Tomaž Šalamun


[At the edge of the field there stands a village]

At the edge of a field there stands a village.
On this sofa I will die alone.

               Translated from the Slovenian by Ana Jelnikar and Peter Richards


burn like a stem, child, kill yourself.
Destroy yourself as a gentle sign of spring,
a boat, undo your belt.                    

Let the horses swim, the beasts, 
sleep inflight, the door
and the ground, flash,
white birches, named.

Stop flowing, Soča, Sava,
pull out, roots,
undo yourself, sea, undo yourself.

Swallow, light, the mouth of your mother,
to be with you like a cloud. Sleep.

                Translated from the Slovenian by Phillis Levin and Tomaž Šalamun



Bread, devoured by an attorney, stands upright.
There are no apricots in the buckets.
The adopted son sails, the boat chews,

we’re all in the whiteness of coupling.
The jug is broken, although it’s not. Out of a crunch,
out of a sweetly screened veil the fruit

falls. One should find a huge
airplane to make you do what you
announced you would do on the corner of

Šubic Street. Candies suffer. The peel is hurt. 
And when you lean on a boat – gravy—
do all parts get enough blood?

Baseball glove. A hand on a doe
and on a clock. Dew and a cobweb and a brocade
across the valley, across everything that boils

and glimmers. You would often lick me. 
Even if the wind blew. It dries
the evaporation from both of us, if I cheer you up.

            Translated from the Slovenian by Peter Richards and the author



I’ve heard the voice of
the Kabbalah:
o father,
I have a hole in my socks,
as you yourself in olden days,
when you soaped your heels,
but it didn’t help.

Shoes destroyed cotton
in the olden days,

            Translated from the Slovenian by Joshua Beckman and the author


The Dew

I, who wants to knead thoroughly, to get
numb, to stiffen, to roll into the flag, 

to burn the flag. Then in the coach open
the window. What bends from a gust                             

of wind? Where are sparks? Where is Garamond
the custom to incise Our Father, 

give us this day our daily bread, into the wood
with a white-hot needle. The moss

changed. It has a mane now. Shining
burst the reins. Time captured

the friend into his heart. To drown one’s
own heart. Again to wait, to wait. 

To run to the edge of the woods. 
To tick windows in the train.

              Translated from the Slovenian by Michael Thomas Taren and the author