A prolonged and warning cry of Saša Milivojev is always and anew prompting us to carefully contemplate the world we are living in. Alas, the world is far too small for a true literate and must be treated planetarly. However, these verses of Saša are not sent forth from Pan’s flute, they are wailing from Rumi’s Nay, a type of Middle-Eastern flute. And it seems as if, they are once again embodying the warning and worrying words of Rumi “Don’t sit under a tree with those that do not understand you, sit only with those who know and understand you. Sit only under a tree that is full of blossoms”, from now on.
My Saša, it is hard being a poet in these times, dry and wasted. It is as hard as ascending the Axis mundi, the never-ending, invisible, heavenly pillar. The heavens are soaring and the earth is unyielding. A timber post is easy to climb – they have stirrups. But it is worth it, and it is possible, with help of universal thought and fierce words. I know Saša that you eagerly wanted to find the right words for the contemporary wanderings of the frightfully perplexed world. You succeeded in terms of themes, however, how does one find the right, unadulterated words for themes so terribly compelling? You have succeeded, oftentimes, with poignant thought, although sometimes suffocating the words with gratuitous rhymes… And there once again, just like Rumi’s nightingale, who landing on the rose’s thorn, still continues to sing. You were not afraid of the thorn. Although you walk on the thorns. Your cry is not coming from Voltaire’s garden, it is a celestial cry from the depths of hell. For the One who is capable of hearing.
And so, in this vertiginous and puzzled world, the Jupiter and Venus are embracing, however, luckily, there are men who don’t believe that man and the donkey are smarter than the man. You got that right, Saša. It is right to fight against that poison that is, in your own words “on the planet of the reptiles, piles of human corpses”. Are we going to be burying them in cardboard coffins, the likes of WWII Britain?
Had it not been for a fact that I myself am a child of a poet, I may have failed to perceive the talent of a young man who lives faraway from his hometown, yet not far from his ancient archetype. Was Sasha Milivoyev born a poet, or is this what he had become, out of what breadth bears in its trail, that sharpens the senses and adds up all the sufferings, regardless. Milivoyev is simply a poet in the melancholy backdrop of the maker, who is sheltered and strengthened by his verses. Milivoyev knows that with poetry one transcends to timelessness, to infinity, to imortality and namelessness in which we become the twins and transmitters of Chist’s words, hence in his “Message After death” he says:
And I have died, in antiquity, and noone ached for me. Some rejoiced, young as I was, as I bled on the cross, drenched in blood, in agony.
Not a single tear rolled down for me, when they nailed my bones to yew, the dzelats were singing sneeringly. and I was smiling, forgivingly.
In that life so brief, in that cauldron of hell in the tarnished jaws I begged for love with poetry, fruitlessly.
Earnestly, the poet perceives the timelessness and supremacy of creation in which, owing to poetry no less, he forgives the numerous bypassers of life and looks at humanity from some other, altogether tranquil, distant angle. Milivoyev sings:
And as I have perished to all I have forgiven, soaring to Third Heaven.
Into the mountains of crimson jade, Barefoot with the angels I stroll, It is raining milk and honey on the squares of the city of gold, just as it did before.
Was there ever a true poet that did not dream of his own passing, especially being a melancholic? There is no poet that does not live a second or third life, through poetry bestowed. Sasha Milivoyev flawlessly perceives this ceaseless orbit, and hence draws to a close the most beautiful of his poems with these words:
Here, there is no pain and misery, resentment and poverty, fear and sin, by the beautiful streams, sweet fruits are blossoming, here, love is always waiting for you when you come to stay from far, far away.
The poet is within us, although at times miles away. It is with his gift that he transcends through space and time. With his talent, Milivoyev embodies just that. That is why his poetry is an internal howl that discerns the futility of the subjacent world of suffering and grief. The greatness of the poet lies in living in the suffering yet speaking from the unforeseeable heights, transforming the suffering into a blessing and being triumphant.
Faraway from his homeland Serbia, Sasha Milivoyev is nonetheless close to all of us. He left, but he knows that here, for him, love will always be the way, when he comes from far away. The Poets Souls Society is always waiting for him.
