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Ottomans called this land Karadag
the black land
where black mountains encircle
the black lakes
and women with black eyes
save the black wine
for men with black mustache
when they come back home from the battle
in the Bright Dawn of May*

Last night (Mon, 18 September 2012/ 2nd Tishrei 5773 ) at a poetry festival in Northern Montenegro:


Montenegrin authors Tanja Bakic, Lena Ruth Stefanovic, Gaga Trpkovic, Jelena Nelevic


(right to left: Jelena Nelevic Martinovic, Dragana Tripkovic, Lena Ruth Stefanovic, Tanja Bakic standing)

we speak on behalf of generations who were silent
we speak for your mother and her mother and her mother’s mother
who kept silent
in a “male world”


we speak for those who kept covering bruises 
and wept into the pillow
for they still had to keep the light 
for they still had to feed the kids

yet it was them – your mothers
who built this male world for you
it was them who spared you the truth
that it is a woman
running the world
while you are showing off boys’ toys
in the sand of the global playground
only for grown up little boys

Hebrew word tashlich means “you shall cast away” and the esoteric ritual itself is performed in the afternoon on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, preferably near running waters. As we stand by living water, the barriers to spiritual and personal growth are washed away and we hear the voice of King David echoing “Out of the narrows of distress I called upon God, God answered me with liberation.”

“Min ha-meitzar, karati Yah, anani ba-merchav Yah. Out of the narrows of distress I called upon God, God answered me with liberation (Psalm 118:5).”

As we cast off the pain and transgressions into the river Moracha near city of Kolashin in northern Montenegro, this guy appeared -as it seemed – out of nowhere…

He hung around us for couple of moments

before trotting off into the approaching dusk…

Photo&text content copyright ©Lena Ruth Stefanovic 2012. All rights reserved.




*The Bright Dawn of May is the national anthem of Montenegro