At this year's festival Days of Poetry of Wine, taking place each year in Ptuj, we asked participating poets to choose one of their favorite poems and recite it for us in its original language. Nikola Madžirov, one of the most highly praised European poets (recently billed one of the three best European poets at a reading in the Royal festival Hall in London), chose his poem 'I don't know'. He chose it because it is 'a poem that answers all the questions when he keeps silent'.

by Nikola Madžirov

Distant are all the houses I am dreaming of,
distant is the voice of my mother
calling me for dinner, but I run toward the fields of wheat.

We are distant like a ball that misses the goal
and goes toward the sky, we are alive
like a thermometer that is precise only when
we look at it.

The distant reality every day questions me
like an unknown traveler who wakes me up in the middle of the journey
saying Is this the right bus?,
and I answer Yes, but I mean I don't know,
I don't know the cities of your grandparents
who want to leave behind all discovered diseases
and cures made of patience.

I dream of a house on the hill of our longings,
to watch how the waves of the sea draw
the cardiogram of our falls and loves,
how people believe so as not to sink
and step so as not to be forgotten.

Distant are all the huts where we hid from the storm
and from the pain of the does dying in front of the eyes of the hunters
who were more lonely than hungry.

The distant moment every day asks me
Is this the window? Is this the life? and I say
Yes, but I mean I don't know, I don't know if
birds will begin to speak, without uttering A sky.

Translated by
Peggy and Graham W. Reid,
Magdalena Horvat and Adam Reed

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