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Pero Pavlović: »Što pjesnik nosi u torbi« (What Does Poet Carry in His Bag)

Poet Pero Pavlović is persistent in creation of his poetical world. With this book, he reaches the thematic peak. Consistent with the title — he wanted to present the reader with the abundance of subjects he deals with. Indeed, we may find much here: domiciliation in the deeper meaning, true and sincere love for Homeland, wide openness towards God, language deliberately shifted to the old times... We might say, an interesting and useful poetic bag. While reading Pavlović’s poetry, reader will soon recognise that his contemplative world moves in the range: man — nature — God. It is a circle he continuously and persistently tries to close. He attempts to place himself within, to understand it, to absorb its strength. Because of that, his poems are not violent, dark, rooted out of the human desire for good and beautiful. They are warm, silent and gentle, with the purpose of going deep and getting to the core of things. That is why Pavlović today represents a unique phenomenon in Croatian poetry. He belongs to the circle of Croatian poets who do not conform the easiness of living and affiliation to the currently prevailing opinion, but stays himself and affiliates to those who do the same. It is a guarantee that his poetry will survive these days, pouring itself into the future.

Domiciliation usually means staying restricted within one’s own small world. It is not the case with Pavlović. On the contrary, with him, domiciliation means openness. He recognises the world around him, but he does not run intoxicated by someone else’s and does not lose himself in the far wide world. He recognises what is his, and with such certainty opens himself towards everything good in the world different from his own. We might call it the reaching of true universality, cosmopolitism. In today’s fashionable words: multiculturalism. He understood that what is foreign may not be recognised in the proper way by the one who did not make it his own.

The Homeland War did not liberate the Croatian man only physically (well, there is more to say about that), but primarily did it spiritually. Pavlović belongs among those Croatian poets and writers who have understood and accepted that. That is why one of the future divisions of Croatian literature will be registered under the Homeland War line. However, Pavlović is not a patriot poet in the inciting way, as yellow public newspapers often say. He is a patriot poet in the contemporary meaning of the word. He suffers as member of his nation and transfers this suffering to the paper. He does not despair, but redeemed by the pain, he wishes to create a different, more just world. Idle salon poets do not understand that, to them it represents nationalism, and they strive to be the measure of things. Oh, God, how presumptuous and forlorn!

Here we should mention another interesting characteristic of Pavlović’s poetry. In his poetry, he introduced the talk of the international community, although not in a great range. As if he asks: if he may pour into a poem a cloud floating in the skies, a single grass growing in the garden, a man passing the street, why couldn’t he make a poem out of a hurtful event. One such event is burning the creche in Mostar. He does not name the perpetrator, but he names the order givers and those responsible for what has happened.

Domaća događanja, itekako, pogoduju Herodu/ Još tri maga: Amerikanac, Englez i Francuz// Na dar Mladom Kralju donijeli su samo spletke/ A ne bijahu poučeni u snu/ I Herod pomno koristi sve povoljnosti (Local events do favour Herod indeed/ And the three magi: American, Englishman and Frenchman/ Bring only intrigue as gifts to the Young King/ And they were not instructed in their dreams/ And Herod carefully uses all the privileges — from the poem »Božićne jaslice u Mostaru« (The Nativity Creche in Mostar).

He understands that life would have a different course if there weren’t for those pulling the strings from the shadow. Are those only the mentioned ones or are there more of them, we leave for each one of us to answer. In that we might be aided by the following verses from the mentioned poem: E, moj jadni Herode/ Opet si se prevario/ Nisi spalio Malog Isusa/ On se upravo rađa u našim srcima i dušama/ A Mostar liječi svoju ranu) (Oh, my poor Herod/ You were wrong again/ You did not burn Baby Jesus/ He is being born right now in our hearts and souls/ And Mostar is healing its wound).

As in Drago Štambuk’s verses, in Pavlović’s poetry, words and medical terms also are poured out before us. In this case, it is the medical biochemistry. We are what we do, and that may open new horizons for us only if we want it to. Lavish world of plants appears in front of our eyes. That makes us recall Vesna Parun and her herbarium. The same life breathes in Croatian poets and they are jointly building the future of a nation that has been recently freed from captivity. I deliberately won’t speak of those who see their nation only from the point of exploitability. I may only recommend them to read Pavlović. In such way, they will discover even more beauty in their country and hopefully that would make them guard it, and not sell it for nothing because of their own profits.

For a long time, Pavlović has been a complete poet. And he was awarded for that. He does not get tired, he goes on writing. His poetry is clean, self-confident, turned towards human life in all its entirety. In that way, with his poems he continuously contributes to the development of Croatian poetry. It is interesting to follow his steps. They are complete and reserved in the affirming meaning of the word. Let us listen.

Miljenko Stojić

• Publisher: Croatian Writers’ Association of Herzeg-Bosnia, Mostar, 2005

• 260 pages

• ISBN 9958-798-09-3

Most (The Bridge), 3-4, Društvo hrvatskih književnika / The Croatian writers’ association, Zagreb, November 2005, pages 70 – 71

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