"The way the sea embraces the island gradually, steadily, so will we,..."

More Perihelion:

BobSward's Writer's Friendship Series


Needto Know



Issue9: The Missing Body

Issue8: The Lily

Issue7: Passages

Issue6: No More Tears

A quick list to poets featured in this issue:

Quan Barry

Cal Bedient

Joshua Bell

Nadia Colburn

Carolina Ebeid

Odysseas Elytis

Nathalie Handal

Connie Hershey

Timothy Liu

Drago Stambuk

Franz Wright

Drago Stambuk
translated from the Croation by Tom Butler

Rocky Soil

Plow of God
that works the soul's
lenten soil

and clears away the stones
beneath your sharp blade

infuse the mounds
and the Brac field
with the salt of endurance.

Sow dragon seed,
plant angel wings.

May what sprouts
grow slowly into
the thirsty eye of dreams
and the crystal of snows.

Let the fruits be
small, dessicated,
bittersweet of taste.

May the spirits of table and hills
break unleavened bread
in the clearings.

Like the mica caught in olive tree roots,
a kiss between
two mouths.

The way the sea
embraces the island
gradually, steadily,
so will we,

children of God's providence,
come to love ourselves again.


Translator's Bio Note Tom Butler received his doctorate in Slavic languages and literatures
from Harvard and has taught at the University of Wisconsin,
Tufts, and Harvard. He has published two anthologies of translations,
one from Serbian and Croatian, and the other from Bulgarian.
He is retired and lives in Cambridge.