At last, an old Russian song says: All you need is to look up at the dark and towering, star embellished night skies’ to see the one that is faraway… And so, I too, can now, at night, from the vast distance, see and hear the poet Sasha Milivoyev.
PhD Mila Alečković professor of psychology and psychiatry, author
ex University of Sorbonne
International Society for Psychopathology of Expression and Art Therapy
Translated by Ljubica Yentl Tinska
Sasha Milivoyev is an eminent Serbian writer, poet, columnist and a journalist, residing in Dubai, having left Serbia a long time ago due to discrimination, censorship (and blocking) in all media. He was one of the most widely read columnists in Serbia, the author of five books and a hundred columns published in daily newspapers. He is the author of the novel “The Boy from the Yellow House” as well as the numerous political speeches. His works have been translated into some twenty languages worldwide…
THE EMIR OF THE CONTEMPORARY POETRY OF SERBIA ASIDE A BRITISH LIGHTHOUSE THE PAIN OF THE WORLD
Scientific overview of the song – the poem THE PAIN OF THE WORLD. A prelude to the poetics of Saša Milivojev. Penned by: THE NATIONAL PEST. Translated into English by: Ljubica Yentl Tinska
January 25th, 2019
TO EACH TIME ITS EAST
THE EMIR AND THE TEMPEST
At the pinnacle of the Winter that was according to the global administrative calendar divided between the years 2018 and 2019, Saša Milivojev conceived a poem named “The Pain of the World”. Its title evoked memories not of Byron, yet of Shelley, and it is because of those memories that I rest these words of the Emir of the contemporary poetry of Serbia aside a British lighthouse.
ID OF “THE PAIN OF THE WORLD”
Served to the World, as a sizzling song, Saša Milivojev’s poem to be, “The Pain of the World”, clearly walked the content obsessed reader from Homer (has been or never was and whatever name bore he who recounted the atrocities of today) to Miloš (structurally, although it is known that Milivojev does not emulate), Darwish (Milivojev is also displaced, relocated poet, kindred by the inclination towards the exhaustive, brutal yet highly lyrical – although it is certain that one has not read the other), and Vasiljev (the reader being burdened by the textual legacy of the tongue in which Milivojev authentically sings).
Transcended to other tongues, fine-tuned to the rhythm of this World – not by what he addresses, rather by what those writings emit and by the inscribed – Balkan Soyinka, called Shoyinka upon a visit to Belgrade. How those who announced him, upon being awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature, pronounced his name, fails me.
BRINGING MILK TO THE FORE
Each man has his East, that is not necessarily one’s Source. It is a blazing South, that one shelters from in the Summer, and seeks shelter upon when fogs descend below street lanterns and seawolves (those old poets, even romanticists, post-romanticists and neo-romanticists) percept the lighthouses sheltering the cottages in which boils the water that is never to become tea. Who would drink it without the milk? Yet why is there no milk?
Why is there no milk? Those who perceive, consider and acknowledge themselves as Poets, not poets, scribblers or scribblemen are shouting out rather than asking. They are the ones – who have known from the very dawn of their perception that they were exceptional and this distinction they do not deny. They set it forth on their own accord, exhibit it and worship. They know how to capture the world and draw its attention to their extraordinary being. They are prompting the mankind to remember – that ambrosia, that implies immortality is of no significance, without that which nips mortality in the bud: It is not the air we live off, a new-born cannot survive on air only, without not ambrosia, not water, not wine, but milk, milk, milk. There have been and are but a few throughout the world who have been and are perspicacious, audacious and ready to voice this and Saša Milivojev is among them.
THE TROUBLE WITH THE POET
Saša Milivojev is a Poet. This is what he is by his perception and calling, followed by the self-awareness. One step ahead of the world, never turning back, boldly challenging the mankind and pointing his finger at whatever themes are eating mankind when he sings. Milivojev, therefore intentionally chooses what to sing and to whom. His is the song of everyman, however fundamentally addressed at men of power. How is this and why?
The answer lies in revealing who will not drink tea without the milk, and is tea what the word is about: the weather, as well as the entire reality of the world is not a good enough reason or a fair-minded explanation, justification and finally a valid excuse for the milkmaid’s son not having swapped around the empty bottles by the sailors front doors with the full.
