Poems by
Semezdin Mehmedinovic


Wounded Parks

Moorish Fountain


Wounded Parks

1) Goaded on by the fear of winter, residents of Sarajevo
have taken to cutting down trees in the city; if we don't
count the shelling, the predominant sound in town is the
buzz of chain saws. Ordinary scenes: men pull a cable
wrapped around a poplar toward themselves as it rests
before swaying to the left and right as kids run around
cheering, some for the men and some for the tree, and when
it falls a view of the woods on Mount Trebevic bursts open;
an unusually tall man, his hair grey and well-groomed,
wearing a sharp new suit, a bow-tie and shiny shoes, carries
an attache case in his left hand while with his right he drags
an enormous chestnut bough chopped down in the park
through the door to the lobby of his building.

2) "A full-fledged attack is being carried out against our
urban greenery. Trees are being cut down in our parks, along
the streets and even in cemetaries. We call upon all citizens
to preserve our urban greenery. Those who disobey this
appeal will be severely punished."
The only conclusion I can reach from this text, published
in a Sarajevo daily, is that if I don't protect the urban
greenery—being busy with my own work—I'll be
punished severely. Nevertheless, on the north side of town
you can hear the mournful wailing of chain saws: people in
the city are desperate, like anyone thinned out before the
coming of winter.




From SARAJEVO BLUES (City Lights Books, 1998)