Pesma 50 (Poem 50)

Vesna Cvjetićanin moved to Australia from Yugoslavia in 1990, and has recently found a great amount of expression and solace through poetry.  Vesna is currently writing a book of poems exploring her migration, identity, personal and family history, love, parenthood and the nature of life, called “15 Lines of Thoughts”.  

This poem – the 50th flowing from her pen in recent years – was written in Serbian, Vesna’s mother tongue.  See the poem in both Serbian scripts (Latin and Cyrillic), as well as an English translation (kindly provided by Vesna herself), below.


Provlačeći se kroz
mračinu zatrpane prošlosti
i žuljajući se o grube,
nezavršene zidine porodične istorije
pronalaziš fosilne ostatke
svoje genetske građevine.
Sve je u tebi,
a sve je van tebe.
Nemoćan si da spereš
ostatke generacijskog dara,
prokletog ili blagodetnog,
koji te kao najteži vonj
prate u svakom dahu, danu i koraku.
Voleo ne voleo, to si ti.
Kao i svi mi.


Провлачећи се кроз
мрачину затрпане прошлости
и жуљајући се о грубе,
незавршене зидине породичне историје
проналазиш фосилне остатке
своје генетске грађевине.
Све је у теби,
а све је ван тебе.
Немоћан си да спереш
остатке генерацијског дара,
проклетог или благодетног,
који те као најтежи воњ
прате у сваком даху, дану и кораку.
Волео не волео, то си ти.
Као и сви ми.


Wriggling and squeezing
through the dark alleys of your past
and scraping against the rough,
unfinished walls of your family ruins,
you’re discovering the fossils
hiding your genetic code.
Everything is within you,
and everything is outside of you.
You’re unable to shake off or rinse out
the remnants of your generational heritage,
which, either cursed or blessed,
follow you like a heavy bodily odour
in every one of your breaths, steps and moves.
Like it or hate it, it is you.
Just like it’s all of us.

© Vesna Cvjetićanin, 2014