Monday, 13 February 2017

Everyday Lament - Augustin Tin Ujević

How hard it is to be weak,
How hard it is to be alone,
And to be old, yet young!

And to be weak and feeble,
And all alone in the world,
And restless, and desperate.

And to tread roads,
And to be trodden in the mud,
With no shine of a star.

With no bright star of fate,
That shone o’er the cradle
With rainbows and illusions.

O, Lord, remember, Lord
All brilliant promises
That you have made to me.

O, Lord, remember, Lord
Both love and victory
And laurel wreaths and gifts.

Know now that your Son travels
Thru the worlds’ dreary valley
O’er the thorns and stones,

That he roams aimlessly,
And his feet are bleeding,
And his heart is wounded.

And his bones are tired,
And his soul is sorrowful,
And he is alone and forlorn.

And he’s no sister or brother,
And he’s no father or mother,
And he’s no darling or friend.

And he has nobody
But a thorn prick in his heart
And a flame in his hand.

And he travels all alone
Under the obscure azure,
Across the dim open sea,

And who shall he complain to,
When nobody listens to him,
Not even his fellow rovers.

O, Lord, bitter is thy word
And it is stuck in my throat
And it is eager to pour out.

That word is the stake
And I must shout it out
Or I shall flare up and burn.

May I be a bonfire in the hills,
May I be a breath in the flames,
If I cannot be a cry from the roofs!

O, Lord, may an end be
Made of this piteous roving
’Neath a non-hearing canopy.

For I need a mighty word,
For I need an answer,
And love or holy death.

Bitter is the absinthe wreath,
Dark is the poison grail,
I crave a sweltering July.

For it is painful to be weak,
For it is painful to be alone
(if only I could be strong,

If only I could be loved),
It is painful, oh, so painful,
To be already old, yet so young!

Augustin Tin Ujević (1891 – 1955) Croatia
Translated by Ljiljana Parović
Source: Serbo-Croatian Poetry Translation

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