Featured Writer Lidija Dimkovska (Лидија Димковска): One Poem


Under the primordial house
the echo was returning from this world,
flying over the quince, the strings of tobacco leaves
and the brandy in the cauldron,
bringing us greetings from our nearest and dearest.
We were all alive then.
The bladder of the slaughtered piglets
was the toughest ball in the world,
the soup made from the old cockerel
was refused even by the hogs,
at the bottom of the soap pot
a rainbow would suddenly appear.
The cultures of the world rang out
on Macedonian Radio, Third Programme,
in the room filled with the smell of baked pumpkin
and socks drying above the stove,
where granny knitted a woollen waistcoat for me,
suitable for all seasons of the year.
When I outgrew it I left for the world
and lived in it in black and white,
mixing blood with water –
I didn’t notice when it turned to spit,
just like the primordial house,
which was first a home,
then a property with a tax rate,
and eventually a ruin in a lawsuit.
Now we shout and shout under the house,
and the echo returns from world beyond,
flying over the graves and dung heaps
bringing us greetings from ourselves.

– Lidija Dimkovska

translated from Macedonian by Ljubica Arsovska and Patricia Marsh


Под примордијалната куќа
ехото се враќаше од овој свет,
прелетувајќи ги дуњата, низите тутун
и ракијата во казанот,
ни носеше поздрави од ближните.
Живи бевме тогаш сите.
Мочниот меур на закланите младенчиња
беше најиздржлив балон на светот,
супата од остарениот петел
не сакаа да ја јадат ни свињите,
на дното од котелот за сапун
ненадејно се појавуваше ѕуница.
Ѕунеа светските култури
на Македонско радио, Трета програма,
во одајата со мирис на печена тиква
и чорапи испружени над шпоретот,
кај што баба ми ми сплете волнено елече
погодно за секое годишно време.
Кога ми омале заминав во светот
и живеев во него црно на бело,
крвта мешајќи ја со вода
не сетив кога се претвори во плунка
исто како што примордијалната куќа
најпрво беше дом,
па имот со даночна стапка,
па руина во судски спор.
Сега под куќата викаме ли викаме,
а ехото се враќа од оној свет,
прелетувајќи ги гробовите и буништата
ни носи поздрави од самите себе.

– Лидија Димковска (Lidija Dimkovska)

‘Exo’ was published in Lidija Dimkovska’s collection of poetry, Црно на бело (In Black and White, Ili-Ili, 2016). It has been republished in Rochford Street Review with the author’s permission, along with the first English translation, ‘Echo’.


!Lidija Dimkovska photograph by Tihomir Pintar
Lidija Dimkovska. photograph by Tihomir Pintar

Lidija Dimkovska (Лидија Димковска) was born in Skopje, Macedonia, and currently lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Lidija is a poet, novelist, essayist, and translator of Romanian and Slovenian literature into Macedonian. She has published six books of poetry, three novels and edited three anthologies. Lidija has won numerous awards including, the Hubert Burda literary prize for young East European poets (2009), the Tudor Arghezi international poetry prize in Romania (2012), the Macedonian Writers’ Union award twice, and the European Union Prize for Literature (2013) for her novel, A Spare Life (РЕЗЕРВЕН ЖИВОТ). Her book of poems, pH Neutral History, was translated into English by Ljubica Arsovska and Peggy Reid. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages and she has participated at numerous international literary festivals

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