Lives Journal 10

Erik Prunch

 

MATTHIAS AND ZALA

 

KING MATTHIAS

 

I

 

Here he sits. His elbows have dug

holes into the stone table

that hold seven buckets of tears.

Seven-times-seven-thousand.

 

The hair of his silver beard

has grown in seven-times-seven circles

around the moss-covered leg of the table

made of seven-times-seven stones.

 

V

 

The mountain rents open its innards.

With the bright sword of moonlight

it slices away the rough white crust

of its breast, hewing warm wounds

 

which resemble the flanks of a phalanx

with helmets of rusted iron

and swords cast from rigid fear,

grimly following stentorian commands.

 

 

 

MIKLOVA ZALA

 

IV

 

I return. Under

the soles of my feet

stones bloom

like red carnations.

 

My path burns – intoxicated

by the silent fire

of her presence. I cover

my eyes with the dew of darkness.

 

 

 

EPILOGUE

 

There's no way back.

Our ships aren't seaworthy.

Our flags refuse to wave.

The wind is thirsty.

 

There's no way back.

We've got to leave

the sea behind

and settle the land.

 

 

Translated by Herbert Kuhner (with Milena Merlak and Feliks J. Bister)

 

 

 

ERIK Prunch (also Erich Prunch, Klagenfurt 1941), Slovenian poet, linguist (Carinthian Slovenian language), literary historian and theoretician of translation in Austria; he published a collection of poems Still Lives (under the name Niko Darle, Klagenfurt, 1965), in which he through a »verse libre« but severely condensed poetic form originally expressed the Slovenian identity in the light of Carinthian folk mythology. (Note by editor I. A.)

 

 

 

Slovenian (gajica)

Slovenian (bohorichica)