Gozd – Forest #poetry #translation

poetry on wood

So quiet and desolate
there the forest stands,
like a disarmed soldier stares
beyond, with empty hands.

No longer does it roar nor shrink
beneath the distant sun –
as in a waking dream of kings
beneath the mountain, Krn.

Alas, by wind, by water
all my joy has fled…
as barren as nature’s evening mist
by twilight silence fed.

As there within the wayside inn
shielded from the world’s sight
the solitary traveller
awaits the coming night.

– Josip Murn Aleksandrov

I found this poem…

…on a woodcarving the last time we climbed Slavnik. I took a photo so I could attempt to translate the poem at home. I also looked up the poet, and discovered that Josip Murn, who adopted the pseudonym ‘Aleksandrov,’ was one of the pioneers of modernism in Slovenian literature. You can read more about him here.

In translating the poem, I did not translate literally but as this would have been impossible to do while maintaining the metre and rhyme scheme of the original. I used all of Aleksandrov’s images and tried to maintain the style and sense of the original poem.

If you liked this, you may also like these translations of Slovene poetry.

29 thoughts on “Gozd – Forest #poetry #translation

Add yours

  1. Congratulations! So much to think about honouring such a translation. I don’t think I know another language well enough to even attempt it so I really admire you.

    1. I did use Google translate to help with the words I didn’t know, but rest assured, Google didn’t make it sound like this!

  2. A gorgeous translation/interpretation, Ingrid, made even more engaging by the story and photo. A wonderful discovery during your hike. 💖

  3. I LOVE that you translated this beautiful and lyrical piece, Ingrid! I feel this experience of the weather-worn yet polished mountain coupled with a story appropriate to its time.

  4. Translations are toughest to do but you did it expertly. These lines gave me goosies: So quiet and desolate
    there the forest stands,
    like a disarmed soldier stares
    beyond, with empty hands.

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