A Poem by Mak Dizdar Translated to Swedish and English

One of my favorite poems is Slovo o Čovjeku by Mak Dizdar. It really sums up existentialism, Zen and the nature of being a human – while at the same time filling me with the right kind of spirit and insight. Here is the poem translated by me to Swedish and English. At the end of this post you can read the original version in Bosnian.

 

Bokstav om människan

Bliven i kroppen instängd under skinnet

Drömmer du om att himmelen återkommer i flertal

Instängd i hjärnan fängslad av hjärtat

Inne i avgrunden drömmer du evigt om solen

Fängslad i ditt kött mosad i dom benen

Avståndet till himmelen

Hur att överbroa?

 

Instängd bakom revben fängslad av silver

Även när du är säll blekare än silvret

Bliven i kroppen instängd under skinnet

Drömmande om att himmelen med jorden faller på plats

Sliten ur himmelen suktar du brödet vinet

Men i hemmet ditt

När blir hemlandet?

 

Instängd i köttet fängslad i benen

Skall benen dina köttet ditt smärta

Sliten ut himmelen åtrår du brödet vinet

Stenen ó röken finns ändock åt alla

Av tvenne händer dina är ena inte din

Den ena vill den andra

Ha ihjäl?

 

Instängd i hjärnan fängslad i hjärtat

Inne i avgrunden kallar du evigt på solen

Drömmande om hur himlavalvet nalkas å flyr

Kroppen genom håg sig i fylla gungar

Inlåst i smärtans hjul

Sist eller

Först?

 

I den krets av smärta varken sist eller först

Du upprinner vissnad och din upplösning är hos maskarna

Gisslan av kroppen till graven sig för genom handling

När ska kroppen bara

Bliva handling?

 

A Letter About Man

Enclosed in your flesh enclosed in your skin

You dream that the sky returns and multiplies

Enclosed in your brain entrapped in your heart

In that dark cave you eternaly dream about the sun

Entrapped in your flesh meat crushed into these bones

The distance to the skies

How to be bridged?

 

Enclosed in your ribs entraped by silver

When your ever whiter even whiter than silver

Entrapped in your flesh enclosed under your skin

You dream of the sky merging with Earth

Uprooted from heaven you carve bread and wine

But in your home

Will your homeland be?

 

Entrapped in your flesh trapped in those bones

Your bone will gore your flesh

Uprooted from the sky you want bread and wine

Stone and smoke are there for all

Of these two arms of yours one is not yours

As if one other wants to

Wants to kill?

 

Entrapped in your brain a prisoner in your heart

In that dark cave you eternally call for the sun

You dream that the sky comes close and returns

The body through the mind whirls in drunkenness

Trapped in the wheel of suffering prisoned by your blood

In this circle of suffering

Last or

First?

 

In this circle of suffering neither last nor first

You originate decay and a feast for worms

Enslaved by your body deeds drive it to the grave

When will the body solely become?

Become a deed?

 

Slovo o Čovjeku

Satvoren u tijelu zatvoren u koži

Sanjaš da se nebo vrati i umnoži

Zatvoren u mozak zarobljen u srce

U toj tamnoj jami vječno sanjaš sunce

Zarobljen u meso zdrobljen u te kosti

Prostor taj do neba

Kako da premosti?

 

Zatvoren u rebra zarobljen od srebra

I kad si viskan bjelji ni od sebra Satvoren u tijelu zatvoren u koži

Sanjaš da se nebo sa tom zemljom složi

Otrgnut od neba žudiš hljeba vina Al u domu tvome

Kad će domovina?

 

Zatvoren u meso zarobljen u kosti

Pa će tvoje kosti tvoje meso bosti

Otrgnut od neba želiš hljeba vina

Kamena i dima samo ima svima

Od te ruke dvije tvoja jedna nije

Jedna drugu ko da

Hoće da pobije?

 

Zatvoren u mozak zarobljen u srce

U toj tamnoj jami vječno zoveš sunce

Sanjaš da se nebo približi i vrati

Tijelo se kroz vlati u pijanstvu klati

U žilište slišćen zatvoren u krvi

U tom kolu bola

Potonji il’

Prvi?

 

U tom kolu bola ni potonj ni prvi

Igrište si strvi i ročište crvi

Zaplijenjen od tijela greb za sebe djela

Kad će tijelo samo da

Postane djelo?

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