Is reality accountable (Ah, that son of the milkmaid!) for poets spinning in circles (waiting only for the vampirished „beloved deceased“), or is it the poet where the trouble is? Could this be why he is not a Poet after all? Yet Milivojev is. And how is that?
Milivojev knows that the one who fails to methodically perceive the past, and perceives as the past what is considered to be tradition, who selectively approaches the thesaurus of human experience, the legacy in itself and one’s own native singing tongue, is not the selector of the motives, nor of the themes, yet rather the selector of reality.
Milivojev also knows what reality is: it vitally is what it is now, whilst essentially being what it has always been, including the present. Milivojev knows, that it is not the fate of Troy, nor the Vietnam war (neither as the actual nor as the processed “reminders” of the entertainment world, preserved as means of implementation of the new epic consciousness), yet it is the bleeding wounds, blown up body parts that are still warm and fresh corpses that count. Who is stumbling upon the limbs, whose body is reeking, whose fresh wounds are aching? Milivojev knows!
Milivojev knows and therefore addresses the mankind, pointing his finger to what a blind eye is turned. And it is with the gaze which is unmoving from the sight, that is more horrid than a nightmare, yet is our reality, that he reveals the culprit – not even having to name him.
From infinity to eternity all the seawolves of the universe, all poets of the world, have intertwined their verses with Her – a goddess, a muse, the beloved (with her sparrow no less, as did Catullus, (if those were some other times, I wouldn’t have to protect myself by mentioning the poet, because there wouldn’t be a reader around who would not know that I am referring to The Death of Lesbias Sparrow)), a mother, somebody’s wife and (unvampirished) beloved deceased (we could say her name has been Lenore way back from romanticism until today when and if speaking of ballads and – the motive), yet what is Milivojev doing?
Saša Milivojev is not pointing his finger at the ever guilty “woman” in “The Pain of the World” (although in his mother tongue the country is motherland, as is in Serbian tongue the unnamed, mysterious power of either kind), the woman is rather, as is the man, indivisible by sex and gender. She is there, she is present, as is the man, as a part of the cruel and unfortunate catalogue of our (not epic, yet real and empirically well shod) conscience. Our “Catalogue of Ships” however, accounts not for the ships and the ethnicities upon them, yet for corpses, corpses, corpses.
TO THE SEVENTH HEAVEN IT’S HEARD
Milivojev is the one who boldly and responsibly, with verses incisive and impenetrable, inscribes into the generic poem of the world and the universal human epos not tribes and mythical heroes – the future symbols of all and everything – yet human sufferers, human victims, humans who are children and the elderly, women and men that are on the other side of the lighthouse, where the capricious heirs of the fleets carrying tea decline, that there exist a different Other, the unbowed Other, free Other, who breathes and drinks, drinks, drinks milk.
Have the Empires foregone (especially the colonial, emphasised so in the post-colonial discourse) remained unlearned by their own recent fiascos? Are they unable to see that the heirs of the nobleman who once tailored the borders of states do the same today to the detriment of their own possessions? Is Milivojev, who sings not of London brimming with British Indians, addressing this, however non explicitly yet explicitly singing, weeping, to the Seventh Heaven it’s heard, about canyons brimming with the Afghans.
As colonial seawolves, or shall I say romanticists would say, Milivojev sings „colonially without a doubt “, bestowing the world with the consequences, consequences, consequences. While the Empire (which is also in Milivojevs mother tongue of female gender), remains silent.
TRIANGLES AND THE APPLE JAM
Let us go back to asking ourselves why is there no milk.
Although, by experience if not by reason, the learned wife of a seawolf, a good standing grandmother with a few greys, believes and knows why her grandson, used not to tea, yet to pure milk, not as hot as rather scalding, with four triangles of bread joined with apple jam, does not accept a single because. He is entitled to his mug of milk and will not accept shoddy breakfast, partially fulfilled role of the ancestors to nurture and feed him. And what of the upbringing?
