Dissident Editions

Dissident Editions Logo


poems of the month



measuring my face


old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

confession from belgrade

the book of nothing

dispatches from the war against the world

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

leda and the swan

gloss on rilke's ninth duino elegy

jewels and shit:
poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa: a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of
omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir:
an ironic mystic

the love of pierre de ronsard




400 revolutionary maxims

nice men and
suicide of an alien

vacuum of desire: a 'gay' correspondence

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history




the three bears

three albanian tales

odorous underwear

a little creation story



helen's tower

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

after a first cataract operation

single track in the snow

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you

a note on the cathars


londons of the mind
& dealing death to the caspian


a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

a holy dog and a
dog-headed saint

an albanian ikon

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

the dog from sinope


this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

combatting normality

fools for nothingness:
atheists & saints

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo

the visit



prelude metamorphotos NEW LINK



Nuadú, God of War

field guide to megalithic ireland

megalith of the month

houses for the dead

ireland and the phallic continuum

irish cross-pillars

irish sweathouses

the sheela-na-gig conundrum

french megaliths


a small town in france

'western values'








Home - =- - Blog - -= - Reviews - =- Feedback - -= - About





Vasko Popa



in new versions from the Serbian


Anthony Weir


Self-portrait as a wolf, by Anthony Weir


You shut one eye
You peer into yourself
Peep into every corner
Make sure there are no nails no burglars
No cuckoos' eggs

Then you shut the other eye as well
You crouch, then jump
Jump high, high, high
Right up to the top of yourself

Then your weight drags you down
You fall for days and days as deep as deep
Down to the bottom of your abyss

If you're not smashed to bits
If you're still in one piece and get up in one piece
You can start playing.



Along with the first false sun
We got a visit from Agim
The woodman from near Prishtina

He brought us two red apples
Wrapped in a scarf
And the news that he'd finally got a house.

At last you've a roof over your head, Agim

No, no roof
The wind tore it off

You've a door and windows then

No door and no windows either
The winter carried them away

You've four walls at least

I've not even got four walls
All I have is a house like I said

The rest will be easy

[*Agim, a masculine Albanian first name, means Dawn or Daybreak.
Prishtina is of course in Kosov@.]



They scare me by saying
There's a screw loose in my head

They scare me more by saying
They'll bury me
In a box with the screws loose

They scare me but little do they realise
That my loose screws
Scare them

The happy crazy from our street
Boasts to me



An old cleaning-woman from back home
Heard I'd visited
Rastko's Grave in Rock Creek
Cemetery in Washington

I make cakes she says
Every year on feast-days
And light candles
For my dead in the old country

And for the Osceola Indians
Since my neighbours told me
Their burying-ground lies
Underneath this whole block of houses

Now I'll do the necessary
For that Serbian poet too

He's got nobody here either



One hugs me
One looks at me with wolf-eyes
One takes off his hat
So I can see him better

Each one of them asks me
Do you know who I am

Unknown men and women
Take on the names
Of boys and girls buried in my memory

And I ask one of them
Tell me venerable sir
Is George Wol still alive

That's me he answers
In a voice from the Otherworld

I stroke his cheek with my hand
And beg him with my eyes to tell me
If I am still alive too



Get out of my walled infinity
Out of the star-ring round my head
Out of my mouthful of sun
Get out of the laughable sea of my blood
Out of my flow, of my ebb
Get out of my beached silence
Get out I said
Get out
Out of the chasm of my life
Of the stark father-tree inside me
Get out How long must I cry get out
Get out of my bursting head
Get out
Just get out



They trap the she-wolf with steel jaws
Stretched from horizon to horizon

They take the golden mask from her muzzle
And tear the secret grass
From between her haunches

They bind her and set
Tracker and pointer dogs
To defile her

They hack her to pieces
And leave her
To the vultures

With the stump of her tongue the she-wolf catches
Living waters from the jaws of clouds
And puts herself together again



Open up little box
We're kissing your bottom and lid
Your keyhole and key
The whole world has crammed inside you
And now it looks like
Nothing like
Serenity its own mother
ouldn't recognise it now
Rust will devour your key
Our world and us inside you
And you too in the end
We're kissing all four of your sides
And all four of your corners
And all twenty-four of your nails
And everything you've got
Open up little box



