Sibila Petlevski is a poet, translator and prose writer. Born in Zagreb, she graduated from the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Philosophy, where she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. She is currently a professor at the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Arts. Petlevski writes in Croatian and English and is the managing editor of the literary journal "Republika". A member of the Croatian Writers' Association, she is also a member of the Croatian P.E.N. Centre and an honorary member of the Macedonian Writers' Association.
She is the author of several books, including Crystals, Jump on the spot , French suite, Babylon , Heavy Sleepers, Symptoms of Modernism. She won the "Vladimir Nazor" Award for literature for 1993.
These three sonnets are from the book Choreography of Pain. Zagreb: Izdabac Konzor, 2004.
Columbus discovered a vein of melancholy in the marble
Of Isabel's bosom. She was sitting on a river bank chilled
To the fishbone. Looking for a mermaid he fished up a barbel.
The drone of sirens lost its appeal. Small patches of tilled
Land. The new continent's proud wilderness and its leftovers.
Beaver fur bartered for a pair of red boots to go home in. The skin
Round his ankles stripped off, he could not make it back to bowers, Boudoirs and the quietness of pools disturbed on ly by her tail-fin
Splashing about in the process of wagging. The domesticated queen
Of green-eyed view on a dried up river bed is calmer than hers. Lean
Years. This poor soil is turning into the moon's surface. Pock by pock.
In the newly established desert no one needs birch wood for canoes.
They are importing it for rods. Scorched earth policy. A ruse.
The reverse side of the shield:
silver pine forest. Calf-skins
and presents hanged. An area of land sealed
off for gallows - birds to nest. Loony bins
and barrack squares on the outer fringes.
Woodness among the singing trees.
The dwarf from the Pony Club with singes
on his wings enjoys the late sun's cease
of fire. He says: "I'm free to choose my stable mate
from our Lord's string. This is a mixed farm.
The idea to live in clover seems to be innate.
Implanted in a surrogate womb, its germ
develops warfare potentials, rising
high above the empty trench. Worm -
like Golem is now glistening with perspiration."
Such was the beginning of each and every nation.
Returning to their vomit, dogs
bark our heads off again. Tomorrow's
another day, we say, emerging from the bogs.
Sweet with ammonia, this airless evening borrows
its amphibian vehicle from the full moon's tenor.
Drugged out heroes and stoned metaphors have gone
bell-wavering by the road to the cemeteries. Poetry's manor:
new voices in the field. Resonant elm-trees, a dug out bone.
Dead souls. A school of slippery hands
going right to the mouth of the river. Shall we enter
the stiffs in an inventory? A muddy stream of ideas ends
in a trail of mucus. Too late to establish the identity.
What a legacy of hideous genes to pass on to offspring!
A cluster of names sticking like leeches to an entity.
Old carriers resting on the lorries except for helmet-pigeons,
Each with an inborn homing system. The lower regions.
© 2007 Sibila Petlevski