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Barbara Pogačnik, Slovenia

Barbara Pogačnik, Slovenia

The Poems

TO CATCH A TAIL

Suddenly, I see a fish behind the wheel
of a tram coming towards me. Instantly
I find myself in the driver’s seat
of my red and green tram.
The rusty wheels gurgle brightly,
as does the water under the sun;
cats of all patterns slink along the tracks.
The fish in the passing tram
keeps gasping, swirling circles
in its gaping mouth. Grey spirals, all of its
speech, are sucked up
from prehuman roots. Trees lift
one root at a time; roots flow
along the tram’s side.

With an electric flash when passing by, the fish and I greet
each other like brother and sister
and, in a glance, the scene is over.
I’ll never find out
if I have the fish bubble in the mouth myself.

In the blinding sun
a tail disappears,
the tail of a cat
lurking for fish.
Currently, there’s no tram in town.

(Translated by Julija Potrč & Anthony McCann)

 

*

 

LOVITI REP

V nasproti vozečem tramvaju
za krmilom nenadoma
zagledam ribo. V istem hipu
se znajdem na šoferskem mestu
rdeče-zelenega tramvaja še sama.
Zarjavela kolesa tesnobno klokotajo,
tok napeljav bliska kot voda pod soncem.
Mački vseh barv se smukajo prek tirov.
Riba, ki mi vozi nasproti, široko
odpira usta, v katerih se vrtinčijo
krogi. Te sive spirale so ves njen govor
ki ga srka iz svoje predčloveške
korenine. Drevesa vzdigujejo
po eno korenino, ki zaplapola
ob boku tramvaja.

Z ribo se ob električnem blesku pozdraviva
kot brat in sestra
in že je ves prizor mimo.
Nikoli ne bom izvedela,
ali imam ribji balon v ustih tudi jaz.

V mojem življenju zdaj
skozi barvo dnevne svetlobe
izginja rep mačke, ki je prežala na ribo,
in tramvaja trenutno ni v mestu.

* * *

GOOD NIGHT, SEASON

With a high wall of fire, spring
invisibly pulled in air and changed it
into eternal wakefulness. Season of white nights,
out of all the seasons the bears would sleep this one through.
The clouds have been shot through;
they nod off in the breath of a shoulder. There’s nothing
in this deserted town except for birds and the red
ball that I’m sitting on.
That`s me inside the ball of feathers rolling down the hill.
In the ball I is a shield and sword, also I is not me.
Poison is whistling from a red balloon, leaking
tiny caterpillars on the rails and on the grass.

(Translated by Julija Potrč & Anthony McCann)

 

*

LETNI ČAS, LAHKO NOČ

Pomlad z visokim zidom ognja
je neopazno zajela zrak in ga spremenila
v večno budnost. Letni čas bele noči,
ki bi ga medvedi prespali izmed vseh letnih časov.
Točke, kjer so oblaki prestreljeni,
kinkajo v dihu ramen. V tem pustem mestu
ni ničesar razen ptičev in rdeče
žoge, na kateri sedim.
Pernata krogla z mano v sredini se vali po klancu.
V krogli perja sem hkrati ščit in meč, in nisem jaz.
Iz rdečega balona piska strup in pušča
male gosenice ob tračnicah in na travah.

The Poet

Barbara Pogačnik (1973), poet, translator and literary critic, graduated from Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, and completed her MA at the Sorbonne in Paris, has published four poetry books: Poplave (Inundations, 2007), V množici izgubljeni papir (Sheets of Paper Lost in the Crowd, 2008), Modrina hiše / The Blue of the House (2013) and Alica v deželi plaščev (Alice in the Land of Coats, 2016). Her poetry has appeared in reviews and anthologies in 33 languages, she has participated in more than 60 different literary festivals and manifestations all over the world. More than 150 authors have appeared in her translations from French, English, Italian, Serbian, Croatian and Spanish. She has been director of the literary festival Poetry translating poets The Azure Circle from 2007- 2010 and has been member of several literary juries, member of the board of Slovenian center PEN, and of Slovenian Writers Association.