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Syndic Literary Journal

Syndic No.52 ~ Sreten Perovic ~ “Late Hour”

LATE HOUR

Written by Sreten Perović

Translated from the Montenegrin by Dragan M.Vugdelić

Narrated by Bill Wolak

Montenegro

I almost forgot

why memories brought me to this street.

Next to that rotting pole

for years there stood a beggar

a handsome old beggar like out of a tale. 

Blind with no acting and no excitement

he was there whenever I happened to pass by.

It didn’t matter what kind of words he’d say

but his voice was dry like the beggar’s in a tale.

Following that voice there was a big muffled cry

far from wishing to trouble anyone.

 

I have known many beggars

at the corners around the world.

Some would be playing 

some singing through tears

some didn’t even have a voice.

Next to that rotting pole

for years a beggar was standing

with empty eye sockets.

The only beggar who would turn his palms

down to the ground.

 

Coins would fall at his feet

picked up by little boys who then ran to the cinema.

The beggar did not implore anyone

nor asked for anything

but praised the passers-by equally

whether they would or would not give anything.

 

At this corner he has lived out his years. 

Waiting for the woman who had used lye

to wake him up one fine morning

or the son who may have passed there a hundred times.

He waited

pronouncing blessings on people

and never accepted any charity.

He listened to other people’s words

thinking about the distant Spanish rivers

about young dancing girls 

about bulls and grenades.

He kept thinking of the unrepeatable charges

and in that big dream he was petrified.

And he was a handsome beggar like out of a tale.

 

 

Sreten Perović (b. 1932) is a Montenegrin poet, critic, literary historian, academician, playwright, translator, anthologist, and journalist. After earning a B.A. in Yugoslav and World Literatures, he started publishing poetry in 1949, and his first book of poetry Sounds and Distances was published in 1951. He has worked as a secondary school teacher of literature, editor-in-chief of the magazine “Susreti”, managing editor in Montenegrin publishing houses, director of the Lexicographic Institute of Montenegro, and editor of Encyclopedia of Montenegro. He has been a contributor to a range of magazines. For over half a century, Perović has been a theatre critic and a highly successful translator of poetry from Slavonic languages, mostly Macedonian poetry. Later he became editor-in chief and then the President of the Doclean Academy of Sciences and Arts, having held for a number of years the post of president of the Montenegrin P.E.N. Centre. Perović is the author of dozens of books, of which 15 are of lyric poetry. His poetry has been translated in thirty-odd languages and is included in Montenegrin and foreign anthologies. For his literary work, Perović has been granted numerous important national and prestigious international awards. These include: the highest Montenegrin award July 13th; several prestigious awards in Northern Macedonia, the International award for poetry of the European fund, the International Academy „Mihai Eminescu” (Romaia), the latter proposing him for the Nobel Literary Award, and the Naji Naaman (Lebanon) Honor Prize for complete work (2020). In 2010 he was granted the title of Outstanding Cultural Worker, which implies a financial support for life by the Montenegrin State. In 2022, President of Montenegro awarded him the Order of the Montenegrin Flag 1st degree.

 

Dragan M.Vugdelić (b. 1946) is a Montenegrin free lance translator. He is a retired English teacher/university lecturer, and British Honorary and Vice Consul. He was twice awarded Fulbright scholarships. His first literary translation was published in 1976. Since then, he has translated several hundred individual pieces and 17 books. In addition, he has worked on ten feature and around thirty documentary films, over twenty TV programs (plays, short feature films, documentaries), and he has published numerous artists’ catalogues, and parts of four monographs. Also, he writes short stories, poems, anecdotes, and aphorisms with five books published. He is the winner of the Grand Award for literary translations, several minor awards and prizes as well as the Naji Naaman (Lebanon) Creativity Prize (2018).

 

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