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Tanja Bakić – Illusion

Profile Bakic LEP&W June 2021

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing June 2021

Tanja Bakic is a poet and literary translator from Montenegro (former Yugoslavia). She is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Montenegro. Her first poetry volume was released when she was 15 years old. To this day, she produced four poetry volumes. Her poems, apart from being frequently anthologised,  have appeared in Words Without Borders, Modern Literature, Bosphorus Review of Books, Poem Hunter, Recours Au Poème, Rochford Street Review, etc. She was an invited guest at numerous international literature festivals and gatherings and served several international Artist-in-Residence programmes.


Where are you now?
Are you perhaps sitting in some corner
Thinking about the things
You used to think when you were with me?
Did you forget me?
Are you laughing?
Are you happy?
I know your lips won’t be able
To tell me anything right now
I don’t even know where you are
But my eyes remain fixed on you
This chance evening
This chance moment
As I imagine us eating the Earth
And slurping down light borrowed from Heaven

No longer is there you and me
We left and now live somewhere
In events dreamed of long ago
The illusion replenishes
the image of chrysanthemums
Whose fragrance you smell before my eyes
And the image of us rain-soaked
Walking around a reality
That never looked like the sea
Nor will it ever

Silently I watch the lake before us
As the fishermen cast their nets
Through which the Sun of the morning
Drips its rays.
I still don’t know where you are,
I still don’t know whether you exist.
Are you alive? Tell me.
I close my eyes and remain silent.

A Four-Leaf Clover

I stumbled across a four-leaf clover
Some twenty-odd years old
Placed inside page eighty-five
Of a primary school
Biology textbook.

The page was dog-eared
And yellow with dust, creased,
But as far as I can tell
The clover remained
The same as it had been back then
When I put it there
Twenty-odd years ago –
Pressed, flat, green.
I smelt it,
And instantly saw before me the little girl
Whom adults had told
That if she found
A four-leaf clover,
It would make any wish
Of hers come true.

And so the little girl
Found her
Four-leaf clover
In the grass
And she said her
Wish – big, yet small.

And so after all
These years,
Laid down
In the dust
In the closet of our
Dreams and thoughts
I somehow forgot
Whether the wish the girl had made
Had actually come true
In the meantime.
I cannot even remember
Exactly what her wish was.
All I know is that now,
When the girl stumbled across
Her clover
After so many years had passed by,
She rejoiced again
As she had done years before
When she saw it
For the first time in the grass.

All I know is that
She took her old clover
In her palm
Caressed it
Whispered to it a new
Wish – small, yet big –
And put it back
Into the same biology textbook
On the same page

© Tanja Bakic