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Black Sun


You have neither east nor west, black sun,
neither sky for prayer nor ground for battle.

And everyone wishing to drink from your glory
is banished from both heaven and hell.

The grass bends, the trees run barefoot
before your burning blossom pregnant with black ashes.

You black sun, bird turned into a star,
those who think they know you, don’t know the abyss.

Black sun, blackness with no east or west,
black sun, an offering for the thirsty on the shore.


From what unknown lands, oh black sun,
did you alight like a bird pecking at a living tree?

What magician sent you, what secret power,
oh rainbow hanging over numerous Volgas and Niles.

What is that heavenly girdle, that colourful strip
stretching between all dark galaxies and us two continents.

Shall I suffer for you before I know what suffering is,
before I see you as a heavenly rampart?

Oh black sun, oh song, who puts you on my shoulders
and makes me carry you like the head I don’t have.


Where do you take me now, what deaf cave
will know how to cherish what we have to share?

Though blind, the stars gaze at us.
We are in this world like two layers of coal.

Who stands above us building,
burying us alive in a forlorn pyramid.

Oh song, earth, woman, oh-life-in-death, death-in-life,
I’ll quench my thirst with what you’ve brought me today.

You have neither east nor west, black sun,
in vain I beseech you I attack you with prayer.

Aco Šopov, Reader of ashes (Гледач во пепелта), 1970
Translated by Zoran Ančevski and Dragi Mihajlovski