To a dead demonstrator

Photo by Corey Agopian on Unsplash

My father was a poet and journalist. He suffered a lot during WWII. Almost all his friends and all his brothers died young during those horrible years. He was taken prisoner first by the Italian Fascists and years later by the Communists. And all because he was against racism and dictatorships and was very clear about that in his newspaper. Once, he wrote a poem to a dead demonstrator, a dear friend who went to the streets with all his noble ideals and hopes for a better world and never returned home.
Dad wrote the following in tears. I hope that my poor translation won’t damage too much his beautiful thoughts and words.

The asphalt was saturated with voices, with new poetry,
full of future.
But the young and robust death ran to redeem
the trivial and tired life.

My friend, you were hurrying and shouting, looking
for the light that you carried in your adolescent hopes.
But the afternoon prepared the treacherous nets
of the secret nights howled by defeat.

Who remembers now your extinguished eyes
that veiled fear and cold,
when dawn picked up, hurt and dead figures
painted with fingers of shame and anger?

When you left your childhood solitude,
the cries of the infinite followed you
exploding in the sidewalks.
But when you fell mute and shattered,
no one was in the square seduced by horrors.

Goodbye, my young friend, see you soon.
You did not believe that people free are always alone.
Silence knows neither the syntax nor the laws
(jailers of frankness)
but creates immense internal landscapes,
full of millions of contours and colors.

Luka Brajnović


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