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  • Svetislav Mandić
  • Svetislav Mandić
    Translated by Mirjana N Radovanov-Matarić

Svetislav Mandić (1921–2003) was a notable painter, copier, conserver of frescoes, and, from his student days at Belgrade’s Academy of Arts, a published poet. His poetry and essays focused significantly on sharing a “rediscovery” of the beauty of Serbian art and architecture, especially that of the monasteries. Employed at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Monuments, he was also editor at major Belgrade publishing houses. For his creative and cultural contributions he was presented with the St. Sava Order.

Zvezdara (Selected Passages)

I climb Zvezdara on a lovely day for Zvezdara is my promised land and a view on all four sides fits into my grey eyes like into a crib while on the hill top I stand.

I search for the past and my starry youth from here wishing to meet again a smiling girl, and whirl under the acacia waving her white hand I would be her brigand, and she my bird.

There is freedom looking from Zvezdara on all four sides on the fifth, above, I see the clouds spread, from here the Danube looks like a girl’s hair-band, perhaps tired, fallen into the lap of the land. Across the river, bridge slim like a viper I could cross in three steps, from here I am big and on my chest many rivers and fields could fit like into a nest. [End Page 170] Before this city, I am a child, falling on my knees in it all my churches are like Studenica, supreme if I build them, sailing the oceans, in my dream, sadly joyous, and joyously sad drinking good wine or dining just bread, only here my stars are, here my skies. If I dream Paris and marble of Sienna over this city only I get misty in my eyes.

I reach toward this city, to comfort myself awhile with hopes that once, maybe, I too will get to smile. [End Page 171]

Mirjana N Radovanov-Matarić


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