Photo of Ivan V. Lalić, Poet

In memory of Ivan V. Lalić – a poet of a deeply sensitive heart

(the 26th anniversary of his death)

Ivan V. Lalić (Jun 8, 1931 – July 28, 1996) was a Serbian neo-symbolic poet, essay writer, translator, journalist and literary critic. In addition to philosophical insights, his poetry abounds with spiritual, prayerful and deeply emotional (empathetic, tragic) expressions, especially when it comes to personal and mindful contemplation of history, Byzantium, Antiquity, the Mediterranean and earlier poets. Contemporary young poets in Serbia find in Lalić the greatest creative inspiration.

Alone as never [1]

Ivan V. Lalić

Alone as never as at the end of July
When the summer is a span [2] away from zenith,
And chlorophyll an ell [3] from the scattering flight
In the metastasis of yellowness and redness,

When darker green are colors
In the gardens, and the stubble is dry,
The darker bottom amplitude of humming
The wind temporal that blows all night.

Alone as never as in the end of July
When everything, you think, is within reach: the senses
Sharp as a knife still warm from the wheel

Of a sander, but essential is missing:
The angel you sense you won't meet,
And the air is pregnant with Gospel tweet.[4]

Photo of Ivan V. Lalić, Poet

(8. VII 1989)

Иван В. Лалић – НИКАДА САМЉИ

Никада самљи него крајем јула
Када је лету педаљ до зенита,
А хлорофилу аршин до расула
У метастази жутила и руја,

Тамније када зелене су боје
У вртовима, а стрњика сува,
Тамнија доња амплитуда бруја
Ветра што обноћ у времену дува.

Никада самљи него крајем јула
Кад све је, мислиш, на дохвату: чула
Оштра ко нож још топао од точка

Брусача, али битно недостаје:
Анђела кога слутиш нећеш срести,
А ваздух трудан је од благовести.

(8. VII 1989)

1  I dedicate this translation to a dear group of participants to the conference World gathering of Orthodox youth organized in Supraśl (Poland) from July 18 to 24 2022 and to dear fr. V. M. to whom Lalić is a favorite poet and whose blessing I felt indeed during the conference. Also, I am very heartly thouched by the fact that the monastery in Supraśl is dedicated to Annonciation and that this translation atmosphere is stil ’pregnant’ from the celebration of archangel Gabriel (- sent just a day after the feast - July 26, 2022) to whom monastery in Zemun (Serbia) is dedicated and from which I wrote at the moment.

 2 Span – old measure for distance (~22.9 cm);

 3 Ell – old measure for distance (~68.6 cm;

 4 Gospel (gracious) tweet – Annunciation.

Photo source: newspaper Politika,

Zoran Matić is a research associate at the University of Belgrade (Serbia) who has just finished his Ph.D. studies in biomedical engineering. Together with Zlatko Vujanović, Zoran is translating Jim Forest's book 'Loving our Enemies' into Serbian.