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Macedonian writers -- Slavko Janevski
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Slavko JanevskiBorn in Skopje in 1920. Studied at the College of Technology. Member of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Writes poetry, short stories, and novels, several volumes of each genre. Has been translated into Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, Romanian, Czech, Italian, Russian, English, Hungarian, Albanian, Turkish, German, French, Polish, and Esperanto. Winner of several prizes.

Looking for an Answer

It left his skin on a stone
and turned into stone. A viper.
It grunted from rifle shots
and turned into mist. A wild boar.
It washed its eyes in foam
and turned into a sigh. Day.
In the village of Vraži Dol
Old father Time has sat down on a stone
and on his fingers
of wisdom
how many drops of blackberry wine are needed
to prolong his life.
You can ask yourself and still you won't know:
Does time die with man?


This race,
this wonderful race!
Here it kisses the hangman
with a golden noose round its neck;
here for a fistful of mulberries
it fights to the blood with a brother;
here it gets drunk with a rage,
foaming at the mouth,
here it plucks the live heart
from a dove.
This race,
this wonderful race!
In its furrows
under the sun awakens
a flower with a biblical name:
Mother-of God's-heart.

Threesome Dance

Let's go and dance a little,
Death, you and me.
He'll dig a well,
you, with the well's bucket
will haul up my blood.
Death will sow tranquillity,
you'll water the tranquillity,
I'll harvest the bones for you.
I'll gather them into a heap,
I'll knit them together,
and while I still have one
I'll lock up my heart in them.
Death will take a ruby from it,
place the ruby in your hands,
you will strike my head with it.
Death above the stone,
you on the stone,
I under the stone;
you and he before the altar,
I a wedding guest in finery
underneath the altar.
When we've danced our fill
we'll part again.
Each by his own mill
to be ground down tomorrow.

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