Desanka Maksimovic

poems:

10

gracanica

If only you were not made of stone, Gracanica, if only you could ascend to the sky like the Virgins of Mileseva and Sopocani, then crows might not walk about your narthex and alien hands weed the grass nearby. Or if your bells, Gracanica, did not beat like our forefathers' hearts, if only the saints on your iconostasis did not have our builders' arms and feet or your angels Simonida's face. If only you were not sunk so deep in that soil and in our very selves if you were not to us a name to swear by if only you were not made of stone, Gracanica, if only you could be lifted up high. If only you were an apple, Gracanica, that we might put you in our bosom and warm you, cold with age as you are, if only our long-gone forefathers' bones were not scattered about you near and far. If only we could lift you on to Mount Tara or move you to the churchyard of Kalenic, or try to forget the faces painted on your altar, if only you were not made of stone, Gracanica, if only you could ascend to the sky.

Gracanica is a Serbian Orthodox monastery located in Kosovo (currently occupied by Albanians). Mileseva and Sopocani are Serbian Ortodox monasteries in central Serbia

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