Peyo Yavorov


‘Neath tender enchantments of a dreamy evening
And the two of us burning – don’t come too close.
In my arms I have taken you, whenever I want you
Every inch to cleave to you – and so we will melt
In bliss and forgetting, then painfully distant
From my self, I would  feel you at last.

Ah dreamy evening, veiling our eyes
And the two of us melting – but stay further off…
I have lost sight of you, once I stop thinking
That because of you, we shall burn, exhausted
Each in each other; and how close, so close,
I would come to feel you at last.



Even last night I dreamt of you, my dear,
I dreamt of you in slumber by my side,
Snuggling on my shoulder, head and hair.

All the dark was sharply lit
Your eyes, within my misty sight,
Were burning, to a future, clearly set…

Once there was a time – those were days so joyful
Before good sense would make its mark
And from every glass, you’d drunk your fill.

I woke up and shed my tears till dawn
I sobbed, through the impenetrable dark
Lamenting your fate and my lot forlorn.


To Laura

My soul is an outcry, my soul is a groan
Because I’m a bird shot out of the sky
Mortally wounded my soul cannot fly
Mortally wounded by love it lies prone.
My soul is an outcry, my soul is a groan.
Say what’s the point of meeting and parting?
Here let me tell you, there’s hell and suffering
And in suffering love lies prone.
Mirages are close, the road almost lost.
Amazingly smiling exuberance
Of greedy youth and ignorance
Of lustrous flesh and drifting ghost
Mirages are close, the road almost lost
Because she stands and blinds my eyes
Stands but doesn’t hear my sighs
She – both flesh and drifting ghost.


My soul is captive but resigned,

imprisoned by your soul,- in thrall,

my soul dwells in two tranquil eyes

my soul tight wedged and begging you:

It pleads; I gaze on you – a whole age passes…

Your sorceress soul stays quiet still.

My soul is plagued by thirst and hunger,

but your soul utters ne’er a word.

Your soul, a child and a divinity…

Silence is regnant in your eyes:

your soul perhaps is quite embarrassed

by its overshare of magic


You’ll be dressed in White


You’ll be dressed in white – with an olive branch

And like an angel in white clothing…

And I think now of the world without loathing

not rank with evil, it’s the land of your birth,

And here uncertainty will finally cease

Midst faithless trouble – I want peace


And with faith I’ll unfold embraces

Watched over by two loving eyes

And hushed I’ll drink their rays

I’ll drink in light, in healing sips

And again I’ll turn enlightened away

To see the world whole in the halcyon day.


And let it turn out to be broken

(Was it once I came to stumble

roaming in the dark on rubble? )

And even then I would have found

debris from which I could assemble

A new world for us, both world and temple.

Peyo Yavarov


Song of My Song

At last you return, wretched wanderer,

with head held high –

to me, here, in hostile isolation.

Don’t look back with dark words

of fright and vexation –

I know everything…

But you must know too: they died there

the devil and god together .


Come to me. come into me.  Tell me:

where haven’t you been, where haven’t I been

hot on your trail?

Zigzags everywhere out of reach…

Where did I not burn from jealousy

in summer sweat and winter frost?


Weren’t you in the poky cellar

of a shabby worker, icy famished –

and say, pauper, didn’t he lie

about festivity, fresh air and sky?

In the fields with uncultured peasants

did you not

waste whole days with him,

ventured yourself for your dreams?

Out in the scree of dark mountains –

a brigand sister – and over the grave

did you not shed giant tears

measuring mourning with a wretched slave?

And faced by wantonness with beggarly dread

did you not sob for a look and a smile

and faced by innocence did you not whisper

a word of seduction shamelessly

to remain forever without shame!


And now that you come back exhausted,

frightened, rejected, broken.

…A mouth from whose lips

more than one drunkard’s drained your rubies.

Through those days, unclean hands

have untangled, mangled, befouled

the silk of your hair.

In the bloody embrace of a butcher

did you not bend once?

Did I not hear debauchery mock your innocence

and innocence shower you

with howls of the damned?


And now that you come back, exhausted,

frightened, rejected, broken.

Don’t look back – there’s no-one living

among the crowd of the dead:

a few stayed back there

skeletal through the silence

of memory fog.


The same ruffian, I followed in your wake

and I demanded:

What she hated what she loved?

I was helpless in jealousy, strong in hate

and I pondered:

what’s her fancy, what turns her on?

Your voice deafens my steps everywhere.

I searched high and low

then I searched for them –

souls imprisoned for a moment


In vain I sought out truth from them,

founded on sin and deceit.

In vain I sought even the lie –

god of eternity, soul in the soul.

Suffering! A suffering that’s banal,

pathetic, indifferent,

there somewhere in the middle

of the truth and the lies…


And here’s me now: look the zenith – loneliness.

And you return, my beauty!

So there’s no evil, pain, life

outside my heart – a tomb,

where the ashes lie

of every truth-falsehood.

So there is no spirit and there’s no thing

outside my breast  – a furnace

of eternal living flame,

a temple of full eternity.


And you return! – festive day…

I’ll puff and with a bloody flame

Wood and stone will flare.

Be with me – be in me…

Midst bloody flame and smoke,

through the sweltering smog,

the heavens in your gaze

will be savagely reflected.

Soul will yearn for them!

You gaze at them and sing to me

of cold peace and eternal forgetting.


Midst flames and hellish smoke

the pair of us shall burn,

beautiful in black ugliness

and ugly in radiant beauty –

through sweltering smog,

in yearning for heavenly peace,

the pair of us shall burn here.

You and me together, our song.

Peyo Yavorov
Translation Christopher Buxton

I often see them on the town
at every corner up and down
Macedonia’s children:
From young to old, early to late
still more new guests – refugees –
stepsons stepdaughters of fate…

From precious home in conflagration
with just one life its preservation,
they come as whirlwind, madly sweep
behind Rila every hour they tear
at forests roused from centuries’ sleep,
and fall as leaves amongst us.

…Look an old man here, hunched up,
he’s brought his grandson not grown up,
he squints and peers at strangers’ doors;
he wanders crazy all day long
mumbling the same astonished song
that he cannot find his house at all.

…Look a mother with a baby swaddled,
stands up straight before god’s temple,
alongside standard freak beggary;
in her deeply jaundiced eyes
there is no shame, but horror lies:
she stretches out for charity!

…Out on the street look at that girl,
left on her own to strive in this world
doesn’t know which path to take:
but even dressed in a tatty coat
she’s an elf queen at her post
she’ll not be left without a crumb…

And my encounters never cease,
under rain and wind, and snow and ice,
amid the wolf pack human race
from the empty vault of heaven’s space
they wait for mercy and protection.

They wait for mercy… if I knew
some god almighty up in the blue
stood over all like a cold voyeur,
I’d shout from the depths of my breast
at this dark manufacturer
oh, mighty god, be thou accursed.

Torn fluttering leaf

Torn fluttering leaf…that God knows whence
the wind has blown.
And the orphan
thus departs for foreign climes –
far far away, alone.

Torn fluttering leaf…rest here in peace
in some valley earth.
As for the orphan –
who attends to his weeping
for the land of his birth?