Volume 02 No. 3 (2007): July

- Bosnia Tune (1992)

As you pour yourself a scotch, crush a roach, or scratch your crotch, as your hand adjusts your tie, people die. In the towns with funny names, hit by bullets, caught in flames, by and large not knowing why, people die. In small places you don’t know of, yet big for having no chance to scream or say good-bye, people  []

- Train in the Grass

Trains are the finest metaphor for present-day Bosnia-Herzegovina. Three and a half years after Dayton the imaginary state is still slumbering between the covers of the famous Accord, and life is for the most part going on without it and despite it. It’s much the same with the trains. Hundreds of kilometre of tracks are overgrown with grass, with wrecked,  []

- On “Hasanaginica”

The “Hasanaginica” (Hasan Aga’s Wife) is a folk ballad written in the ten-syllable heroic epic line. It first came to the attention of West Europeans when it was published by the abbot Alberto Fortis, in his two-volume Viaggio in Dalmazia (A Voyage in Dalmatia, Venice, 1774). Fortis gave the song both in Serbo-Croatian and in Italian translation. The Viaggio was  []

- Hasan Aga’s Wife

What gleams white in the green forest? Is it snow, or is it a swans? If it were snow it would have melted by now; And swans would have already taken to flight. No, it is neither snow nor is it swans, But the tent of Aga Hasan Aga. He is suffering from terrible wounds. His mother visits him, and  []

- Gorčin

Here lieth Gorčin the soldier In his own land On an alien Patrimony I lived But I summoned death Night and day I never hurt a fly I went off To be a soldier I’ve been In five and five campaigns Without shield or armor So that at last These throes Might cease I perished of a strange pain Not  []

- Stranger

Sometimes … I catch my inquiring look in the mirror: I see, not just another, but a completely unknown and utterly unsympathetic man who stares at me. In those lineaments I try to find something that is mine, I try to recognize some personal seal, something that can tell me that this is me and not somebody else … but  []

- Letter To Dobrica Ćosić

At a roundtable on the topic of “Yugoslavia in World War II in 1941,” held in Belgrade on July 2nd and 3rd this year [1991], I asked for the floor after your presentation. I searched for an answer to one of your arguments. The dialogue had just started, and you and I agreed publicly to continue the dialogue via letters  []

- A Word About Man

FIRST Enclosed within a body encased in skin You dream of heaven’s fecund return Housed in a brain imprisoned in a heart The sun you revere from this dark cave Imprisoned in flesh locked up by these bones How can this space To heaven be bridged? SECOND Confined in a ribcage captured by silver In your grandeur no finer than  []

- Commentary On “A Word About Man”

The introductory cycle in The Stone Sleeper consists of five poems under the common title of “A Word About Man,” but since each of these poems treats the same motifs in the same way, we can also read them as a single poem in five sections. The key to these lines [in “First”] is to be found in the play  []

- Dark Blue River

None can say where it is found We know little but ’tis known Beyond mountain, beyond valley Beyond seven, beyond eight And still sadder and still madder Over weary, over bitter Over hawthorn, over thornbush Over drought and over hindrance Over dread and over doubt Beyond nine and beyond ten There below beneath the earth Over yonder beneath the sky  []

- Brotherhood and Sisterhood

If I were to be born again and could choose, I would choose neither this language, nor this vocation Neither this sign of faith, nor this faith without hope. I would not accept murderers teaching me justice. I would not pick this time nor this country where there is no solace. Nor these brothers who have sold me. Nor this  []

- Five Bosnian Jokes

Question: How many countries are in Europe? Answer: Three Question: Which three? Answer: The European Union, EU candidate countries, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Milošević is convicted by the court, but the judge does not know what would be his worst punishment. He decides to sentence Milošević to live on a Bosnian pension. Journalists ask Mujo what he thinks about the  []

- Prayer in Milan

Make me die This moment, God. Only leave My eyes Behind. So they can watch –on Piazza Duomo– the women going by. Translated by Omer Hadžiselimović and Ann C. Bigelow – © 2007 Omer Hadžiselimović and Ann C. Bigelow