Sunday, September 7, 2014

Guest Blogger: Maja Klarić––A Traveling Poet.

Every other Sunday is our day for Guest Author Postings by mystery writers who base their stories in non-US settings.  This week we have a special and unusual treat, a writer who lives a life of mystery—rather than writes them—Croatian poet Maja Klarić.  I (Jeff) met Maja at a literary festival on the Greek island of Tinos and her work blew me away. Maja graduated with degrees in English language, literature, and comparative literature at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb and spends much of her life (still under 30) traveling and hiking the earth, creating poetry along the way.  She’s won several international awards, including Castello di Duino, Sea of Words, Apilski susreti and Ulaznica.  These (all copyrighted) poems are from her second collection, “Quinta Pitanga” written in Bahia, Brazil during her two-month residency there on a UNESCO/Aschberg scholarship for international artists.

Welcome Maja.

Getting There Slowly

Like a mouse
Slinking towards a seductive smell
As a sunrise
Resembling a hunter
Disguised in colours of the landscape
With a rifle aiming
At the perfect place
A fatal shot of no return
On the tip of your toes
Trying to make as little noise as possible
Dried out leaves and heaps of broken branches
Anything that might reveal
You coming closer
Close enough to reach it
Far enough to remain unseen
Until the time is right
To get hold of her
To capture her
Still breathing
And self-sufficient
The perfect poem.

The Process of Writing

Tempting part is
The overflow of ideas in the most inappropriate place
Words which could easily turn into sentences
An oceanic landscape, a colorful setting, an odd passer by
Things out of the ordinary, strange noises
A yearly ritual secretly performed on a warm summer night
The first bite of local food
An attempt to speak the language early morning at the market
Buying shrimps or something equally unpronounceable
Curious legends of a place, tinged with magic
Even local newspapers' back page
Well equipped with photos of curious events
The possibility of an encounter
Of a friendship, of love
Phone calls from home
Voices of your parents, affectionate and concerned
A poorly lit street on your way back
The kind you promised to avoid
A pleasant stroll
An unexpected rain shower
A curious conversation
The easy part.


Words were hidden like golden coins in a children's game
Buried in the sand, flattened by the waves
Only to be discovered
After an exhausting quest and a test of patience

But they were found
Like rare sand dollars on the beach
And valued just as much.

The Crossing

Midday spread over All Saints' Bay
Like an icing over a cake
And the sunlight sparkled like golden leaves
On statues in Saint Francis' church
I am trying hard to feel
The difference between the ocean and the sea
The sight of Salvador' skyscrapers
On the very peak of the peninsula
And Ilha do Frade we're leaving behind
Are equally mesmerizing
We take the best positions
Right on the nose of catamaran
And in between captain's eyes
To be able to see more clearly
What's ahead
What's ahead is approaching fast
At the velocity my thoughts cannot follow
Metaphors are sinking like a shipwreck
Scratching the slippery sides of the boat
A school of dolphins that somebody just ordered
Is jumping in and out and over the waves
To make the whole scene infallible.

Shores of pleasure

In the morning
The ocean is as flat as the surface of a bowl full of oil
Receding inconspicuously further and further away
Tempting us to follow it
Like an enticing song of a mermaid
The ocean is a common room
Where older ladies sit and dip their feet and idly chat
And men are in up to their waist
Fishing for lunch
If the sky changes colour
The ocean follows
As if in an attempt to match all the nuances of blue
An odd current in the shallow waters
Is meandering its way through the sand
Leaving long serpentines
Before vanishing in the deep
And we
In a dreamlike contention of first weeks on the island
Still incapable of believing
That nature has been so generous
To these shores of pleasure
To us.

Drawings in the Margins

She left a handful of sketches
For she didn't know how to describe
The beauty of a sunset behind the mango trees
Without sounding pathetic or overly sentimental
Or how to fit into a single line
Never ending traces that animals left on the beach
She felt incapable of capturing
All the segments a dawn is comprised of
No matter how simple it may seem
And although a picture should speak a thousand words
Hers only spoke of a few
Mumbling on the margins

Thoughts of Discomfort

At the bottom of each pleasure
Lies an uneasiness
The question of
How much we will owe
For what we have received
Or will we be punished for the envy
And a mounting frustration
Over nature being more productive than ourselves.
A feeling biting into every thought
And a skillfully hidden fear
If we came here for a lack of imagination
Or is it just now that we're discovering it.

Scenes of Summer

The sea at high tide
Approaches slowly
Like a lover testing
The boundaries of politeness
Re-shaping the curves of the sand
And claiming his territory

Thus has been our travel.

In the evening we'd go swimming
Or jumping from the dock
While the sun is leaking into the sea
Like a freshly cut wound
And crabs are hysterically searching
For something that they've lost

Just consider
How far we are from home
Think of the trip
If an emergency should occur
And how long would it take
To forget this.


Like a picnic on a traffic circle
You improvise little excursions out of the ordinary
Just so you could feel
That the reality
Can still be displaced
And your life
Might take a different turn
Some day.

Guest Blogger Maja Klarić—Sunday


  1. Wonderful, Maja, absolutely wonderful!.

    Your words seep into my eyes
    Like an unexpected liqueur into my blood
    Leaving me with limbs not answering.

    Thank you! And thank you, Jeff, for bringing her to us!

  2. Maja is a magical poet and extraordinary woman. I'm thrilled that she agreed to share her work with us here. Thank you, Maja.

  3. Thank you so much Maja - we're all richer in words for this.

  4. I am so glad that you read the poems the way I hoped you would when I wrote them ...
    Thanks, Jeffrey, for this!
    travelling poet :)

  5. Fabulous poetry and the photos are perfect!