Monday, 17 September 2012

One year on

This weekend saw the first anniversary of Misho's passing. It hardly seems possible. He still seems so close, as if any moment he could walk in or be seen at the bus stop or the cinema. And close in some other, less easy to define way, as if he really is still around but just outside our limited means of perceiving.

Much has happened. Misho's flat in Moseley has a new tenant. A new academic year at Brasshouse. Friends coming and going. But people remember Misho and talk about him still. Here are some things people have said this weekend.

From G in Italy:
Today is a special day, I know! Birmingham, 16th September  2011, at  7. 5! I cannot forget!
This is the reason why I got up at 6.30 ad I was able to sit down just now: I heard  Him coming in. And, as soon as I got up,  I need to take the pebbles I picked with him, in Wales, some years ago (2000?) .
We went there with Margaret, by car. And, while we were moving from one place to another, we stopped in Barmouth, on the coast of North Wales.
Eunice parked her car just in front of the sea - she knew that Misho and I  would enjoy very much the sea -  so, she waited in the car while Misho and  I  went on to the beach.  It was very windy and sand was blown into our faces!
But we were very excited because in different ways, the sight of the sea reminded us of  our home lands. It was very touching. We collected shells and pebbles on the beach, while the seagulls were squealing in the sky.
Shortly after we realized that the tide had come in and covered the rocks that we had walked across to get to the shingle beach. Therefore we were cut  off and had to take off our shoes and socks to paddle to the mainland.  Unforgettable day, indeed!

From B in Coventry:
His open heart touched and inspired me with my writing.

From R in Birmingham:
I've lit a candle for him and said Kaddish.

From A in Switzerland:
Ja mu palim svecu danas. [I lit a candle for him today]

From J and L in Solihull:
Happy memories of dear Miso!

From M in Birmingham:
A special day to remember the pain but also the joy.

And what I realise through all of this is that the support that surrounded Misho during his years in Birmingham and especially towards the end is still there, still ongoing, as much his gift to us as anything we may have done for him. And those little candle flames that meant so much to him while he was alive are filled with meaning for us now, too.

Unforgettable, indeed.


Sunday, 1 April 2012

Moses' Footprints - Milorad's new collection!

Milorad's last book was published posthumously by Nine Arches Press and launched on 2nd March 2012.
Copies can be purchased from the Nine Arches Press website.

Here is an extract from the poem Moses' Rod:
Now, I have the placement of Moses' voice
left out through this gradient of English -
the words are as close as the well is deep:
  if you can smite stones
  into water drops instead of dust,
  the view of mountainous rocks
  will be clear and open like a waterfall.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

A Celebration: Milorad Krystanovich

The launch of Milorad's new collection, Moses' Footprints, was attended by about 60 people. Former colleagues, friends and fellow poets joined in a real celebration of Milorad's poetic life.

In the picture, Jane Commane introduces the evening. Readers included Julie Boden, John Alcock, Jon Morley, Myra Connell and Luke Kennard.

Friday 2nd March 2012 at 7.15pm.
The Moseley Exchange (courtyard behind the Post Office), 149-153 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8JP

Event starts at 7.30pm. Free entry and refreshments available.

The launch of Milorad Krystanovich’s seventh and last collection of poetry, Moses’ Footprints, and a celebration of his extraordinary legacy of poetry.

Including music and readings of poems by Milorad Krystanovich by John Alcock, Julie Boden, David Hart, Luke Kennard, Myra Connell, Martin Underwood, and others.

About Moses' Footprints:

In the shadows of war, loss and longing, a poet seeking his homeland finds his memories and dreams of its distinctive beauty refracted through a second language.  These subtle, elusive and potent poems build bridges of imagery and language between the past and present, the lost and found.

“The poems seem driven, necessary; Croatia and its language call him back, his distinctively developed English finds image after pertinent image. The book is a bounty of metaphor as he is led by Moses and by delight and necessity of observation and discovery; the natural world seems to come to him to be named.” - David Hart

"I can't stop reading these poems. This is work of atmosphere and tone first, narrative second, but it's a narrative that combines deep melancholy with a hard-won sense of joy in the slightest shaft of light, and the thought it provokes." - Luke Kennard

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Cannon's Mouth

Milorad was a long time member of the poetry writers group The Cannon Poets.

