The Return

Antun Branko Šimić
Translated from the Croatian by Courtney Angela Brkic

You do not even sensethat I have returned and am near at handAt night when the silent moon murmurs in your earknow:it is not the moon circling your houseI am wandering on the blue paths of your garden.When walking on the road in the dead noon lightyou stop,frightened by the cry of a strange birdknow:that was my heart’s call from the near banksAnd when you see some shadow move in the twilightfrom the far side of the dark, silent waterknow:I am walking, proud and exultantas if beside you.

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Antun Branko Šimić (1898-1925) was born in Herzogovina and led a difficult life, dying of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-seven in Zagreb. Only one collection of his work was published in his lifetime, but it paved the way for much of contemporary Croatian poetry. Initially influenced by German expressionism, he quickly found his own voice. Though apparently cold and rational, his poetry is deeply passionate, and much concerned with physicality, God and death. He wrote numerous articles, polemical works and essays, and helped to found several literary magazines. Sabrana Djela (Selected Works) was published posthumously in 1960.

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Courtney Angela Brkic is the author of The First Rule of Swimming (Little, Brown, and Company, 2013), Stillness: and Other Stories (FSG, 2003) and The Stone Fields (FSG, 2004). Her work has also appeared in Guernica, Zoetrope, The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, Harpers & Queen, the Utne Reader, National Geographic, and among others. Her translations of A. B. Simic have appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation. Brkic has been the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Whiting Writer’s Award. She lives outside of Washington, DC, with her husband and children, and teaches in the MFA program at George Mason University.

Cover of Modern Poetry in Translation 2001 New Series 18

New Series No. 18 - 2001


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