Nikola Madzirov, poet, essayist, and translator, was born in 1973 in Strumica, Macedonia to a family of refugees from the Balkan wars. His 2007 collection Relocated Stone won both the Hubert Burda award for East European poetry and the prestigious Miladinov Brothers prize in Macedonia. His other honors include the Xu Zhimo Silver Leaf award for European poetry from King’s College, Cambridge, and the Studentski Zbor first book prize. Among his collections are Locked in the City, Somewhere Nowhere, and Remnants of Another Age. His work has been translated into over thirty languages, while contemporary jazz composer Oliver Lake has written music based on his poems. A coordinator of the international poetry network Lyrikline in Berlin, Madzirov has also been a resident at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, artist-in-residence at DAAD Berlin and Passa Porta in Brussels, and a Marguerite Yourcenar fellow in France. The American poet Mark Strand said reading his poetry “is like discovering a new planet in the solar system of the imagination.”
尼古拉·馬茲洛夫，詩人，散文家，譯者，1973年出生於前南斯拉夫馬其頓的斯特魯米察，來自巴爾幹戰爭的難民家庭。2007年，他的詩集《搬家的石頭》（Relocated Stone）贏得了Hubert Burda東歐詩歌獎和馬其頓享有盛譽的米拉迪諾夫兄弟詩歌獎。此外他還榮膺劍橋大學國王學院的徐志摩銀葉詩歌獎、Studentski Zbor首次出版獎等。其他詩集包括《城中囚》（Locked in the City）、《無處之處》（Somewhere Nowhere）、《另一時代的殘餘》（Remnants of Another Age）。
THE CROSS OF HISTORY
I dissolved in the crystals of undiscovered stones,
I live among the cities, invisible
as the air between slices of bread.
I’m contained in the rust
on the edges of the anchors.
In the whirlwind I am a child
beginning to believe in living gods.
I’m the equivalent of the migrant birds
that are always returning, without departing.
I want to exist among the continuous verbs,
in the roots that sleep
among the foundations of the abandoned houses.
In death I want to be
a soldier of undiscovered innocence,
crucified by history
on a glass cross through which
in the distance flowers can be seen.
PERFECTION IS BORN
I want someone to tell me
about the messages in the water in our bodies,
about yesterday’s air
in telephone booths,
about flights postponed because of
poor visibility, despite
all the invisible angels on the calendars.
The fan that weeps for tropical winds,
the incense that smells best
as it vanishes—I want someone to tell me about these things.
I believe that when perfection is born
all forms and truths
crack like eggshells.
Only the sigh of gentle partings
can tear a cobweb apart
and the perfections of imagined lands
can postpone the secret
migration of souls.
And what can I do with my imperfect body:
I go and I return, go and return
like a plastic sandal on the waves
by the shore.
In the temporary embrace
I speak of eternity.
The wind brings us the calls of the church bells
among the feathers where we rest
our sleepy heads.
It’s morning. Moist air passes
under the viaducts, clouds part
at a touch, buildings at the swallows’ flight,
the farmhands pray for rain that stops,
while the trees give up their leaves
and so the sky grows vaster.
Your hands are soft this morning
and soft is the blossom of the hard almond.
In the nearby church
they have spoken for centuries of a love
that will outlive us.
ERAS OF LONGING
I stand concealed
like a gull waiting for a fish to fly.
Passengers with the same oaths and expectations
come and go on the harbor wall,
the years slide slowly over the sails
like rainwater on a badly leveled path.
The eras of longing end up beyond the horizon,
in the village on the shore where at night
an old woman hides her coins in a kerchief
that once covered her hair.
One should scrape the wall
over which dampness has drawn
a map of the new world
and new separations should be applied.
Beneath them, the stones should be
rearranged haphazardly, like
the footprints of a man running from his fears.
One should be
a round mirror in a half-open palm
and reflect others’ embraces
as sharp as scissor blades which touch each other
only when there’s something to be cut.
New lands should be invented,
so one can walk on water once again.
FAST IS THE CENTURY
Fast is the century. If I were wind
I would have peeled the bark off the trees
and the facades off the buildings in the outskirts.
If I were gold, I would have been hidden in cellars,
into crumbly earth and among broken toys,
I would have been forgotten by the fathers,
and their sons would remember me forever.
If I were a dog, I wouldn’t have been afraid of
refugees, if I were a moon
I wouldn’t have been scared of executions.
If I were a wall clock
I would have covered the cracks on the wall.
Fast is the century. We survive the weak earthquakes
watching towards the sky, yet not towards the ground.
We open the windows to let in the air
of the places we have never been.
