or A Wanderer’s Song
Since I am a stranger, since I am a guest,Bury me in the Potter’s Field, that which is calledThe field of blood. Here is calculatedThe utility of a kiss on a beardedCheek, by night, beneath the olives,In the smoky light of torch and legend.He who lies there will lie foreverBetween the hanged and the crucifiedAnd moulder in frightful balance.Bury me in the Potter’s Field,Because it was bought, in the words of the book,To bury strangers in. Wayfarers, roversLay claim to it: those who seekPeace in movement, security in rootlessness,Are otherwise suspicious, and usually keepTheir silence, if not always about the same;Their shadows are dusty from the roadAnd a little denser than most—So bury me with my shadow:The weeds will grow blacker in the Potter’s Field.
from The Passionate MeasureAnvil, 1989Copyright © Ivan V Lalic 1989Translation copyright © Francis R Jones 1989
poetry is sometimes regarded as a second-hand or inferior form of
poetry, but in the hands of an imaginative translator as close to the
poet and the poetry as is Francis Jones, one feels that the poems might
well have been written originally in English. And Lalic himself, a
Serbian with idiomatic English who translated a lot of English poetry
into Serbian, thought that Jones's translations were a perfect mirror of
This poem is from what is possibly Lalic's finest
collection, published in Jones's translation in 1989. It needs no
comment and is a good example of Lalic's marvellous work. He was born in
1931 and died in 1996. Anvil hopes to publish his Collected Poems in English in 2008.
Anvil Press Poetry was founded in 1968 and publishes English-language poetry and poetry in translation, both classic and modern.