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Vasko Popa Short Poems

Famous Short Vasko Popa Poems. Short poetry by famous poet Vasko Popa. A collection of the all-time best Vasko Popa short poems


by Vasko Popa
 Each strips his own skin 
Each bares his own constellation 
Which has never seen the night 

Each fills his skin with rocks 
And plays with it 
Lit by his own stars 

Who doesn't stop till dawn 
Who doesn't bat an eyelid or fall 
Earns his own skin 

(This game is rarely played)



by Vasko Popa
 We'll return the little box
Into the arms
Of her inconspicuously honest properties

We won't do anything
Against her will
We'll simply take her apart

We'll crucify her
On her own cross

Piece her bloated emptiness
And let ooze
All the blue cosmic blood she gathered

We'll sweet her clean of stars
And anti-stars
And everything else that rots inside her

We won't make her suffer
We'll simply put her together again

We'll give back to the little box
Her pure inconspicuousness

by Vasko Popa
 The little box which contains the world
Fell in love with herself
And conceived
Still another little box

The little box of the little box
Also fell in love with herself
And conceived
Still another little box

And so it went on forever

The world from the little box
Ought to be inside
The last offspring of the little box

But not one of the little boxes
Inside the little box in love with herself
Is the last one

Let's see you find the world now

by Vasko Popa
 Once upon a time there was a mistake
So silly so small
That no one would even have noticed it

It couldn't bear
To see itself to hear of itself

It invented all manner of things
Just to prove
that it didn't really exist

It invented space 
To put its proofs in
And time to keep its proofs
And the world to see its proofs

All it invented
Was not so silly
Nor so small
But was of course mistaken

Could it have been otherwise

by Vasko Popa
 Look here's that uninvited
Alien presence look it's here

A shudder on the ocean of tea in the cup
Rust taking hold
On the edges of our laughter
A snake coiled in the depths of the mirror

Will I be able to hide you
From your face in mine

Look it's the third shadow
On our imagined walk
Unexpected abyss
Between our words
Hoofs clattering
Below the vaults of our palates

Will I be able
On this unrest-field
To raise you a tent of my hands



by Vasko Popa
 Get out of my walled infinity
Of the star circle round my heart
Of my mouthful of sun

Get out of the comic sea of my blood
Of my flow of my ebb
Get out of my stranded silence

Get out I said get out

Get out of my living abyss
Of the bare father-tree within me

Get out how long must I cry get out

Get out of my bursting head
Get out just get out

by Vasko Popa
 Until her last breath she enlarges
Her Oxford house
Built in Slavonic
Vowels and consonants

She polishes the corner-stones
Until their Anglo-Saxon shine
Begins to sing

Her death is like a short breath-stop
Under the distant limetrees of her friends

Race  Create an image from this poem
by Vasko Popa
 Some bite from the others 
A leg an arm or whatever 

Take it between their teeth 
Run out as fast as they can 
Cover it up with earth 

The others scatter everywhere 
Sniff look sniff look 
Dig up the whole earth 

If they are lucky and find an arm 
Or leg or whatever 
It's their turn to bite 

The game continues at a lively pace 

As long as there are arms 
As long as there are legs 
As long as there is anything

by Vasko Popa
 Throw into the little box
A stone
You'll take out a bird

Throw in your shadow
You'll take out the shirt of happiness

Throw in your father's root
You'll take out the axle of the universe

The little box works for you

Throw into the little box
A mouse
You'll take out a quaking hill

Throw in your head
You'll take out two

The little box works for you

by Vasko Popa
 Open little box

We kiss your bottom and cover
Keyhole and key

The whole world lies crumpted in you
It resembles everything
Except itself

Not even your clear-sky mother
Would recognize it anymore

The rust will eat your key
Our world and us there inside
And finally you too

We kiss your four sides
And four corners
And twenty-four nails
And anything else you have

Open little box

by Vasko Popa
 Just come to my mind
My thoughts will scratch out your face

Just come into my sight
My eyes will start snarling at you

Just open your mouth
My silence will smash your jaws

Just remind me of you
My remembering will paw up the ground under your feet

That's what it's come to between us

by Vasko Popa
 Don't box down to the little box
Which supposedly contains everything
Your star and all other stars

Empty yourself
In her emptiness

Take two nails out of her
And give them to the owners
To eat

Make a hold in her middle
And stick on your clapper

Fill her with blueprints
And the skin of her craftsmen
And trample on her with both feet

