Veno Taufer: VUKOVAR

I had an apparition of Vukovar and I took a walk for a few
    streets -
around the block - with my hands frozen - up to the tobacco shop
and on returning I thought so that's the way they used

to sail back again into the damp - illuminated coldly
and precisely by the European streetlights -
those travellers around the world who were believed

dead straight - about food recipes - about people's mysteries
- about doors to treasures and about absolutely all the numbers -
yet everyone remained misunderstood and broken to the end

because of the story about the wolfish eyes
dazzled by white glare - a guard
of life and death - perhaps the very live death already -

and so you yourself came home - and for this relentless gift
relentless to the last breath - unaccepted in languages of Europe
from the stones of Ireland to the Caucasian stones - it's in vain

repeating to the European tobacconists this merchants with the
civilities that now the storm's approaching - which is the storm
of silence - and how with meteorological accuracy piles of news

from day to day will be picked up out of hands
together with ashes and rain mud and snow by the wolfish silence
from everywhere to everywhere Vukovar Vukovar Vukovar Vukovar

October 14th 1991 (for the third day humanitarian aid was prevented from reaching people in ruined Vukovar).

                             Translated by Jo Shapcott           
                             Klaonica, Anthology of war poetry,
                                           Bloodaxe, 1993