Sunday, July 28, 2019


Nikola Vaptsarov..(1909-1942)..A small Tribute...

Today is death anniversary of Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov. He was killed by Nazi forces today after being traced  in  his exile . He was killed because he believed differently. He was a poet ,engineer ,trade union leader and a communist. When Hitler 's army invaded Europe,  they were  in Bulgaria for sometime preparing for their attack on Russia.  Those who opposed Nazi invasion of Europe were put before  firing Squad by advancing German troops..So many went into exile .

If you visit beautiful Bulgaria, you find roads, theatres , institutions and many academies named after this patriot known world over as Nikola Vaptsarov. His statue has been  erected in many cities and towns.Bulgarians love the man and his poetry.

He wrote poetry till his last breath. Pablo Neruda has said that poetry is indebted to Nikola for what he did. I quote his last poem  ' On Parting'   that he scribbled two hours before facing Nazi firing squad.
(On Parting)

To my wife
Sometimes I’ll come when you’re asleep,
An unexpected visitor.
Don’t leave me outside in the street,
Don’t bar the door!

I’ll enter quietly, softly sit
And gaze upon you in the dark.
Then, when my eyes have gazed their fill,
I’ll kiss you and depart.

* * *

The fight is hard and pitiless.
The fight is epic, as they say.
I fell. Another takes my place –
Why single out a name?

After the firing squad – the worms.
Thus does the simple logic go.
But in the storm, we’ll be with you,
My people, for we loved you so.

2 p.m. – 23 July, 1942

And his poem 'History' has been translated into almost every major Language of the world.Here lies history:-


will you mention us In your faded scroll ?
We worked in factories,
offices — Our names were not well-known.
We worked in fields,
smelled strongly Of onions and sour bread.
Through thick moustaches angrily
We cursed the life we led.
Will you at least be grateful
We fattened you with news,
And slaked your thirst so richly
With the blood of slaughtered crowds ? You'll view the panorama,
O'erlook the living centre,
And no one will remember
The simple human drama.
The poets will be distracted
With pamphlets,
 progress rates ; Our unrecorded suffering Will roam alone in space.
Was it a life worth noting,
A life worth digging up
Unearthed, it reeks of poison,
Tastes bitter in the cup.
We were born along the hedgerows.
 In the shelter of stray thorns
Our mothers lay perspiring,
Their dry lips tightly drawn.
 We died like flies in autumn.
The women mourned the dead,
Turned their lament to singing
But only the wild grass heard.
We who survived our brothers,
Sweated from every pore,
 Took any job that offered,
Toiled as the oxen do.
 At home our fathers taught us :
 "So shall it always be/ But we scowled back and spat on Their fool's philosophy.
 We kicked the table over,
Ran out of doors,
and there In the open felt the stirring Of something bright and fair.
How anxiously we waited In little-known cafes,
And turned in late at night With the last communiques !
 How we were soothed by hoping ! . .
But leaden skies pressed lower,
The scorching wind hissed viciously . . Till we could stand no more !
But in your endless volumes
 Beneath each letter and line
Our pain will leer forbiddingly
And raise a bitter cry.
For life,
showing no mercy,
With heavy brutish paw
 Battered our hungry faces. That's why our tongue is raw.
 That's why the poems I'm writing In hours I steal from sleep,
Have not the grace of perfume
But brief and scowling beat.
For the hardship and affliction
We do not seek rewards,
 Nor do we want our pictures In the calendar of years.
But tell our story simply
 To those we shall not see,
Tell those who will replace us — We fought courageously.

Here is another  poem:-


There's a crowd at the door
where the floodlit posters
'A human Drama.'
There's a crowd at the door
and the King's nickel horseman
in the pressure
of my pain.

On the square white screen
in the darkened hall
the Metro lion
sleepily yawns.
Suddenly a road
and a forest appear,
and above - the blue sky.
Expansive, clear.

Meeting at the bend
two sleek limousines
It's our hero
and heroine.

Promptly the gentleman
leaves his car,
picks up the woman
in though steel arms.
Slowly she opens
eyes that smoulder,
flutters her lashes
and skyward stares.
O what a beautiful
thoroughbred mare!

Nightingales, sure enough,
sing in the trees
where the peaceful azure
filters down through the leaves,
and yonder
the soft green meadow

Lustfully greasy
John kisses Greta.
Lascivious lips
start slobbering...
Where is our fate here?
Where is the drama?
Where am I? Tell me!
Ready to shoot, the explosive time
presses a gun against our spine.

In our love,
in our grief
can we be so naive
with our chests full of smoke
and our lungs T.B.?

Do we meet
those we love
in a sleek
Our love arises
at work -
amid smoke,
amid soot
and machines.
Then comes the grey life,
the struggle for bread,
the vague dreams -
every night in the cheap narrow bed
we barely perceptibly weaken and die.

That's how it is.
And there is the drama!
Everything else -
is a lie!
(Avtar Mota.. 23.07.2019)

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Chinar Shade by  Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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