Friday, June 29, 2007
Nguyen Duy's "Oh Stone" and John Bradley's "Bosnian Love Poem"
I stand in meditation before Ankor's ruins,
if stone can be so shattered, what of human life?
let me inscribe a plea for peace.
In the end, in every war,
whoever wins, the people always lost.
from Distant Road: Selected Poems, translated by Kevin Bowen & Nguyen Ba Chung
Thanks to John Bradley for sending me this poem. I'm finding that one of the gifts to blogging is that I'm the one who's receiving slivers of light. Here's one by John himself, from his book Terrestrial Music:
"Bosnian Love Poem" by John Bradley
--In Memory of Bosko Brckic and Admira Ismic
He was a Serb, she a Muslim.
A Muslim and Serb in love
in the city of Sarajevo.
That's all we need to know.
The Serbs say the Muslims killed them.
The Muslims say the Serbs killed them.
Both sides had agreed to let Bosko and Admira
pass on Wednesday, at 4 pm. On Wednesday, at 4 pm.,
They died, on the Vrbana Bridge.
In the zone not Muslim nor Serb.
Shot at the same time, Bosko
died first, then Admira, holding him.
For six days, no one came near.
For six days, everyone watched.
Bosko, face down. Admira, left
arm across Bosko's back.
He, a Serb, she, a Muslim, embracing.
Everything we need to know.