Small anniversary!

Zagreb

It is today; three months to the day the first spark illuminated the Lantern … and since then so many wonderful, kind and generous souls have passed by, or stopped below the Lantern’s glow. For that I thank you with all my twinkling heart. The Lantern’s heart twinkles with, and for you all. And for all of those who may yet come to pass. Because whenever anyone finds even just a tiny flicker of solace in the Lantern’s glow, she sparkles brighter! To honour the Lantern’s origins, her Croatian roots and her love for all humanity, below is the poem after which the Lantern was named. It says it all … all that the Lantern stands for in this world of ours.

Because the Lantern now glows in an English speaking land, English translation is first, and the original follows. I have translated the poem in English today … it was an experiment and a challenge from which I have learned a great deal.

The poem ‘Gas Lantern on Gric’ (Plinska lanterna na Gricu) was panned by a Croatian poet; Vjekoslav Majer (1900 – 1975). Majer’s gas lantern stood on Gric; the old part of Zagreb. The Lantern’s background and logo are from the same place. This part of Zagreb known as the Upper Town of Gradec, (or Gric as it was called) originates from 13th century. The place has a very interesting history.

If you would like a glimpse of Zagreb as it was when Majer wrote this poem:

Gas Lantern on Gricu

Here I am;

an old-fashioned gas lantern.

Even Matos was standing below me,

cursing and despairing over this city.

Snow sweeping his raglan.

Often he would vanish

into the night cussing.

But I would only smile,

because I knew, he would return.

To stand here for a long time,

so long that his shoes freeze to the ground.

In the morning when I shrivelled and died,

city lied under me red and silent;

and I did not know whether dawn was bleeding over the hill,

or whether Matos had lost a verse by verse in snow.

Then, the war arrived.

The whole day music was screaming from the city,

Oh how sad trumpets cried against my glass!

Standing below, old Gric’s crones wept desperately,

drying their tears and staring towards Italy.

And many I knew when passing beneath, I never

saw again.

Now only rats pass through their chests.

For the first time I was ashamed of people.

After the war,

many plum gentlemen were passing by,

with fat, red necks,

and many with hunger sleeping in their faces.

Oh yes, lots of new things arrived to this city,

I know; someone will remove me too.

And when the fitter’s hand touches me,

My glass would clink for the last time.

And so you know; that would be my old, honest heart

breaking for

Gric.

Here I am;

an old-fashioned gas lantern.

************************************************************************

Plinska lantern na Gricu

Tu sam laterna plinska,

vec starinska.

Poda mnom jos je Matos stajao

I nad tim gradom zdvajao I kleo.

Snijeg je po njegovom raglanu meo.

Cesto bi kunuci nestao u noci,

a ja bih se tiho smjeskala

jer znala sam, on ce opet doci

I dugo stajati tu

Tako da mu se katkada cipele vec

primrzle k tlu.

A jutrom kada bih se smreskala

I ugasla

poda mnom grad bi lezao crven I tih;

tad nisam znala da l’ zora krvari po brijegu

ili je to Matos izgubio stih po stih

na snijegu.

Na to je dosao rat.

Cio dan su iz grada glazbe jecale.

kako su tuzno medu mojim staklima zvecale

trompete!

Babe sa Grica poda mnom su stajale,

suze brisale I zdvajale,

prema Italiji zurile.

I mnoge, koji poda mnom su bili,

nisam nikada vise vidjela.

sada im stakor prolazi kroz grudi.

Tada sam se prvi put zastidjela

Ljudi.

A nakon rata

Mnogo je debele gospode poda mnom proslo

tustoga I crvenoga vrata,

ali I lica na kojima spava glad.

Da, mnogo je toga novog doslo

u taj grad,

pa znam; I mene ce netko da makne,

i kad me se ruka montera takne

zabrencat cu jos zadnji puta muklo.

Tad znajte; to moje je staro I posteno srce

za Gricem puklo.

Tu sam laterna plinska;

starinska, starinska.

Author: Daniela

Reader, Writer, Mother, Freethinker, Habitual Day Dreamer, Blogger - Sharing Ideas, Poetry, Prose, and Conversations on the Lantern Post!

39 thoughts on “Small anniversary!”

    1. Oh you did it right, you did it so right … THANK YOU SU MUCH! Such lovely songs, it made my eyes water a bit!
      Thank you for your thoughtfulness and kindness!
      Daniela

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  1. Oh how nostalgic Daniela! Thank you for a lovely post….(hvala za divnu setnju tim dragim stepenicama….although just virtual :))
    Happy anniversary dear, wishing you many many more ….
    Love/Eclipse

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  2. Beautiful. It’s almost impossible to separate the two lanterns. It’s like the two have merged into one lantern. All the best. I am in the group that will always pass under the light of the lantern

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  3. Hi again Daniela!! I am continually amazed by your efforts. I think the thing that is SO impressive about this is the translation. Words in different languages are so difficult to manage without losing something—-Of course, I don’t read Croatian (..???) but your translation is truly magic. It doesn’t really matter if it is word for word, the meaning and the feeling come shining through. Very, very nice!
    Howard

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    1. Hi Howard,
      Thank you very much for reading and commenting. I am especially glad you commented on the actual poem because if you, as an English speaker, can understand it as a poem, find a cadence in it … then I am very, very happy. I have attempted translations before (listed in ‘poetry’ category) and it was a challenge every time. It is not possible to translate anything in word by word manner as it loses its meaning … the ‘trick’ is to translate not only words but subtleties, cadence … I fear there is a lot for me to learn.
      Kind Regards,
      Daniela

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      1. I don’t know Daniela….Like I said, I don’t read or understand Croatian (Is that the correct term for the language spoken..??) But the work that you produced is very nice indeed. And to someone who doesn’t know the original language, it doesn’t matter what the original poem said. I doubt that I will ever be fluent enough to know the difference!! The real test is what it says in my language…to me. So, you see, you have accomplished what you set out to do (I think…). To someone who knows the mother language it may be important to remain “true” to the original work…..to the rest of us, not so much so….
        Be well,
        Howard

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  4. Hi, Daniela, I have met (through poetry, not personally) many haiku poets that have gone through the wars… Oh, how writing keeps the fire burning and the life-light from going out at such times.

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    1. This is very true … those fires burn and you burn with them. Since I was a teenager I admired haiku poetry for its restrained power and delicate beauty … but was never brave enough to attempt it.
      Many thanks for reading and commenting,
      Daniela

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  5. Daniela, you are so clever. I’d never really thought about how
    difficult ttranslating is, especially poetry. You have most certainly produced a translation in which an English speaker can enjoy the cadences.

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  6. Thank you, Daniela for sharing the story of The Lantern’s origins and for the Youtube link to the old Zagreb
    How very appropriate an inspiration for your writings … that bring so much light and illumination for your grateful readers.
    May the anniversaries keep on coming !

    Like

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