Since nobody took the time to translate the entire Bulgarian canon, somebody has to do it. And here we are. Unless stated otherwise, the translations have been made by Flame. Most Bulgarian text originals are taken from my 11/12th grade chrestomathies published by Bulvest 2000 in Sofia, 2010.
This will also include translations of original non-English/French poems.
‘Contemporary Times’, Ognyan ‘Flame’ Darinov (org. in Bulgarian)
Oh my God, dear God!
Do you not see these “poets”:
distant from social contact – asceticism!
women’s beauty they write – aestheticism!
without any rhymes in their verse,
and reading them a little I found it worse
how they shamelessly rhyme wonderful days
with uninspired dative Is* – so stays
asleep their spirit for creation, poisoned by layness.
They know not what art is! It, I say, is
lightness and dark, sun and rain
a daydream eternal – happiness and pain;
a calling, a name – not a social title
a poet that poets is a banal recital
of which everyone dreams – no! – there’re no dreams here
merely lowly human desires. And I hear
the sound of a cigarette going out and the smokèd fume
clichéd, but beloved image, it is even the favourite
of our youth: new, weak, exhausted and dying,
in need of someone to send it
Oh how wretched
is this life.
A suffering it might be, but a life not quite.
*In Bulgarian the words 'day' and 'me' rhyme. This is an overt criticisim about the abuse of this rhyme between 'мен'-'ден'.
**The original word here is 'гурбет', which encapsulates the idea of Fremdarbeit. I have chosen to use the German word for its concise nature.
‘Dream of Joy’, Pencho P. Slaveikov
Excerpts. ‘Literature Chrestomathy, 11th Grade’, pp. 226-227
No breath doth expire over pollens,
nor tremble a leaf from trees,
an azure face contemplates the sky
in a sea of limpid dew.
At early dawn on the road, I breathe
the summer morning’s coolth –
and with caress to my lively soul
it grants my journey an opulent dream.*
And I know that in this lonely grave,
where a desertic recess lonely is,
buried a caressed hand
an uncared for life orphaned.
Now for this uncaring life,
in uncaring life alone I long…
Lonely grave in lonely recess,
a desert around mute remains.
*T/N: These two lines can also be read as:
'My lively soul yearns for an opulent dream for the light travel [ahead].'
'An opulent dream caresses my lively soul to make the journey easier.'
'My lively soul yearns for a light journey [like] an opulent dream.'
The last one is a stretch, but I will not be surprised to find people disagreeing on what this line actually means. Nonetheless, I am happy that the modernists adhered to their polysemous aesthetics.
‘Blind Poem’, Ognyan ‘Flame’ Darinov (org. in Spanish)
I exhale and deplore
that I do nothing here
I can do
Don’t even see or watch my eyes
Do not cry or stand out
They are cameras