Lives Journal 12

Gustav Janush






I placed

a bouquet of flowers

that I had picked

Saturday evening

on the table.

I waited

but no one came.

Sunday's dusk

enveloped the room

and took

the afternoon fragrance

of the wilted flowers

with it.

I opened the window

and saw crushed leaves.






Chests and

spinning wheels

are my father's

most beloved possessions.

He keeps them

in condition

and polishes them

until they shine.

But refrigerators,

my father hates refrigerators

like nothing else in the world.





Snow fell this morning,

the first snow of the year.

In the afternoon

when I went out

I had to wear an overcoat

due to the cold.

I love snow

because it covers

the black and brown mud

of autumn

and makes everything

white and quiet.

It kills the horseflies

that sting me in summer

and transforms trees and roofs

to altars of ice.

It's only my roses

that worry me.






Everything in the paper

is black on white.

But if it's the sun, grass

or trees in the spring

you want to know about,

then put the paper aside,

come to my village

and look out the window

since everything in the paper

is black on white.


Translated by Herbert Kuhner (with Feliks J. Bister, Peter Kersche)






In the constellation of growth, I am dwelling now.


My eyes are full of the day

protecting me now

from a jump into even more

dark deepness.


I carry pictures of the wanderer in my heart.


And the abandoned gap forces me

more and more to the return,

but my shady eye,

my different window, it will stay

so long open until the wind

does change its language.



Translated by Ivo Antich





GUSTAV JANUSH (1939, Sela / Zell; Austria), a poet, translator and painter in Austrian Carinthia (the first name of the poetry of Carinthian Slovenians); German gymnasium on Pleshivec / Tanzenberg (classmate Peter Handke later translated his poems into German, and stated that Janush is the only genius known to him). After gymnasium, a short study of theology, but graduating at Pedagogical Academy in Klagenfurt became a teacher (of Slovenian, drawing, physics, chemistry) at German-Slovenian bilingual schools. »Petrarca« prize for poetry (München 1984). With a seemingly simple »realistic« expression (his own designation: »object poetry«), he concealingly satirically registers the sharpened existence feelings in a provincial environment at the border of two worlds / words; the characteristic title of his first collection of poems P(e)S(m)I (DZS, Ljubljana, 1978) indicates the concretistic coincidence of the notions of dogs / poems in Slovenian [cf. pes = dog; pesem = poem].


(note by ed. I. A.)




Slovenian (gajica)

Slovenian (bohorichica)