Wars don’t exist,
since someone wounds our heart every day.
Fast is the century.
Faster than the word.
If I were dead, everyone would have believed me
when I kept silent.
A woman looked at her reflection
in the town’s translucent fences.
Two moons settled in her eyes
while her gaze brought together the ends
of worlds already explored.
Above her the shadows wove moss
on the rooftops,
below her endemic species were dying
From the hollow
between her hip and her rib cage
light streamed out each night.
I separated myself from each truth about the beginnings
of rivers, trees, and cities.
I have a name that will be a street of goodbyes
and a heart that appears on X-ray films.
I separated myself even from you, mother of all skies
and carefree houses.
Now my blood is a refugee that belongs
to several souls and open wounds.
My god lives in the phosphorus of a match,
in the ashes holding the shape of the firewood.
I don’t need a map of the world when I fall asleep.
Now the shadow of a stalk of wheat covers my hope,
and my word is as valuable
as an old family watch that doesn’t keep time.
I separated from myself, to arrive at your skin
smelling of honey and wind, at your name
signifying restlessness that calms me down,
opening the doors to the cities in which I sleep,
but don’t live.
I separated myself from the air, the water, the fire.
The earth I was made from
is built into my home.
A WAY OF EXISTING
Too many rises and falls
are not recorded in the books
that are burned in usual wars.
Has anyone written that crumbs
thrown from a window fall faster
than snowflakes, that waterfalls are merely
victims of their names? They write of the fall
of empires and epochs but not
of the old man who looks at a toy
dug up by a bulldozer.
Traffic-lights cannot stop time
and our uncertainty is just
a way of existence for secrets.
Fear exists in the distance
when soot splits off
from the sparks flying skyward,
but no one so far has written
a tractate on the candles’ smoke
that melts into night
or on the drops of wax
that harden on our shoes;
everyone speaks of the flame
that illuminates our faces.
THE ONE WHO WRITES
You write. About the things that already exist.
And they say you fantasize.
You keep quiet. Like the sunken nets
of poachers. Like an angel
who knows what the night may bring.
And you travel. You forgot,
so that you can come back.
You write and you don’t want to remember
the stone, the sea, the believers
sleeping with their hands apart.
I lived at the edge of the town
like a street lamp whose light bulb
no one ever replaces.
Cobwebs held the walls together,
and sweat our clasped hands.
I hid my teddy bear
in holes in crudely built stone walls
saving him from dreams.
Day and night I made the threshold come alive
returning like a bee that
always returns to the previous flower.
It was a time of peace when I left home:
the bitten apple was not bruised,
on the letter a stamp with an old abandoned house.
From birth I’ve migrated to quiet places
and voids have clung beneath me
like snow that doesn’t know if it belongs
to the earth or to the air.
WE HAVE NO SLEEP
All forms of farewell without touching
have been forgotten. We think of tomorrow,
as we feed the swans
with yesterday’s bread. From our memory
flows water enough to sustain several
fields of wheat. We watch how the rain
repeats itself immaculately, stealing
the dust. We have no sleep,
belong to no one night
nor any candle can lengthen
our shadows onto the walls of the wind.
Once upon a time I saw:
hope climbing jagged crags,
while our eyes were lowered to its reality.
Our life was a garden
longing for footsteps,
a short journey
in unhitched sleeping-cars.
Once upon a time I saw:
the doorstep moving to meet
the weary body of the traveller,
a hand lowered to the clothes on the chair,
a bird landing on the dust on the lampshade
was climbing towards the roof of the house
and no one woke to throw a stone at it.
LIGHT AND DUST
In the space between
the four seasons I’ll find you,
when children are taken out for a walk,
and souls come back
like dirty dishes in
a workers’ canteen.
We are not a religion
and nobody believes in our
Our looks hide
in the curtains’ folds
which let other people’s prayers through
and the falling light.
Will our angels touch
when we hug each other
in the dark, will someone light a candle
to proclaim a kingdom?
We are the light of a burnt match
which turns to dust
SHADOWS PASS US BY
We’ll meet one day,
like a paper boat and
a watermelon that’s been cooling in the river.
The anxiety of the world will
be with us. Our palms
will eclipse the sun and we’ll
approach each other holding lanterns.
One day, the wind won’t
The birch will send away leaves
into our shoes on the doorstep.
The wolves will come after
The butterflies will leave
their dust on our cheeks.
An old woman will tell stories
about us in the waiting room every morning.
Even what I’m saying has
been said already: we’re waiting for the wind
like two flags on a border.
One day every shadow
will pass us by.