Monday, July 4, 2022

Dragan Dragojlović

Dragan Dragojlović is a Serbian poet of the Orthodox Christian faith. He has served in various official roles for the Serbian government, including as ambassador to Australia from 1997 to 2001.The title of his 2017 collection Patriarch’s Ladders, refers of the ladder to heaven, and honours the late Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Dragojlović’s best known book, in English translation, Death’s Homeland (2008) is a collection of anti-war poems. He finds people’s religious motivations for war particularly appalling, and has emphasized “the tragic enigma of how people who believe in a loving God can murder each other…” At the Ecumenical Dialogue on Reconciliation in Belgrade in 1996 ― in his alternate role as Minister of Religions in the Serbian government ― he commented on the religious nature of the war in the former Yugoslavia: “Not that many combatants were devout believers, but they made little if any distinction between national and religious identity, nor did their religious communities encourage them to make such a distinction.”

Dragojlović has translated contemporary Chinese poet Zhao Lihong into Serbian, while his own Book of Love has been translated into Chinese.

If I Succeed in Producing a Poem

If I succeed in producing a poem
then I will not rue missing out the exhibition
of inanimate objects in sfumato technique
that brings our inner and painful side
closer to the light.

A poem need not be
similar to some paintings,
a limitless geometry of inexpressible beauty
born out of a marriage
of mutually remote words,
like the blending of colours on the canvas,
or like distant stars
that engender the sky
disclosing fragments of the principle
controlled by God.

Despite his faltering pen,
despite his self-consuming thoughts,
a poet touches upon the intangible
contained in each endless moment
as occasionally happens
on a painter’s canvas.

Essentially, the painting and the poem
are two forms of the same language
that can at times convey Perfection.

Humility forbids us to wonder
what God’s judgment of that would be.

*This is the first Kingdom Poets post about Dragan Dragojlović: second post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.