Lives Journal 14

Lev Detela





(Ho onos)


It might be that donkey

on a steep bend of a dusty road

just escaped from Borges's book

of fantastic zoological stories


A sharp sunstroke

closed my eyes

so I see it deep inside my own interior

spiritually and duplicately


It's definitely that Borges's donkey

with three legs and nine muzzles

which due to constant wars

ran from the middle of the ocean

here to the supposed lull of an ancient island

and came from easy rain into the storm


Diligent donkey

which keeps a herd of thousands of sheep


Righteous donkey

its food is spirit

its mud is like the sunglowing amber


It's a famous donkey

but poor donkey

which on its back

brings to the acropolis of the ancient sea gods

hundred kilograms weight

of a profligate stout tourist from Kiel







I woke up and noticed myself

in torn seams of cognition

on a film screen between flocks of flying fish

and singing fast dolphins

on a trip with a rashackle ship

to the old island with a high plane-tree


The sea is pulsing

like my heart

waves thump against the stern

and they spill all over the deck


I'm restless

because there is still no coast

with generously chirping birds

and the seductive scent of hospitable girls

in the vineyard of ripe grapes


Many have died

before they found the lost island

of giddy happiness

with a well of living water

that would quench the thirst

of their poor souls


Is this called Justice?





(He skia)


You will dream of a mountain sea

oleander blue bird above the shore

rhododendron and thyme

cypress and stone pine

and olive good scented olive

in the middle of a scorching hot day


But in vain

there is no olive tree in the land of shadows

neither its shadow

to cool the burning sorrow

in our sick souls






A deadly enemy

is already on the roof

the windows are thrown open

everything is done as it should be

but television and a lady minister

unfortunately have not arrived yet

however we wait we wait

we are waiting politely

and we are not afraid

as they will jump

they will jump down here

they will really jump


Vienna, March 2020






Really nothing dangerous,

Mr. Doctor.

Just a few fogs

between the leaves and the grass.


Really nothing special

is that rusty wedge

in the rib of time,

Mr. Doctor.


It doesn't hurt at all,

Mr. Doctor.

We are disease free.

You can leave us alone.


Vienna, April 2020





Jorge Luis Borges, an internationally renowned Argentinean writer, has created some fantastic artistic visions from the world of mythologies and ancient lexicographies, whose pseudoscientific language perfectly addresses one of the dilemmas of contemporary art that has found itself unsecured by science. My poem Donkey comes from the encounter with donkeys carrying tourists on their backs to the ruins of the famous ancient acropolis over Lindos on Rhodes, but at the same time refers to the Borges's story The three-legged donkey, published in Manual de zoologia fantastica, Mexico, Buenos Aires 1957. In the first annual of the Trieste magazine Most, in 1964, I published my own translation of that Borges's text, along with a translation of his another fantastic zoological story, The Spherical Animal. To my knowledge, these are the first translations of Borges's literature into Slovenian. (note by author)



Translated from Slovenian by Ivo Antich



Slovenian (gajica)

Slovenian (bohorichica)