Far Within Us

We raise our arms
The street climbs into the sky
We lower our eyes
The roofs go down into the earth

From every pain
We do not mention
Grows a chestnut tree
That stays mysterious behind us

From every hope
We cherish
Sprouts a star
That moves unreachable before us

Can you hear a bullet
Flying about our heads
Can you hear a bullet
Waiting to ambush our kiss

Look here’s that uninvited
Alien presence look it’s here

A shudder on the ocean of tea in the cup
Rust taking hold
On the edges of our laughter
A snake coiled in the depths of the mirror

Will I be able to hide you
From your face in mine

Look it’s the third shadow
On our imagined walk
Unexpected abyss
Between our words
Hoofs clattering
Below the vaults of our palates

Will I be able
On this unrest-field
To raise you a tent of my hands

Unquiet you walk
Along the rims of my eyes

On the invisible grating
Before your lips
My naked words shiver

We steal moments
From the unheeding iron saws

Your hands sadly
Flow into mine
The air is impassable

Green gloves rustle
On the avenue’s branches

The evening carries us under its arm
By a path which leaves no trace

The rain falls on its knees
Before the fugitive windows

The yards come out of their gates
And stand looking after us

The nights are running out of darkness

Steel branches grasp
The arms of passers-by

Only anonymour chimneys
Are free to walk the streets
Which slice across our sleeplessness

In the gutters our stars decay

From the wrinkle between my brows
You watch till day breaks
On my face

The waxen night
Is beginning to singe
The fingers of dawn

Black bricks
Have already tiled
The whole dome of the sky

Toothed eyes fly
Over still waters

Around us purple lips
Flutter from branches

Screams hit the blue
And fall onto pillows

Our homes hide
Behind narrow backs

Hands clutch at
Flimsy clouds

Our veins roll turbid
Bed and tables

Of shattered bones
Noon has fallen into our hands

And turned all gloomy

An open grave on the face of the earth
On your face on my face

– Vasko Popa
Trad.Anne Pennington

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