Give me back my rags
My rags of pure dreaming
Of silk smiling
Of striped foreboding
Of my lacy cloth
My rags of spotted hope
Of shot desire
Of chequered looks
Of my face's skin
Give me back my rags
Give me when I ask you nicely



The lame wolf walks the world
One paw treads the sky
The others pace the earth
He walks backwards
Erasing each pawprint before him
He walks half-blind
With terrible bloodshot eyes
ull of dead stars and living parasites
He walks with a millstone
Forced round his neck
An old tin can
Tied to his tail
He walks without resting
Out of one circle of dog-heads
Into another
He walks with the twelve-faced sun
On a tongue which lolls to the ground



A regular customer in a local bar
Waves his empty sleeve
Fulminates from his undisciplined beard
We've buried the gods
And now it's the turn of the dummies
Who are playing at gods
The regular is hidden in tobacco clouds
Illuminated by his own words
Hewn from an oak trunk
He is as beautiful as a god
Dug up recently nearby


Click the picture to go to more (recent) Serbian poems

in memoriam Vasko Popa

by Anthony Weir

Apart from everyone
I listen to the crows
And admire the blood-red
Japanese Quince flowers in April

The long-tailed dancer
With Cyrillic teeth
Is laughing
While I practise howling

Which is poetry


more Serbian poetry


a Wolf-poem by
Albanian Ambassador to France 1992-7

translated by Anthony Weir


You were born in the city, my son,
so you never went into the forest,

not even for a stroll.
So how did you get your terrible fear

of the wolf ?

So I'm asking you what a wolf is,
I'm asking you what a wolf's like.

All you can say is that he is voracious
and that when he is hungry
the water lapped by the lamb

is troubled all the way up to its source -
which prevents the tender creature from drinking.

Thus it is obvious that you have never seen a wolf,
my little man.

So where in the bosom of the big city
did your fear of the wolf come from ?


another Wolf-poem by
currently Cultural Attaché at the Albanian Embassy in London

translated by Anthony Weir

from the collection VDEKJA LEXON GAZETËN (Death Reading a Newspaper), Elbasan 1995


Drerët në Stokholm

They appear amidst the roaring traffic of a winter evening
the deer - timid and brave -
as if they had been sent by some Cosmic Power
to find out what terrible cock-up had occurred on Earth.

They wander amongst the cars as if the stern police,
Royal and Swedish, did not exist.
O Divine Deer - what are you doing here,
so naïvely trusting us ?

They stop in front of the Royal Library.
This year there is no need to announce a Nobel Prize for Literature.
In the highlands of the Balkans, at the behest of the Cosmic Power,
We shall be rhapsodes to the rhythmic howling of the wolves.


>>> Dissident Albanian Poems >>>



Not many people know that Kosovo contains the Serbian word for 'blackbird': Kos. Hence The Field of Blackbirds (Kosovo Polje) was not named after the blanket of ravens, crows, buzzards, vultures (and maybe blackbirds) that fed on the fallen Serbian, Bulgarian, Montenegrin, Albanian and Hungarian allies against the Turks.
The incomparable Vasko Popa wrote a few (some of his least wonderful) poems about The Field of Blackbirds and the miraculous (but fruitless) appearance of St Sava in the sky.

Wry Serbians love to say that Popa wrote the most beautiful Serbian because he was half-Romanian: he came from a small village on the Serbian-Romanian border.

This entry from an on-line Serbian-English dictionary could almost be a poem by Genrikh Sapgir. Ironically, since the Serbian words are in the Western alphabet, they are Croatian!

Serbian language English language
kos declivous (sic)
kos slanting
kos splay
kos lop-sided
kos skew
kos blackbird
koš wicker
kos sloping
kos thrush
kos thwart
kos prone position
kos shelving
kos supine
kos slantwise
kos slating
koš sieve
kos scart
kos black bird
koš barn
kos bevel
kos slant
kos biased
koš warehouse
koš basket
kos italic
kos raised
kos ouzel
kos ousel
kos croked (sic)
kos wry
... ...





top of page
combat normality