Thursday, December 24, 2015

Four Poems by Adin Ljuca

Translated by Omer Hadžiselimović

The Archaeology of Hope

Looking for who knows what I stumbled
upon a set of silverware sunk to the bottom
of the last box with things no longer needed.
It does not fit in with anything in my kitchen
or in my life except for an old fancy of my
mother regarding my future. 


What Will the Doctor Say
                                  -For Raymond Carver

On first reading it, I overlooked that poem,
Raymond. It takes, however, just one cell
to change its mood and make alive that which
we'd failed to notice till then.

I have no energy to read “What the Doctor Said”
now that I, too, am going to hear it. The noose
of words tightens after the first lines and I can’t go
on. With the unsteadiness of a blind person,
the streetcar is pushing on through the fog of cold
streets as if it didn’t have the tracks in front of it.
Your 26-years-old words from the closed book are
warming my palm while images are fast multiplying.


The Miller

I can no longer
recall from memory the voice of Jusuf the miller.
I can’t separate it from the murmur of water
and the creaking of millstones.

I remember only the images:
the pack saddle set down in the grass,
the peasant untying the sack, the horse
drinking from the river.

The wooden mill quivers, but the image
is clear: through the tiny holes beams of light
break in and insert themselves into the roaring
semi-darkness where soft wheat dust dribbles
onto the miller’s cap and apron.

Grains ground to dust.
The days, too.
Dust to dust,
I hear father’s voice.


The Whisper of Shalwars

I should defend my trade, but how
when this what I do, except for a higher one,
has no sense at all?
In the house I grew up in such questions were
not asked. You could hear the rain pattering
on the roof and pouring down from the gutters,
into the darkness...and my grandfather, who’d

get up painfully, coughing and tottering until
he became fully awake. On workdays he delivered
mail from door to door, never doubting the purpose
of what he was bringing to people.
On weekends he worked in the bakery: “He who has
ten children,” he’d say, “must work ten days in a week.”
He lit the bread stove in the bakery, kneaded the dough,

and turned over the loaves with the long baking shovel—
just as I turn over nonsense—so they wouldn’t burn. Grandma
you could not hear. Only the whisper of her shalwars.


Adin Ljuca was born in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1966. He now lives in Prague, the Czech Republic. Ljuca has written scholarly works in the field of cultural history of South Slavic countries as well those of poetry and fiction and has also translated numerous scholarly writings. Ljuca’s main publications include Hidžra (Prague, 1996); Maglaj: Na tragovima prošlosti (Maglaj, 1999); Vytetované obrazy (Prague, 2005); Istetovirane slike (Sarajevo, 2010); and Stalaktit (Tešanj, 2015). 

All Work Copyright©2015 by Adin Ljuca – All Rights Reserved