Translation of Atanas Dalchev

18/08/2011 by Christopher Buxton


The windows – shut tight and blackened,

And blackened and shut tight, the door,

And the door bears the fluttering message

“The owner has gone to America.”

And I am the home’s only owner

Where nobody’s made his abode

And I’ve set out for nowhere

And from nowhere I’ve returned

I never take a step from my house

And the years are my only visitors,

But so often the gardens have yellowed,

And I’m certainly not the same chap.

All the books have been read long ago

And all memory’s paths have been trampled

And how here as if for a hundred years

I talk exclusively to the portraits.

And day and night and night and day the clock

Swings its brass sun pendulum.

Occasionally I pose before the mirror

So as not to be always alone.

And my days slowly climb the walls

In the flicker of dying embers:

My life passes away without a trace

Of a single love or incident

It’s as if I’ve never lived at all

And my existence is an evil fantasy.

If someone happens to enter the house,

They’ll find nobody in.

They’ll only see the dusty portraits,

The perfidious empty mirror

And on the door a yellowing message:

“The owner has gone to America.”

Atanas Dalchev 1925