#374732

Anonymous
[size=15pt]The Pit / Jama[/size]

Ivan Goran Kovačić was one of the greatest Croatian writers of the 20th century. He was born in Lukovdol (On March 21st, 1913), a town in Gorski Kotar, a mountainous region of western Croatia, and his middle name Goran stems from that. During World War II, he found himself joining the Partisan forces, and he did so along with the poet Vladimir Nazor in 1942.

His most famous work is Jama (The Pit), which ranks among the greatest Croatian poems ever written. He penned it during the war, while in service near the city of Livno. The poem was written out of intellectual and ethical responsibility that condemns fascist attrocities done by his own nation – The Croatian Ustase, which corresponds to the (documented) genocide of Serbian people in Lika, Bosnia – Herzegovina and elsewhere. There, Ustase accompanied by Bosniak fascist divisions were killing Serbs and pushing them in pits and caves.

The work is a great example of anti-war poetry. Its message against torture, mass murders and war crimes is universal, and it should be translated to every language. The poem Jama/The Pit was studied in elementary school all over Socialist Yugoslavia.

[size=9pt]- Translation: Alec Brown; Prologue: Jure Kaštelan[/size]

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BLOOD is my daylight, and darkness too.
Blessing of night has been gouged from my cheeks
Bearing with it my more lucky sight.
Within those holes, for tears, fierce fire inflamed
The bleeding socket as if for brain a balm —
While my bright eyes died on my own palm.

While played, I never doubt, God's feathered creatures,
Reflected still in them, and clouds' procession;
But all I felt were my blood-spattered features,
Bruised gulfs in that once brillant profusion.
Haw radiant lay my eyeballs in my hand,
Yet from those eyes no tear could more descend!

Then ever other fingers ran the warm
Coagulating blood my slaughterer found
By the profounder agony of holes he formed
For better grip, more sensuously to wound;
But me the softness of my blood enthralled,
And I rejoiced as blood were red tears falling.

The final light before the frightful night
The lightning swooping of the polished knife,
The cry too white still in my blinded sight,
The bleach-white bodies of the murderers,
Who stripped their torsos for their sweaty task —
Was dazzling even to my blinded mask.

O painful daylight, never so hard yet
Or penetrating did you break the East
With fiery arrow; I might have thought I shed
Teardrops with leaping flames that seared my cheeks
Through all that hell so many lightnings brent,
So many cries of other victims rent.

What time that furious conflagration fanned,
All that I knew of time were callouses for eyes,
Hard-grown and aching; and could hardly stand.
And only then my slippery eyeballs fingered
And knew — and cried: My sight, O Mother mine, is gone.
How shall I wepp when your life too is done?

Then dazzling daylight like a myriad carillons
From endless gleaming bell-towers in my crazy
Brain illumined like the lights of Zion,
A lovely light — a light which sanctified —
Bright birds, bright river, trees and, brilliant
Boon pure as mother's milk, still brighter moon.

Now came a torture I had never guessed —
My murderer commanded “Break your own eyes!”
I nearly prayed for mercy to the beast,
But slimy-fingered spasmic hands obeyed —
And then no more I heard, no more could tell,
To empty nothing faltered, and I fell.

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Read full text (English)

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I

KRV je moje svjetlo i moja tama.
Blaženu noć su meni iskopali
Sa sretnim vidom iz očinjih jama;
Od kaplja dana bijesni oganj pali
Krvavu zjenu u mozgu, ko ranu.
Moje su oči zgasle na mome dlanu.

Sigurno još su treperile ptice
U njima, nebo blago se okrenu;
I ćutio sam, krvavo mi lice
Utonulo je s modrinom u zjenu;
Na dlanu oči zrakama se smiju
I moje suze ne mogu da liju.

Samo kroz prste kapale su kapi
Tople i guste koje krvnik nađe
Još gorčom mukom duplja koje zjapi
Da bodež u vrat zabode mi slađe:
A mene dragost ove krvi uze,
I ćutio sam kaplje kao suze.

Posljednje svjetlo prije strašne noći
Bio je bljesak munjevita noža,
I vrisak, bijel još i sad u sljepoći,
I bijela, bijela krvnikova koža;
Jer do pojasa svi su bili goli
I tako nagi oči su nam boli.

O bolno svjetlo, nikad tako jako
I oštro nikad nisi sinulo u zori,
U strijeli, ognju; i ko da sam plako
Vatrene suze s kojih duplje gori;
A kroz taj pako bljeskovi su pekli,
Vriskovi drugih mučenika sjekli.

Ne znam koliko žar je bijesni trajo,
Kad grozne kvrge s duplja rasti stanu,
Ko kugle tvrde, i jedva sam stajo.
Tad spoznah skliske oči na svom dlanu
I rekoh: „Slijep sam, mila moja mati,
kako ću tebe sada oplakati…”

A silno svjetlo, ko stotine zvona
Sa zvonika bijelih, u pameti
Ludoj sijevne: svjetlost sa Siona,
Divna svjetlost, svjetlost koja svijeti!
Svijetla ptico, Svijetlo drvo! Rijeko!
Mjeseče! Svjetlo ko majčino mlijeko!

Al ovu strašnu bol već nisam čeko:
Krvnik mi reče: „Zgnječi svoje oči!”
Obezumljen sam skoro preda nj kleko,
Kad grč mi šaku gustom sluzi smoći;
I više nisam ništa čuo, znao:
U bezdan kao u raku sam pao.

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Pročitaj cijeli tekst (srpsko-hrvatski)

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