Lives Journal 4

Lev Detela




The Boy with Seven Fingers


This night brings forth deformed births:

Sheeps with five legs

wolves with three heads

and the most beautiful boy with seven fingers.

Such a boy, it is said, is no phantom of night

but rather is truth of flesh and blood

which lives and moves in our midst

and shows our true face.

Beneath yellowed paper we slowly vanish,

gradually one sees: we are dirt,

yet our child, the extraordinary boy with seven fingers

is glowing above us

and shows the true image of essence and things.





The Great Gobbler

CZSSR 1968


Our gobbler gobbles everything down!

Spoon, knife, plate and table.

Sometimes he gobbles the tent, on Sunday the loveliest church.

He canīt gobble enough of our forests.

Often I watch him digest:

His jaws crush rocks and iron,

cannons, horses and submarines.

On the highest holidays they crush

whole states and even great nations.

Our gobbler devours and devours,

always on the march.

His appetite is good and never sated.

No bite is so large that it chokes him.



Translated from Slovenian by Harriett Watts





Sugar and the Whip


Sugar foams in time and in sweet water,

sugar is different time and different water,

it flows off, ceases to be and becomes salt,

but new sugar joins it.


Human years pass,

the skeleton is left and speaks: This is how it was.

We cracked whips in the stream

as the sugar flowed into the ocean.


The sugar surrounds marvelous islands

which canīt be seen from the mainland.

During storms we hear the crack of whips,

the meaning of life is cut in two.



Translated from Slovenian by Herbert Kuhner




Slovenian (gajica)

Slovenian (bohorichica)