Saša Milivojev has no illusions and is not afraid to say it as it is: the grandson of the seawolf does not want to be cultivated, rather to cultivate. He brings fear to the wind, and the cow and his own inmates – seldom sweetly, often fiercely, driving out the force as far away from home, yet the further it is, the greater it becomes. Carpets of bombs, salvos of missiles, kilotons of radioactive humanitarian food and fattening of the mankind with lies and misconceptions, it is what even a non-poet can see, yet only a Poet can, may and dares to perceive – loudly and clearly.
Cultivation and education impose boundaries on freedom to accept but a single fact. However, socialisation does not necessarily lead to finding understanding within the society, the nature and amalgamation of the two. It does not lead to accepting the culture, not even to walking in step with civilisation yet it does not alter them either. „The Pain of the World“ is Milivojev’s warning to the world:
The progeny is more likely to seek the existing culture and civilisation he is best suited to, and remain as its part for as long as and while it is so, then proceeding further and beyond – never to the South, always to the East, from West even. He leaves the South for the Ancestors – to warm their freezing bones and seek shelter from what they were unable to change. And it is the Winter they were unable to change, to rearrange, relocate to malarious regions. They have relocated, not temporarily it appears, merely certain people unworthy of changing and many, many customs and habits. One of them is – killing. Still, have the seawolves evolved at the least?
The progeny of the seawolves are no longer changing the world and freeing captured kings. Byron, even if he was to be born again, would not be standing side with the Greeks against the Turks, he would rather be assisting the Turks in establishing the romanticised order (in changing the Arabic with the Latin alphabet on the tables, so that „everybody would be able to read them“).
Non-methodical revelation of the world, immediate riposte to the pain of man, to the very physical pain, unburdened by the literature and birthright, is the ubiquitous, pain of the world. The concept has therefore, complemented the content altering its scope. There is no violent death that is painless not even when it is unheard, brought not by machine guns, canons and other countless weapons including the cold. Truth be told, reading Saša’s, rather than some Germanic „Weltschmerz”, one wonders whether chemical weapons are equivalent to white arms.
There are no Romanticists left, without a prefix, in either Germany nor Britain, and neither are born there either. They are yet to come, but they must first be born. Their poetic and poethological ancestor has set foot on his chosen East a long time ago, reaching it from Byron’s South and Shelley’s East. He knows that the Epos is thisworldly because of reality that is its fundamental component, as much as he knows that reality is more than something to sing about or, in terms of this century, cry about. He knows, he sings, and his name is Saša Milivojev.
In this century withal
Rivers of blood still flow
Children are being killed
Heads are being severed
Millions are starving
Diseases are devouring
And you are singing
The gallows are trembling
In the valley of the fallen
In the salty tears
With our putrescent sores
We fall prey to the crows
Our festering entrails
For the starving wolves
A shattered house
Little boy is weeping
Over the body of his Father
That forever now is sleeping
Schools Temples and bridges bleeding
bloodstained wedding guests are screaming
Little white coffins
Hear the painful growls
Delirious poets are prattling
And not a word are you uttering
They blinded you
When they raped your daughter
Strangled ‘er with the wire
They abducted your brothers
Tortured in the cellar
Shattered their fingers
With ferrous clubs
With a saw agape their skulls
Their legs wagons lacerated
Their limbs with machete dissected
Flayed the skin of their backs
Dumpers of corpses
Bulldozers to the grave consigned
Roads run over their bones in cement confined
Bodies filled the bottomless well over the brim
The infinite darkness of the abyss
To hear the silence of the universe
A spark is glistening in an innocent eye
Children are helplessly falling to the dust
Venomous saliva dripping from their mouth
As their rosy intumescent faces bust
In their closing prayer
Reverends to a cross immured
Laughing at the stake they burned
Tender ivory cherubs
Flew away like a flock of birds
Rip my heart out from my chest
As I am unsleeping
May your golden ship catch wind away from shore
To raise your glass of blood once more
As you feast your eyes in silence
Saša Milivojev is a famous writer, poet, journalist columnist and political analyst… One of the most read columnists in Serbia, he is the author of five books, and numerous columns published in various daily newspapers. He is the author of the novel „The Boy from the Yellow House“ and of political speeches. His work has been translated into around twenty languages across the world.