From The Botanical Garden

by Goran Čolakhodžić


From The Botanical Garden

        O serre au milieu des fôrets!
        Et vos portes à jamais closes!
                M. Maeterlinck

1

the wall between the door and the corner at the end
of an equally dusky street
the door between the walls of thin air
which mark the edge of the world
(of a world, just a world among worlds)
the corner between light and dark
summit and ravine
(Horvatovac – Medveščak)
oh botanical garden, who knows what there is 
behind your door for me forever closed
in your midst a crossing of paths
a black pond between the spikes
of hairy flowerbeds
that protrude with promontories
onto little ways covered with needles with salvias
botanical garden botanical garden
my thoughts are mechanically turning
to the hothouse in your centre
o serre au milieu des fôrets
from all sides surrounded by shadows
of tall fir, larch and yew trees, of gnarled houses
oh you garden at the end of the world
you are like an echoing hangar
you are like the place where summers die
(sometime around the fifteenth of September)
oh garden oh hothouse oh mechanical botanical
tentacles of long pipes that feed the rows of reeds
in the dark in the wet a closed door 
hydroponic growing of medicinal plants oh garden
my legs mechanically plough 
through snow and ice as I tread towards you
I cross Schrott Street, I pull the door
the door remains stiff; I jump over the door
under me the pebbles crunch, crack and churn
oh hothouse in the middle of the forest
et vos portes à jamais closes
what is this garden at the end of my road
behind it a hospital, a hospital on the bank of a canal
oh you city trams in full sail on the water of  the stream of Medveščak
whither, trams, mechanical gardens
the vines of arms the flowers of heads oh hothouses
why this garden in the blackest darkness at the end of the street of death
reflections of the city
smells of stairs
oh garden oh night oh God when will we have rain
and wind and snow in the hothouse 

Translated from the Croatian, or written in English by the Author