The group have been kind enough to honour Misho with his photo on the cover of the December issue of their quarterly journal, The Cannons Mouth. It also contains several of Misho's new poems. These are due to be published in early 2012 by Nine Arches Press in a last volume of poems entitled Moses Footsteps. There will be news of it here as soon as it's published!

Thanks Greg, for the CM cover!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Kad umre pjesnik by Nataša Knežević

click here to see an English translation on the Poems page

Kad umre pjesnik,
zanjišu se visoki čempresi
i sjene njihove zašume na jesen i kiše.
Sa obala u tišini polete ptice,
a beskrile suze sklupčaju se
u mala gnijezda tuge.

Zadrhte nasa srca kao plamen svijeće
nad kojim šapatom sričemo molitve...

Kad umre pjesnik,
u crne obale udari crni val,
planktoni kao rasute rime zaiskre...
A onda se, kao eho,
počnu vraćati njegove riječi
da bi ih kao bisere umetali
u vlastite mozaike,
da bi sa njima uljepšali vitraže
kroz koje dočekujemo
i sunce i vjetar i kiše...

Kad umre pjesnik,
slutimo ipak da njegova duša
i dalje živi svjetlom koje sam stvara
i da je oblake bijele u bijela jedra
izvajao stihovima,
kako bi sa njima mirno uplovio
u spokoj ozvjezdanog beskraja...


posted on behalf of Nataša

Friday, 11 November 2011

his welcome never faltered

 We first met Miso when he volunteered as an interpreter in 1997. Rev Clive Fowle had invited a group of Serbs and Croats from Baranja to England to engage in reconciliatory discussions after the recently-ended war. Miso struggled a bit with his English - can you imagine! - but he had not been long in England at that point.

On our retirement in 1999, we joined the Serbo-Croat class that Miso had by then been running for a couple of years (Denys had already been going for some time). For the next 8-9 years, Wednesday afternoons regularly saw us setting out with Denys for the Brasshouse Centre. After the lesson we would take Miso home - initially to Bearwood and then to his own flat in Moseley.

Different people joined the classes over the year. We became friendly with the regulars, and at the end of each term would have a meal out together - often just round the corner, and later on at the Brasshouse Restaurant in Broad Street.

While Miso was our teacher, as we got to know one another we increasingly became friends. Then, at the start of September 2004 he invited Denys & Margaret and Linda & myself, with Cathy and Martin, to fly with him to Split for a 10-day holiday at a family house in Vodice. We met his parents and had a wonderful time.

As a teacher Miso was constantly trying out new teaching methods. Computer-assistance was one - I know as a former teacher just how much time he must have spent preparing material for us. Twice a year he ran a Saturday School; an opportunity to learn more of the culture and songs of Croatia, and meet some of his other students.

After Miso became poorly I used to visit him in his flat on a Thursday. We had lunch together and discussed the children's stories he had been writing. He often used our grandchildren's names!

However poorly he became, his welcome never faltered. As a teacher he must sometimes have been frustrated by our slow progress but his patience was unruffled. His courtesy, kindness, and deep faith made him someone whose company we always valued and appreciated.

May he rest in peace!

Posted on behalf of John

Monday, 7 November 2011

All Souls

On Sunday 30th October there was a special All Souls service at Edgbaston Old Church. The Vicar, Alison Joyce, had given Misho and me much spiritual support while Misho was in the nursing home. During the service, the names of all those attached to her church who had passed away during the year were read out and a candle for each one lit on the altar. It was very moving. So many names, so many candles. Sometimes you need a new perspective. It certainly gave me a glimpse into the working life of a vicar with so many people to support!
Alison read a very special piece during the service and kindly sent me the text afterwards. I found it a useful insight and hope you like it too. 

What is dying?’ by Bishop Brent

A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says, ‘She is gone’.

Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all; she is just as large as when I saw her … The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her; and just at the moment when someone at my side says ‘she is gone’, there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout, ‘There she comes!’

And that is dying.