Posts tagged ‘Ljubljana’

15/06/2013

A Balkan Street Scene

 

For several years the street seemed old,

The tired shopfronts never changed.

They clung nostalgic to a time

Of paint and flowers, songs and life.

 

The woman in the orange dress

Has sold her paintings since things changed.

Back then she couldn’t paint enough,

But now her days just pass her by.

 

The men – the three who barely move –

Observe the street and how it’s changed.

They raise their cups to passing girls:

They judge and drink but rarely speak

 

Today is sunny, tomorrow rains,

The street’s the same, the street has changed.

 

 

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05/06/2013

A Week in Slovenia (Part 6 – With the Swallows of the Sky)

 

1. A Mountain Pass

 

The poetry is closing in

And trapping words in limestone blue.

In mountain forests, catching clouds,

Words lose meanings, clouds lose rain.

 

The air is pulled through lips and teeth:

It bites the throat, it takes a road

Of sunlit snow through mountain tops.

The sounds may form, the thoughts will not.

 

How will I find a voice for this,

This pass which crosses through the peaks?

It used to be the only way,

Now purposeless its tracks are still.

 

As evening gathers clouds and flow

We hear the night birds call the snow.

 

 

2. The Impossible Swallows of Mount Razor

 

Against the backdrop of these cliffs

The swallows seem impossible.

As morning lights the highest peaks,

The swallows swirl and dance the more.

 

Because we know all this will end

We breathe the pollen scent of trees,

Make crystal memories of streams:

We try to find the solid ground.

 

Too soon the wings will fold and furl.

We’re living in the past again:

The passing through, the sleepless dreams.

We’ll stare at walls and hear the calls.

 

I close my eyes, there’s nothing there

But mountain birds in mountain air.

 

 

3. Ljubljana Airport

 

So this is where it all begins

(And for all that, it’s where it ends).

The spirit drifters check on through

To other times, to brand new lives.

 

The Forest Man is watching planes:

He has his papers and his pass.

You see the girl who shifts and frets?

She can’t believe she won’t be back.

 

You see the woman dressed in grey?

Her mysteries mean so little now.

She longs for shadows, hugs the wall.

The angel at her shoulder weeps.

 

A palimpsest of all who pass:

This stone and steel is first and last.

 

 

 

4. Sky Layers

 

The edge of air lays curved and dark:

An empty hell of frozen lungs.

Above the highest birds and planes:

A point where science fiction ends.

 

Beneath the earth-rim, filters fade

The black of space – a lighter grey.

It sucks the clouds up from below:

Their hazing emptiness is filled.

 

Then further down through mists, the clouds

Begin congealing, blowing knots,

And twist themselves in rain and storms:

There, where light and silence stops.

 

And last – inconsequential – lies

The thinnest layer, the layer of lives.

 

 

02/06/2013

A Week in Slovenia (Part 2 – Overheard Tales)

 

1.  The Angel and the Buzzard

 

Above the Ljubljana plain

A buzzard wheels, then tips its wings,

Its eyes fixated on a point

Where, in the grass, a halo glints.

 

The angel fell to earth in search

Of Jason and the golden fleece.

Instead he found a world of fear:

A mythless world of worthless wealth.

 

The buzzard lands: it speaks no word.

The angel and the buzzard stare

Into each others’ eyes, and know

They come from better worlds than this.

 

The angel nods, then leaves this world.

The buzzard screams for all it’s worth.

 

 

2. The Forest Man

 

Beneath his canopy of pine –

Far deeper than his stands of beech –

The forest man is moving rocks:

He’s building walls around his tales.

 

His beard: a twist of ivy fronds.

His mind: a mass of histories gone.

He plants his feet with sapling oaks,

He carves the tunes of violins.

 

His walls are taller than before.

They hide the world of dragon’s teeth,

Of golden chamois, witch’s curse,

But still the forest man builds on.

 

He knows our world has lost its myths.

He’ll keep his stories safely hid.

 

 

3. The Shadow Figures of the Vrsic Pass

 

I took the high road through the pass.

The rain and mist whisped round the pine,

Above the trees the clouds touched earth:

I saw the shadow figures there.

 

I moved towards them, they withdrew.

The shadow figures knew the tracks:

They knew them like the hazel grouse.

They padded lightly with the lynx.

 

I saw their faces briefly there:

Beyond the rock face, glaring down.

I saw their questions, wild and raw,

With human eyes and shadow souls.

 

The mists soon closed the Vrsic Pass:

The shadow figures melted back.

 

 

4. The Once Great Dragons

 

Of course the dragons are still here:

What else could make a mountain shake?

What other creature barks at night,

And turns the forest tops to steam?

 

Their fear lives deep within the woods

And writes itself on cavern walls.

Their scales are found on river beds,

Their teeth and claws still scour the land.

 

And in the dark you hear them prowl

The village margins seeking blood.

Their rumbling feet, primeval growls,

Will haunt your sleeping, drifting hours.

 

The dragons curl in caves and cry:

They once were myths, but now they’re lies.

 

 

With thanks to Maja and Luka.