Vasko Popa - : Poems Popa(1922 - 1991) Popa was born in the village of Grebenac, Vojvodina, Serbia. After finishing high school, he enrolled as a student of the Faculty of

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  • Classic Poetry Series

    Vasko Popa- poems -

    Publication Date:2004

    Publisher:Poemhunter.com - The World's Poetry Archive

  • Vasko Popa(1922 - 1991) Popa was born in the village of Grebenac, Vojvodina, Serbia. After finishing highschool, he enrolled as a student of the Faculty of Philosophy at the BelgradeUniversity. He continued his studies at the University of Bucharest and in Vienna.During World War II, he fought as a partisan and was imprisoned in a Germanconcentration camp in Bekerek (today Zrenjanin, Serbia). After the war, in 1949, Popa graduated from the Romanic group of the Faculty ofPhilosophy at Belgrade University. He published his first poems in the magazinesKnjizevne novine (Literary Magazine) and the daily Borba (Struggle). From 1954 until 1979 he was the editor of the publishing house Nolit. In 1953 hepublished his first major verse collection, Kora (Bark). His other important workincluded Nepoin-polje (Field of No Rest, 1956), Sporedno nebo(Secondary Heaven, 1968), Uspravna zemlja (Earth Erect, 1972), Vuja so(Wolf's Salt. 1975), and Od zlata jabuka (The Golden Apple, 1978), an anthologyof Serbian folk literature. His Collected Poems, 194376, a compilation in Englishtranslation, appeared in 1978, with an introduction by the British poet TedHughes. On May 29, 1972 Vasko Popa founded "The Literary Municipality Vrac" andoriginated a library of postcards, called Slobodno lie (Free Leaves). Inthe same year, he was elected to become a member of the Serbian Academy ofSciences and Arts. Vasko Popa is one of the founders of Vojvodina Academy of Sciences and Arts,established on December 14, 1979 in Novi Sad. He is the first laureate of theBrankos award (Brankova nagrada) for poetry, established in honour of the poetBranko Radievi. In the year 1957 Popa received another awardfor poetry, Zmajs Award (Zmajeva nagrada), which honours the poet JovanJovanovi Zmaj. In 1965 Popa received the Austrian state award forEuropean literature. In 1976 he received the Branko Miljkovi poetryaward, in 1978 the Yugoslav state AVNOJ Award, and in 1983 the literary awardSkender Kulenovi. In 1995, the town of Vrac established a poetry award named after Vasko Popa.It is awarded annually for the best book of poetry published in Serbian language.The award ceremony is held on the day of Popas birthday, 29 June. Vasko Popa died on January 5, 1991 in Belgrade and is buried in the Aisle of the

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  • Deserving Citizens in Belgrades New Cemetery.

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  • A Conceited Mistake Once upon a time there was a mistakeSo silly so smallThat no one would even have noticed it It couldn't bearTo see itself to hear of itself It invented all manner of thingsJust to provethat it didn't really exist It invented spaceTo put its proofs inAnd time to keep its proofsAnd the world to see its proofs All it inventedWas not so sillyNor so smallBut was of course mistaken Could it have been otherwise Trans. Anne Pennington Anonymous submission. Vasko Popa

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  • A Forgetful Number Once upon a time there was a numberPure and round like the sunBut alone very much alone It began to reckon with itself It divided multiplied itselfIt subtracted added itselfAnd remained always alone It stopped reckoning with itselfAnd shut itself up in its roundAnd sunny purity Outside were left the fieryTraces of its reckoning They began to chase each other through the darkTo divide when they should have multiplied themselvesTo subtract when they should have added themselves That's what happens in the dark And there was no one to ask itTo stop the tracesAnd to rub them out. Trans. Anne Pennington Vasko Popa

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  • Anne Pennington Until her last breath she enlargesHer Oxford houseBuilt in SlavonicVowels and consonants She polishes the corner-stonesUntil their Anglo-Saxon shineBegins to sing Her death is like a short breath-stopUnder the distant limetrees of her friends Trans. by Peter Jay, Anthony Rudolf, and Daniel Weissbort Anonymous submission. Vasko Popa

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  • Before The Game Shut one eye then the otherPeek into every corner of yourselfSee that there are no nails no thievesSee that there are no cuckoo's eggs Shut then the other eyeSquat and jumpJump high high highOn top of yourself Fall then with all your weightFall for days on end deep deep deepTo the bottom of your abyss Who doesn't break into piecesWho remains whole gets up wholePlays Vasko Popa

