Monday, 8 November 2010


The following poem, written by Slovenian poet Iztok Osojnik as Part 4 of a sequence entitled 'Waiting for Rain', incorporates the story of how a notebook of poems by the Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti was discovered in a mass grave. The poems were written on a forced march westwards from a labour camp in Serbia, in 1944. The line in italics towards the end of Osojnik's poem is quoted from the last-dated poem in Radnóti's notebook, written a couple of days before the poet was executed for being too sick to continue.

a year after the killings near the village of Abda,  
in the year nineteen forty-five in a mass grave
in the greatcoat pocket of the corpse of Miklós Radnóti 
one of the forced labourers who was shot
they discovered a small notebook of poems with the title Razglednicák
I was woken by the prowling of wolves around the house
I turned on the light and reached for the slim edition  – Forced March
translated into English 
by Clive Wilmer & George Gömöri
the men stooping to urinate pass blood
the wolves howled in the rain
nocturnal anxiety, the stillness of the bathroom in yellow light
from the energy-saving light bulb
the slow methodic clipping of nails

(Translated from the Slovene by Špela Drnovšek Zork and Ciaran O'Driscoll)

1 comment:

  1. Hello Ciaran

    Patrick Corcoran here. You were a tutor of mine in LSAD and probably know me to see.
    I am a limerick City based artist and am currently working on a few publications - a catalogue/artist book and a small collection of poetry.
    I had you in mind to proof read/go over some of the work. I know you are probably busy with your own stuff. I would be very appreciative if you could help me.
    My budget is tight at the moment, but I would gladly pay you or we could work something out regarding some of my art/publications etc.
    If you wanted to touch base, I am in town during week days.
    my number is 086 3185662.,
    I hope your own work is going well.
    Kind regards Patrick Corcoran