Hung on a cloud, the cloak of the Tongariro
volcano is clasped at the neck with a single
round button: Blue Lake. At the bottom
of the lake, at the height of the heart, a time
bomb is ticking. We try not to think, we try
not to know, but its veins like prickly goose
bumps are crawling up our spines and are

In the blue lake at the top of the Tongariro
volcano there is nothing to eat, nothing but stone.
This is known to the strange long-necked birds,
but they still, on their way across the ocean,
alight on it. Flying high, they have outlived
their enemies and are now resting on the waves
like on a seesaw.

We, too, you and I, are strange long-necked
birds who have outlived all their enemies.
Coming from afar, we set down our backpacks
and wade into the dead water of the Tongariro
volcano. We are resting from our courage.

Bibliotekos was the first publisher of “Tongariro” in the original Bosnian by Milorad Pejić, translated into English by Omer Hadžiselimović.

The English translation first appeared in Guernica on 2 June 2014 and can be found here, with biographical information about the poet and translator.

Re-published in Duh Bosne with permission of the author and translator.

Creative Commons License
The preceding text is copyright of the author and/or translator and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.