Inspiration to make paintings of poems was born one summer when I visited my friend Fred. On his balcony with beautiful view on see after we had some grilled fish and red wine, he started reading the poems of his famous father (poet Nikola Drenovac). First he read in Serbian, than in English. I was listening with admiration in complete silence.

A possibility or frustration to translate even an common sentence in different language, that is my everyday struggle. To translate a poem...you have to be a poet yourself and than to have knowledge of language, fascinating. To make it all sound so easy...as if everybody else could have done it.

Painting a poem was a very interesting challenge.

I am grateful to Fred for my paintings and for his translations of some of my favorite poems!

 

Were It Not For Your Eyes

The Dress

On a Winter Day

Doe's Prayer

Colour of Your Touch

 

 

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Were It Not For Your Eyes


Were it not for your eyes
There wouldn’t be a sky
In our small apartment

Were it not for your laughter
Walls would never
Fade away in your eyes
Were it not for your nightingales
Willows would never
Gently cross your threshold

Were it not for your hands
The sun would never
Spend the night in our dreams


Očiju tvojih da nije

 

Očiju tvojih da nije
Ne bi bilo neba
U malom našem stanu

Smeha tvoga da nema
Zidovi ne bi nikad
Iz očiju nestajali
Slavuja tvojih da nije
Vrbe ne bi nikad
Nežno preko tvoga praga prešle

Ruku tvojih da nije
Sunce ne bi nikad
U snu našem prenoċilo
 


Vasko Popa


(Translated from the Serbian. Translation © Slobodan Drenovac)

 

 

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The Dress

 

Nobody sees your hands on it

When I walk down the street

 

Nobody sees your fingers on it

When I come back home

 

The small button is sewed on anew

And all dreams buttoned high up to the neck

 

I take this dress off gently

I put this dress on gingerly

 

For me it has the power of magic

And I’d like so much for everybody

To see your hands on it.

 

 

 

Haljina

 

Niko ne vidi na njoj tvoje ruke

Kada prolazim ulicom

 

Niko ne vidi na njoj tvoje prste

Kad je vratim kući

 

Maleno dugme je opet ušiveno

I zakopčani svi snovi visoko do vrata

 

Ja ovu haljinu nežno skidam

Ja ovu haljinu pažljivo oblačim

 

Ona za mene moć mađije ima

Volela bih da tvoje ruke na njoj

Mogu da pokažem svima

 

 

Mira Alečković

 

(Translation © Slobodan Drenovac)

 

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On a Winter Day

 

Snow fell softly all day long

Like blossoms from a fruit-tree.

Ah, tonight I would like, ah, how glad I’d be

Somewhere far and away to flee,

Somewhere far and away through the petals of snow

Like a fluffy butterfly

To whisper to someone love’s tender word

Warm, beautiful, new, that others have rarely heard.

 

All through twilight, snow silently falls

Drowsy and thick.

Tonight there’s someone I’d be glad to see,

But he’s not here. The road is empty a long time now

Only the snowflakes flutter and fly

To white ground under the pale sky.

Ah, how hurtful when someone does not come,

Someone you are waiting for, as darkness descends.

 

 

 

U zimski dan

 

Celoga je dana sneg lagano pado

Kao s voćki cvet.

O, kako večeras, o kako bih rado

Odletela nekud daleko u svet,

Nekuda daleko kroz cvetove snežne,

Kao leptir lak

I nekome htela reći reči nežne,

Tople, lepe, nove, kakve ne zna svak.

 

I sutona celog sneg je tiho pado

Umoran i gust.

Večeras bih nekog ugledala rado,

Ali njega nema. Put je davno pust

Samo s bledog neba beloj zemlji sleću

Pahulje kroz zrak.

O, kako je bolno kad ti doći neće

Neko koga čekas, a spušta se mrak.

 

Desanka Maksimović

 

(Translated from the Serbian. Translation © Slobodan Drenovac)

 

 

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Doe's Prayer

 

Facing east

a doe kneels under a pine

utters the prayer of beasts,

voiceless.

 

Eyes red

with daybreak splendour

blind to every tree

to everything around,

to the lake, even to me.

 

Thousands of centuries He built

her towering shrine,

sculpted its columns himself

He, the Divine.

 

Over bare rock a bed

of moss He did prepare

so the doe had where

to impart her prayer.

 

 

Facing east

she prays with head high

for pines to grow erect,

for winters to be mild,

for new trees to sprout

where old ones will die,

for the water in the lake

to never run dry,

 

for dawns to glitter and for

lightning to spare the replanted earth

Facing east,

she prays for her hearth.

 

And from all the pine’s bark,

scents of incense and resin

come from the woodland’s shrine,

and as she prays a candle burns

in the hand of the Divine.

 

 

Srnina molitva

 

Istoku okrenuta,

srna pod borom kleči,

moli se molitvom zverinja,

bez reči.

 

Od jutarnjeg sjaja

oči su joj crvene,

ne vide oko sebe ništa,

ni okolno drveċe,

ni jezero, ni mene.

 

Hiljadu je vekova dizao

njen visoki hram,

vajao stubove u njemu,

Gospod sam.

 

Mahovinom je zastro

kamen goli,

da bi srna imala

gde da se moli.

 

 

Istoku okrenuta,

moli se glave dignute

da borovi pravo rastu,

da zime ne budu ljute,

da drvo novo nikne

na mestu gde staro se osuši,

da u jezeru voda

nikada ne presuši,

 

da jasne budu zore,

da šumu mimoilazi grom.

Istoku okrenuta,

moli se za svoj dom.

 

I svud iz borove kore,

kroz šume hram,

mirišu tamnjan i smola.

I dok se moli, sveċu

drži joj Gospod sam.

 

 

Desanka Maksimović

 

(Translation © Slobodan Drenovac)

 

 

 

 

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Colour of your touch

 

This small and powerful poem and translation I've received from Fred together with few other translations. This one is from my wife, he said, it is small but I like it very much.
Poem was an inspiration for Mladen who made my first site. It is a very beautiful peace of art, you can admire...(link)

 

 

Of all colors
I love most
the color of your touch…

 

Ja od svih boja
najviše volim boju
tvoga dodira…

 

Dragica Torić-Drenovac



(translation from Croatian into English by Slobodan Drenovac)

 


 

Colour of your touch

60x60

 


There are some few more poems for me to paint...waiting for the right moment of inspiration.

 

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