Daily Lament

Today on my way to work I passed by a man sitting on the pavement cross-legged. The morning was cold and frost glittered in the window panes. His back was pressed against the wall. Face hidden inside the hood, hands squeezed in the pockets. Next to a small cap, large, hand-written cardboard note read: ‘Destitute and desolate, living in a night shelter, any help appreciated’. I passed by … embarrassed – for us both.  And the whole day the sight of the man rested in my vision. In the evening it brought me to Tin Ujevic and his poem (translated from Croatian) below:

Daily Lament

How hard it is not to be strong,

How hard it is to be alone,

And to be old, yet to be young!

And to be weak, and powerless,

Alone, with no one anywhere,

Dissatisfied, and desperate.

And trudge bleak highways endlessly,

And to be trampled in the mud,

With no star shining in the sky.

Without your star of destiny

To play its twinkling’s on your crib

With rainbows and false prophecies.

– Oh God, oh God, remember all

The glittering fair promises

With which you have afflicted me.

Oh God, oh God, remember all

The great loves, the great victories,

The wreaths of laurel and the gifts.

And know you have a son who walks

The weary valleys of the world

Among sharp thorns, and rocks and stones,

Through unkindness and unconcern,

With his feet bloodied under him,

And with his heart an open wound.

His bones are full of weariness,

His soul is ill at ease and sad,

And he’s neglected and alone,

And sisterless, and brotherless,

and fatherless, and motherless,

With no one dear, and no close friend,

And he has no-one anywhere

Except thorn twigs to pierce his heart

And fire blazing from his palms.

Lonely and utterly alone

Under the hemmed in vault of blue,

On dark horizons of high seas.

Whom can he tell his troubles to

When no-one’s there to hear hues call,

not even brother wanderers.

Oh God, you sear your burning word

Too hugely through this narrow throat

And throttle it inside my cry.

And utterance is a burning stake,

Though I must yell it out, I must,

Or, like a kindled log, burn out.

Just let me be a bonfire on

A hill, just one breath in the fire,

If not a scream hurled from the roofs.

Oh God, let it be over with,

This miserable wandering

Under a vault as deaf as stone.

Because I crave a powerful word,

Because I crave an answering voice,

Someone to love, or holy death.

For bitter is the wormwood wreath

And deadly dark the poison cup,

So burn me, blazing summer noon.

For I am sick of being weak,

And sick of being all alone

(seeing I could be hale and strong)

and seeing that I could be loved),

But I am sick, sickest of all

To be so old, yet still be young!

It is a start -:)!

After much reading, thinking and deliberating about blogging, I have finally decided to try it! So yes this is my very first attempt at blogging and I am hoping to make it a regular feature of my life.

I am writing from a city that has been described as ‘the coolest little capital in the world’ and to which I have arrived only recently. It is Wellington of course, at the bottom on New Zealand’s North Island.

New Zealand became my home some 18 years ago when I was ‘transplanted’ here from a beautiful little country in the Central Europe that stretches from glorious mountains to the most picturesque sea shore you can imagine … but that is the whole another story, a story that, with the help of this blog, may one day find its way out of my memories and land on the paper, (God knows it has been trying long enough -:).

But in my ‘adopted country’ (who adopted who -:?) I have lived in the middle of a North Island, then South Island and now again North Island … in between there have been a stint of some two years in a another wonderful European country … well some people may call that restless, or unsettled, but I rather think of it as courage’s, and curious … and of course a little bit crazy -:)!

Amongst those wonderings I lived through one war, raised one wonderful child, studied, worked, loved and lost … grieved and was grieved for … never far from hope, never far from a spark of life … that illuminates darkness like a shooting star on the summer sky. Oh life, glorious life in all its forms, all its beauties, and tragedies … and so this little corner is both; mine and about me … as Dostoevsky wrote so long ago; ‘I can see the sun, but even if I cannot see the sun, I know that it exists. And to know that the sun is there – this is living.’

And I never ceased to believe that it is indeed so, even when life resembled barren desert and there was so little to believe in. But alas if we do not struggle through life deserts, how could we ever rejoice in its oasis’ … and so here I am; turning light on in my lantern to illuminate way and help me find my voice in English, language I knew nothing about when I first reached these shores in the waste ocean of South Pacific, but which is now almost the only tool left to me to forge my words with. Still; I have not forgotten, and neither can or wish to, my language, my first country, or people … one day I may find them again … or they may find me.

During the sharp and serious hours of day light, I am rather engaged in shuffling papers in one of those institutions, great Russian novelist Gogol described so aptly; ‘In the department of … the touchiest things in the world are departments, regiments, courts of justice, in a word, all branches of public service. Therefore, in order to avoid all unpleasantness, it will be better to designate the department in question, as a certain department.’ But once serious business of the day has ended and another daily crust earned, a cloak is taken off and lantern lit … all is possible!

If you stumble upon this blog, either by chance or design, write to me … lift the pebble in the endless cyber space!