Tie her to a cat's tail
And chase the cat

Don't bow down to the little box
If you do
You'll never straighten yourself out again

by Vasko Popa
 I've wiped your face off my face
Ripped your shadow off my shadow

Leveled the hills in you
Turned your plains into hills

Set your seasons quarreling
Turned all the ends of the world from you

Wrapped the path of my life around you
My impenetrable my impossible path

Just try to meet me now

by Vasko Popa
 Don't open the little box 
Heaven's hat will fall out of her 

Don't close her for any reason 
She'll bite the trouser-leg of eternity 

Don't drop her on the earth 
The sun's eggs will break inside her 

Don't throw her in the air 
Earth's bones will break inside her 

Don't hold her in your hands 
The dough of the stars will go sour inside her 

What are you doing for God's sake 
Don't let her get out of your sight

by Vasko Popa
 We raise our arms
The street climbs into the sky
We lower our eyes
The roofs go down into the earth

From every pain
We do not mention
Grows a chestnut tree
That stays mysterious behind us

From every hope
We cherish
Sprouts a star
That moves unreachable before us

Can you hear a bullet
Flying about our heads
Can you hear a bullet
Waiting to ambush our kiss

by Vasko Popa
 Someone hides from someone else 
Hides under his tongue 
The other looks for him under the earth 

He hides on his forehead 
The other looks for him in the sky 

He hides inside his forgetfulness 
The other looks for him in the grass 

Looks for him looks 
There's no place he doesn't look 
And looking he loses himself

by Vasko Popa
 Someone embraces me
Someone looks at me with the eyes of a wolf
Someone takes off his hat
So I can see him better

Everyone asks me
Do you know how I'm related to you

Unknown old men and women
Appropriate the names
Of young men and women from my memory

I ask one of them
Tell me for God's sake
Is George the Wolf still living

That's me he answers
With a voice from the next world

I touch his cheek with my hand
And beg him with my eyes
To tell me if I'm living too

by Vasko Popa
 Shut one eye then the other 
Peek into every corner of yourself 
See that there are no nails no thieves 
See that there are no cuckoo's eggs 

Shut then the other eye 
Squat and jump 
Jump high high high 
On top of yourself 

Fall then with all your weight 
Fall for days on end deep deep deep 
To the bottom of your abyss 

Who doesn't break into pieces 
Who remains whole gets up whole 
Plays

by Vasko Popa
 Enough chattering violets enough sweet trash
I won't hear anything know anything
Enough enough of all

I'll say the last enough
Fill my mouth with earth
Grit my teeth

To break off you skull guzzler
To break off once for all

I'll just be what I am
Without root without branch without crown
I'll lean on myself
On my own bumps and bruises

I'll be the hawthorn stake through you
That's all I can be in you
In you spoilsport in you muddlehead

Get lost

by Vasko Popa
 Sing little box

Don't let sleep overtake you
The world's awake within you

In your four-sided emptiness
We turn distance into nearness
Forgetfulness into memory

Don't let your nails come loose

For the very first time
We watch sights beyond this world
Through your keyhole

Turn your key in our mouths
Swallow words and numbers
Out of your song

Don't let your lid fly open
Your bottom drop

Sing little box

by Vasko Popa
 Give me back my rags

My rags of pure dreaming
Of silk smiling of striped foreboding
Of my cloth of lace

My rags of spotted hope
Of burnished desire of chequered glances
Of skin from my face

Give me back my rags
Give me when I ask you nicely

by Vasko Popa
 Toothed eyes fly
Over still waters

Around us purple lips
Flutter from branches

Screams hit the blue
And fall onto pillows

Our homes hide
Behind narrow backs

Hands clutch at
Flimsy clouds

Our veins roll turbid
Bed and tables

Of shattered bones
Noon has fallen into our hands

And turned all gloomy

An open grave on the face of the earth
On your face on my face


 Trans.
by Anne Pennington

by Vasko Popa
 From the wrinkle between my brows
You watch till day breaks
On my face

The waxen night
Is beginning to singe
The fingers of dawn

Black bricks
Have already tiled
The whole dome of the sky

by Vasko Popa
 to Karl Max Ostojic

Why do you stare at the little box 
That in her emptiness 
Holds the whole world 

If the little box holds 
The world in her emptiness 
Then the antiworld 
Holds the little box in its antihand 

Who'll bite off the antiworld's antihand 
And on that hand 
Five hundred antifingers 

Do you believe 
You'll bite it off 
With your thirty-two teeth 

Or are you waiting 
For the little box 
To fly into your mouth 

Is this why you are staring

by Vasko Popa
 The nights are running out of darkness

Steel branches grasp
The arms of passers-by

Only anonymour chimneys
Are free to walk the streets
Which slice across our sleeplessness

In the gutters our stars decay