A Poem by Mak Dizdar Translated to Swedish and English

One of my favorite poems is Slovo o Čovjeku (A Letter About Man) by Mehmedalija 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 eternally 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 entrapped 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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