I sharpened knives all night

A striking flash of verse by the acclaimed Serbian poet Radmila Lazic (1949-).

radalazic

“Love”

I sharpened knives
All night.
To welcome you
In the brilliance of their blades,
And among them,
My love sparkles
For your eyes only.

Translated by Charles Simic 

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Happy heart, what heavy steps you take

Photo of poet Charles Simic courtesy of Philip Simic

“Evening Walk”  by Charles Simic (1938-)

You give the appearance of listening
To my thoughts, O trees,
Bent over the road I am walking
On a late summer evening
When every one of you is a steep staircase
The night is slowly descending.

The high leaves like my mother’s lips
Forever trembling, unable to decide,
For there’s a bit of wind,
And it’s like hearing voices,
Or a mouth full of muffled laughter,
A huge dark mouth we can all fit in
Suddenly covered by a hand.

Everything quiet. Light
Of some other evening strolling ahead,
Long-ago evening of silk dresses,
Bare feet, hair unpinned and falling.
Happy heart, what heavy steps you take
As you follow after them in the shadows.

The sky at the road’s end cloudless and blue.
The night birds like children
Who won’t come to dinner.
Lost children in the darkening woods.

Who sees the world with his heart

From Master of Disguises by Charles Simic (1938-):

Picture of Charles Simic's Master of Disguises

 

 

 

 

 

“The Elusive Something”

Was it in the smell of freshly baked bread
That came out to meet me in the street?
The face of a girl carrying a white dress
From the cleaners with her eyes half closed?

The sight of a building blackened by fire
Where once I went to look for work?
The toothless old man passing out leaflets
For a clothing store going out of business?

Or was it the woman pushing a baby carriage
About to turn the corner? I ran after,
As if the little one lying in it was known to me,
And found myself alone on a busy street

I didn’t recognize, feeling like someone
Out for the first time after a long illness,
Who sees the world with his heart,
Then hurries home to forget how it felt.