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Tomislav Marijan Bilosnić: A PRAYER TO SAINT FRANCIS

Tomislav Marijan Bilosnić

May God grant us peace
that birds may inherit the earth,
and we – make friends with beasts.

May God grant us peace
by a cross of bodily wings
that, even in death, we may keep company
with tiny creatures.

Dear Saint Francis, when you start
up the path to the hillside
may all the little mountain birds
dart to the field.
That is God’s will: that angels and birds
should open the windows on every blade of grass
so it lights up like a young star’s plumage

May chirping wake me
like water draining away,
may chirping rouse me
like flames flickering
in your wings’ embrace

Please, let not the birds go silent
not even at dusk, when sheep begin to bleat.
I can’t live concealed in glass,
I loathe the tongue spread out on the metal fence.
Please, let me remember
the hummingbirds quivering like nerves
over great worries.
Let there be engraved in memory
how we protect an ant with hot sand
amid a human multitude.
Let my flaws be known
as the awakening of worm and butterfly together.
Let my torment be remembered
as the wind braying like a donkey.

Looking for the road you walked,
a wolf and a lamb at your side,
I saw a fish unconquerable like a bird,
I saw a donkey and a wasp suffering the same,
a white cloud carrying our souls to heaven.

What is as beautiful as the fear of the tiger,
as this story,
a spider at its end, weaving his web
luminous like a butterfly
rising at dawn.

May God grant us peace
may our family not lack
not even bugs –
bulls bow their bulky head
under their sway.

May God grant us such peace
that the sparrow not relent for a second
chipping unceasingly
until we – lonely to death – hear the dogs bark.

May the fish inherit the earth,
may the wasp inherit the earth
and the ant
and the cicada.
May the wild horse inherit it
and the fly
that wafts lightly above our wounds.
May portly roosters
eagerly awaiting the dawn in my garden
crow like memories.

Dear Saint Francis, with every
creature you have walked, with every
creature you have sung,
peered into their souls,
remote like gems.
You know the history of voices
in each wild beast’s and
tame animal’s ear.
You know the right name of the ant
climbing up the old mulberry tree
in my courtyard.
So tell me, please,
is he better off than I?

Playing at butterflies
I will, no doubt, see the caterpillar no more
who waited for me all night long
on the cedar branch
of memories.
Walking by the horses
that recede like shadows
I watch their hooves gone blind
facing the dust.
Speaking to lambs,
I ushered in the sun brimming with cicadas and ants.
Other creatures have burst in, too
handsome like the image of the Christ Child.

Fish peering into the water
drape the dreary depth of time.
Bugs peering into the sky
clothe the desert of life.
Dear Saint Francis, I pray,
reach for the secret of your keys
and open my heart, let me show my love
to the first creature I meet in the dust
like an idle sheep on the road.

Translated from the Croatian by Roman Karlović

Tomislav Marijan Bilosnić, na Cvjetnicu 2021.

Tomislav Marijan Bilosnić (was born in January 18th in 1947, at Zemunik, Zadar, Croatia) is a contemporary Croatian author, poet, feuilletonist, travels writer, critic, reporter, painter and a photographer. He attended the primary  school at Zemunik, secondary technical school and the Faculty of Humanities in Zadar.

He is the author of more than seventy books of prose, poetry, critiques, feuilletons and travels,  as well as of more than forty exhibitions in different techniques:  monotypes, oil, pastel crayons, drawings and art photos. He is occupied with ecology, too; so he is the writer who attracts a special attention by the number of the published books and by the breadth of his art preoccupation as well as by his biography in a narrower sense. His work has been translated in Italian, Germanic, English, Turkish, Japanese, Albanian, Macedonian, Spanish, Polish, France, Russian, Romanian and in Slovenian. He is included in literary reviews, summaries, surveys, panoramas, anthologies, lexicons and school curriculum; he was the editor of some newspapers, magazines, editions and columns. He initiated and edited publications “Zoranić”, “Poster” and “Zadranka”, he was a redactor of artistic-scientific “The Review of Zadar”, weekly than daily “Zadar Newspaper” and its first manager, and a member of a redaction of the magazines “Ground”, weekly “The Blue Herald” and “Clear Days”, the first copy of the courier og the town of Nin “The City of Nin”. As a guest-editor he participated in editing of the children magazine “The Dandelion”. He was the editor in chief of the press service of International Festival of Children in Šibenik for years  and of the poet edition “Matsuo Basho”. He was the editor in chief of the weekly “Zadarski Regional” and “List”.

He has been omnipresent in all the Croatian media (“Vjesnik” – The Herald, “Večernji list” – The Evening Newspaper, “Slobodna Dalmacija” – Free Dalmatia, “Novi list” – A New Newspaper, “Glas Istre” – The Voice of Istria, “Glas Slavonije” – The Voice of Slavonia, etc.), he is the author of the thousands of articles, comments, reports, observations and travels edited in the most of the Croatian newspapers, magazines and publications, as well as on the radio and TV. His TV-serial “The Adventures of the Sea Horse” was very popular.

He has travelled a great deal all around the world; he was a construction worker, an engineering technician, a waiter, a driver, an accountant, an administrative employee, a reporter, a marketing director and a superior independent business administrator. He was the manager of retail trade in the trade company “Zadranka”. He is been  the one of the founder of the Zadar song contest “Festival of Zadar” and its first director; he was the president of the board of “Narodni list” (People Newspaper). In the Country War he was the commander of the Independent platoon of the artists (1991./92.). He is the member of the Society of the Croatian veterans of the Country War, the member of the Society of the Croatian Writers and its president of the Branch of Zadar, the member of the Society of the Croatian haiku poets, he is founded and led the Fine Arts Camp of Karin, he is the member of HADLU Zadar (Croatian Society of Fine Arts Zadar), he is the secretary of the Croatian-American humanitarian Children and Family Society, ex-president of the Lions Club Zadar, the president of the Society of 3000 Years of Zadar, he is the winner of the award of Coat of arms of the City of Zadar for his art and social actions.