Vasko Popa


Yawn of Yawns

Translated by Anne Pennington

Once upon a time there was a yawn
Not under the palate not under the hat
Not in the mouth not in anything

It was bigger than everything
Bigger than its own bigness

From time to time
Its darkness dull desperate darkness
In desparation would flash here and there
You might think it was stars

Once upon a time there was a yawn
Boring like any yawn
And still it seems it lasts

Notes on this poem

This translation is by Anne Pennington and revised by Francis R. Jones, and was published in Vasko Popa’s Complete Poems 1953-87 (Anvil, 1997, 2011). It is updated from the version by Aleksander Stefanovic published in Modern Poetry in Translation No.1. It is published here by permission of Carcanet Press.