What is the sea? The sea is a forehead.What is a forehead? A forehead is night.What is sand? Sand is the dawn.What is the dawn? The dawn is a king.A king is a clothed man.A clothed man bears a burden.What is a bag? A bag is trash.What is trash? Trash is a wheel.What is color? Color is gas.What is gas? Gas is a child.A child embraces the Bible.Break his Bible.What is to bear? To bear is delight.What is delight? Delight is Bach.What is wisdom? Wisdom is silence.What is silence? Silence is the four.The four, crossed and circled.The world is a boot stirrup.
English Copyright © 2022 by Brian Henry.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Tomaž Šalamun (1941-2014) published more than 55 books of poetry in Slovenia. Translated into over 25 languages, his poetry received numerous awards, including the Jenko Prize, the Prešeren Prize, the European Prize for Poetry, and the Mladost Prize. In the 1990s, he served for several years as the Cultural Attaché for the Slovenian Embassy in New York, and later held visiting professorships at various universities in the U.S.
Brian Henry is the author of eleven books of poetry and, most recently, the prose book Things Are Completely Simple: Poetry and Translation. He has translated Tomaž Šalamun’s Woods and Chalices, Aleš Debeljak’s Smugglers, and five books by Aleš Šteger. He co-edited Verse from 1995 to 2018. His work has received numerous honors, including two NEA fellowships, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, a Howard Foundation fellowship, a Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences grant, and the Best Translated Book Award.
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