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  • Between Games Nobody rests This one constantly shifts his eyesHangs them on his headAnd whether he wants it or not starts walking backwardsHe puts them on the soles of his feetAnd whether he wants it or not returns walking on his head This one turns into an earHe hears all that won't let itself be heardBut he grows boredYearns to turn again into himselfBut without eyes he can't see how That one bares all his facesOne after the other he throws them over the roofThe last one he throws under his feetAnd sinks his head into his hands This one stretches his sightStretches it from thumb to thumbWalks over it walksFirst slow then fastThen faster and faster That one plays with his headJuggles it in the airMeets it with his index fingerOr doesn't meet it at all Nobody rests Vasko Popa

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  • Far Within Us #1 We raise our armsThe street climbs into the skyWe lower our eyesThe roofs go down into the earth From every painWe do not mentionGrows a chestnut treeThat stays mysterious behind us From every hopeWe cherishSprouts a starThat moves unreachable before us Can you hear a bulletFlying about our headsCan you hear a bulletWaiting to ambush our kiss Trans. by Anne Pennington Anonymous submission. Vasko Popa

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  • Far Within Us #2 Look here's that uninvitedAlien presence look it's here A shudder on the ocean of tea in the cupRust taking holdOn the edges of our laughterA snake coiled in the depths of the mirror Will I be able to hide youFrom your face in mine Look it's the third shadowOn our imagined walkUnexpected abyssBetween our wordsHoofs clatteringBelow the vaults of our palates Will I be ableOn this unrest-fieldTo raise you a tent of my hands Trans. by Anne Pennington Anonymous submission. Vasko Popa

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  • Far Within Us #3 Unquiet you walkAlong the rims of my eyes On the invisible gratingBefore your lipsMy naked words shiver We steal momentsFrom the unheeding iron saws Your hands sadlyFlow into mineThe air is impassable Trans. by Anne Pennington Anonymous submission. Vasko Popa

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  • Far Within Us #4 Green gloves rustleOn the avenue's branches The evening carries us under its armBy a path which leaves no trace The rain falls on its kneesBefore the fugitive windows The yards come out of their gatesAnd stand looking after us Trans. by Anne Pennington Anonymous submission. Vasko Popa

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  • Far Within Us #5 The nights are running out of darkness Steel branches graspThe arms of passers-by Only anonymour chimneysAre free to walk the streetsWhich slice across our sleeplessness In the gutters our stars decay Trans. by Anne Pennington Anonymous submission. Vasko Popa

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  • Far Within Us #6 From the wrinkle between my browsYou watch till day breaksOn my face The waxen nightIs beginning to singeThe fingers of dawn Black bricksHave already tiledThe whole dome of the sky Trans. by Anne Pennington Anonymous submission. Vasko Popa

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  • Far Within Us #7 Toothed eyes flyOver still waters Around us purple lipsFlutter from branches Screams hit the blueAnd fall onto pillows Our homes hideBehind narrow backs Hands clutch atFlimsy clouds Our veins roll turbidBed and tables Of shattered bonesNoon has fallen into our hands And turned all gloomy An open grave on the face of the earthOn your face on my face Trans. by Anne Pennington Anonymous submission. Vasko Popa

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  • Give Me Back My Rags Just come to my mindMy thoughts will scratch out your face Just come into my sightMy eyes will start snarling at you Just open your mouthMy silence will smash your jaws Just remind me of youMy remembering will paw up the ground under your feet That's what it's come to between us Trans. by Anne Pennington Anonymous submission. Vasko Popa

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  • Give Me Back My Rags #1 Give me back my rags My rags of pure dreamingOf silk smiling of striped forebodingOf my cloth of lace My rags of spotted hopeOf burnished desire of chequered glancesOf skin from my face Give me back my ragsGive me when I ask you nicely Trans. by Anne Pennington Anonymous submission. Vasko Popa

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  • Give Me Back My Rags #11 I've wiped your face off my faceRipped your shadow off my shadow Leveled the hills in youTurned your plains into hills Set your seasons quarrelingTurned all the ends of the world from you Wrapped the path of my life around youMy impenetrable my impossible path Just try to meet me now Trans. by Anne Pennington Anonymous submission. Vasko Popa

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  • Give Me Back My Rags #12 Enough chattering violets enough sweet trashI won't hear anything know anythi