Dreams of Joy and Where to Find Them

Have you ever had a dream of joy? Croyez-le ou pas, you can find one in the image above.

And while the monetary value of (equivalently) 25 euros is quite attractive, that is not quite what I’m referring to. The portrait of Pencho P. Slaveikov is what evokes the dream of joy, for he wrote a homonymous poetic cycle.

You will be absolutely shocked to discover that Bulgarian poetry is not widely translated into English. Rather, there is no easily accessible, ‘best’ or definitive translation, not even for the magnum opi. As such, I will dedicate a page for this purpose. In this way you can perhaps gleam into some of the points I would like to make. All translations will be original unless stated otherwise. (Translation is actually one of the topics I am the most passionate about, but more on that in the future.)

I fondly remember this work not particularly because of my attachment to its content, but because of its aesthetic, rather than its aesthetics. I do not particularly fancy the theme of journey and nature, but I find the poetic cycle inspiring as such.

Slaveikov has a few short stories that reflect on the role of the artist, whether he or she should be an outsider, what kind of contribution their work is and should strive to be, etc. Examples of this are ‘Cis Moll’, ‘Michel Angelo’ and ‘Olaf van Geldern’.

And here I made one of the first contributions to literature class that I was quite happy with: “If we accept that ‘Cis Moll’ and ‘Michel Angelo’ are a study of the artist in front of their art, then ‘Dream of Joy’ could be taken as the ‘pure’ work of art itself, where Slaveikov offers a perfected piece free from the inner struggled that Beethoven and Michelangelo suffer.” This was perhaps my first breakthrough in literature class. I haven’t slowed down since.

Without further ado, I here present the work I produced from this memorable experience:


If I die in eternal sleep
will I dream forever?
I shall go however deep
to withstand this endeavour

I yearn for a dream of joy
to which no man has aspired
where there is no evil to destroy
where no weapon has been fired

Will my memory be left to keep?
I care not, for ‘tis only a lever
If I die in eternal sleep
do I dare to dream forever?

This piece is the odd one in my collection. Its rhythm is fairly consistent, alternating rhymes; it appears almost unilateral and monotone. I see it as a jewel that is quite particular in its outlook, difficult to like. Yet it has its charm, and you probably will not find another like it in my writings.

I know I make up a lot of words, but I was really wondering whether the poem focuses on the Dream or the Death. Ultimately it conveys a feeling of dread, so I found this title appropriate. Huh. Perhaps the poem wasn’t as shallow as I thought it was.

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