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Basic Wisdoms

osnovne modrosti
by Tone Škrjanec
Translated from Serbian by
Ana Pepelnik & Matthew Rohrer
Issue 29 Online Exclusive

so rekli da ni časa
da je prostor premajhen
da voda žge
da lasje slišijo drugače kot ušesa in koža
da stvari niso dovolj ploske
da telesa niso vedno pravilno zaobljena
da zato potrebujemo vse te nevidne srebrne niti
da denar ni ne vprašanje ne odgovor so dodali
da so ženske vseepovsod
da je tako že od časa prvih trav
in da so le redki tisti rdeči listi
ki prosevajo svetlobo.

they said there’s no time
that the place is too small
that the water burns
that the hair hears differently than ears and skin
that things aren’t flat enough
that bodies aren’t always correctly rounded
that we therefore need all these invisible silver threads
that money isn’t the question or the answer, they added
that women are everywhere
that it has been like that since the time of first grasses
and that there are only a few red leaves
which the light can shine through.

Tone Škrjanec, the noted poet and translator, was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1953 and is widely regarded as belonging to the literary vanguard of his generation. He graduated in Sociology from the University of Ljubljana, had a short career as a teacher, and worked as a journalist for ten years. Since 1990 he has been a program coordinator at the Cultural Centre KUD France Prešeren in Ljubljana.
Ana Pepelnik is a poet and translator who was born in Slovenia in 1979. She has translated many American poets into Slovene, including Elizabeth Bishop, James Schuyler, and Noelle Kocot.
Matthew Rohrer is the author of nine books of poems, most recently THE OTHERS, which won the 2017 Believer Book Award. He has co-translated poems by Tomaž Šalamun (with the author), Virgil Banescu (with the author), and Volker Braun (with his mother).