Atanas Dalchev, poems
Won’t the snow come down from the sky
like a shining white angel
at least once
to whiten the iron gutters,
to cover the asphalt boulevards?
– I don’t t think it will.
In this city, black as charcoal,
the winter will probably be back, too,
and we shall never know the angels and the
And if the snow does come one day
policemen and prostitutes
will trample it, ruthless, cruel, beneath their
and the smoke from railway stations and
will blacken its white feathers...
There will be white snow only in gardens
where children have played.
Translated from Bulgarian by Roy Macgregor-Hastie.
Roy Macgregor-Hastie is the principal verse tranlator in the English speaking world; his many books, four of them in the UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, are widely used in universities and colleges and read by idividual lovers of great poetry.
I am wandering about the street alone.
Red as the roofs, the sun spreads slowly
behind them its last glow in the West.
And fixing it with my eyes I remember.
There will be the same glow in Naples.
The windows at the top of buildings
will all be flickering as if on fire.
The whole bay of Naples will be glittering.
Like grass swaying in the evening breeze
green waves will be rolling in the harbour
and through the noise and smoke, like a herd
of cows in the evening, the boats
wallowing in the water, lowing.
People in gay clothes will be standing
on the quayside, blessing the end of day
well spent and free from care.
But I am no longer there.
There will be a glow over Paris, too.
They will be closing the Luxembourg
A trumpet call, passionate, drawing
down the darness as if summoned by those
the night falling lightly on the white trottoirs.
A crowd of children following the garden,
listening in ecstasy, happy, innocent,
to the rapturous brass call,
each one trying to get closest
to the wonderful trumpeter.
Through the wide open gates
people stream out, noisy, gay.
But I am no longer one of them.
Why can’t we be, at the same time,
both here and there – everywhere
life beats continuously and hard?
We are always dying, slowly disappearing
first from always dying, slowly disappearing
first from this place, then from another,
until we vanish altogether in the end.
Translated from Bulgarian by Roy Macgregor-Hastie
You’ve expected it for many
But the miracle is here every
See the mover passing by your
with a heavy mirror!
As he walks, the streets, the
and the fences zoom,
people come up from the shining
cars fly out in rage like birds from
Town squares start to sway,
roofs and balconies fall down,
blue skies flash.
You don’t have to wonder why
stoops and makes so slowly every
He is holding in his human hands
a whole new and amazing world.
Translated from Bulgarian by Vladimir Levchev.