Ivan Dobnik



For Marko Cestnik


Translucence of horizon, waves that hurl forward,

postcard’s message, quivering flame of the sun’s last gaze:

»I devote time to myself, I remain, I remain

with evening light which purifies river

and human soul, the uncertain

repository of unrepeatable states,

wherever I am.«  Pemaquid Point Lighthouse,

New Harbor, Maine. Sun already setting,

you, with salty feet, explore

wind, memory, and the still living presence

of your dead father, you write me that summer’s at its zenith.

Places where I’ve been, caresses of sweet-scented rooms,

Besançon, 1996. I breathe you, I think you,

I dream and drink you. Even car noise

on highway Ljubljana-Maribor is music,


new temples of our time are a gift

to books. Ripening fruit. Landscape,

as it was forty years ago, the smell of horses

in a pasture, of the painter’s unfinished canvases

of rustic nudes, autumns were chilly then,

the stars silent, I was still, charmed,

filled with a warmth that glowed from the wilderness.

Cities fill with blood, time and again,

with violence, no one listens to dreams, which as a rule

we know not what to do with, here as gifts

for the wakeful. And the lake which hides the voice,


the slinking leopard’s gait on suburbia’s

playground, wherever, surfaces change,

snow falls, seagulls on the Île de Molene have returned

safely from the Channel. I look back to the continent,

silent, biblical, heathen,

from calm of the Yellow House. I do not dream

during intense sleep. Fiercest reality

returns me to birth, self, so that I may

love you with the labour of silence, gaze,

weightlessness. From night’s distant glint

of lighthouses. Then, simplicity of the Mediterranean,

on a Greek island: even there, among the ruins

of a great people, where you sought dark eyes

and the sky, to lift you up, to levitate.


Here summer ends. I will not depart.

Nor will you, living on a shore that spills over.

To depart, to return, all

that remains certain: our words,

notes, letters, taste of smoked

tea in the forest, sunrises

that warm our airy friends.

Vintgar. Grapa: the eye of light

in which we write, these are condensations of our complete

surrender, a path so branched

it ramifies out into the past, inhabits

a vastness traversed

only by writing, for the wave of emotion

cannot settle in one form,


nor can all words fulfill

desire for the Moment: we sail for the sake of sailing.

Live long. The apple trees in the orchard are

gone, the riverbeds, pheasants’ hiding places,

buried in the soil. The blue sky, so absent.

Here, where everything seems larger, it is August.

Everything. Nothing I have is mine. It vanishes

for numerous notebooks, for the fleetness

which dispossesses us of the material, therefore,

of the stuff dreams are made, to keep us pure for the future.

It is afternoon. Lull. Sunbeams flicker:

where does the voice take me? I shall remain where I am,

omnipresent. »A shore, so picturesque!«, you say.

Rustle of Ocean, of jumbling visions, amazement,

the long letter, a seaworn pebble in the palm,

what transforms shapes, opens up sinewy

trackless expanses. And above all this, a lighthouse.


 (Translation by Mia Dintinjana)