with the shattered sun. ( We are) motionless like a sparrow hawk on a twig.
The gaze of the deceased harbored also our confidence and strength.
This presence, this measure, moves through the silence like the deer in the dark,
across the invisible insight that resides differently and travels differently.
And not just you and I, everyone trembles awe-struck by these
vistas, by the spirit that winds through the valley,
vivid from the blossoming fruit trees,
baroque like the royal carriage from Statenberg Castle that pulled up at the house,
dusky like the cloister and the park in the front,
where once, feeling anxious, you would wait
on your mother to return from the confession,
while in the vineyard cottage,
which was nationalized after the war together with the rest of
the estate, dad was making wine awarded
with the diploma that still hangs on the wall I am now looking at.
Translated by Ana Jelnikar.