REVIEW WRITTEN BY WRITER AND CRITIQUE DARIJA ŽILIĆ

EPILOGUE
Ksenija Premur's poetry is intimistic, and critics list the features of her poetry as clarity, precision, impressive-ness of straightforward images intertwining in poetic re-flection, while the poems are being described as perme-ated with erotic and reflexive character. However the collection of poems titled „The Lighthouse“ brings for-ward poems leaning more towards metaphysical subjects than intimism and inner life of a lyric heroine. We might even say the fundamental dichotomy is what questions the relationship between the time and the eternal, the heavenly and the earthly. The choice of a lighthouse as a symbol of verticality is not random – it is a sign-post but also a connector between the heaven and earth. Ms Premur purifies her expression by removing all redundant images, turns to philosophemes, and her poems resemble short poetic disputes on the relation between the eternity and mortality, on the immortality of the soul. After read-ing the work it is clear the main subject of the collection is the Time. The poem “Celestial Clock” is what gives the main clue. As a basic opposition there are earthy and heavenly clocks: “tick-tock / tick-tock / beats the terres-trial clock / the death hour; / the hands of the celestial clock / slide around into a perpetuum mobile”. The eter-nity is beyond human’s reach; it is being revered in po-ems, and the elapse of the time shows the relentlessness of the mortality, with the constant reminders of death, memento mori. The poem “On the Green Lawns of Eter-nity” also challenges the relation between the eternity and the time – the timeline is being broken as the only option to justify the encounter of Kepler, Newton and Giordano Bruno. They transformed into the immortals for their credits and discoveries; they analyse the relation between the time and the eternity, between the space and the time (as fundamental in the aesthetics). The eternity is existence, but also the “timelessness and im-mortality”. Yet, it is really but the eternal quest, or “eter-nal search for the origin”. The poem “Invention of the Eternity” also deals with the eternity. The utopian land of MikiTikiPikilatia is created in ludisic-infantile manner, a place where eternity devised, where there is no death. Using philosophemes (referrencing to Heraclites) and breaking them up into verses, the author creates a superb poem where she brilliantly synthesises physics, philo-sophy, metaphor and mythology: “once / in the ivory tow-er / in the land of MikiTikiPikilatia / the most eminent knowledgeable people of the nature / grasped the spinner trick / that everything is twisting, bending, warping / in a precise order / of planets around the sun / they invented the eternity”.
In the poem “Tiki Painting Pictures” the eternity is “... but a turn of a spinner”, just an image, an image of desire. Desire is a common topos of the author’s poetry. The de-sire for aesthetic pleasure, for the touch of the loved one, the longing for the wholeness and the universe. On the other hand, however, there is an image of the death, of the clock ticking away (as if an ecphrasis of Dali’s paint-ings). Everything seems inevitable, in the natural order, and the existence of a celestial clock seems to appease, to prolong the time to the final end we are expecting. As if a heavenly protective dome has arched over our exist-ence shielding it while the time is elapsing, withering away, fading out...
The poem “Crickets” is immensely euphonic; the rhythm is paced through numerous alliterations and assonances. And it seems the endless chirping of crickets harbours divine music, the song of the origin, some cosmic tunes praising the Creation. Again we encounter the images of joy, the anthems of immortality, celebration of life over nothingness. The chirping of crickets unifies and synthe-sises the celestial and the marine, while the references to ambrosia and nectar evoke mythological images of im-mortal divinities and the time existing outside the terres-trial – holy time. These tunes are repetitive and all-comprehensive: “crickets chirp their songs / slanting, up-wards and crosswise / for as long as the mandolin sounds echo / when a trumpeter signals his tune has come to an end...”. Poems by Ksenija Premur seem to have emerged along the path of comprehension, the search for the holy, for the sun and the light. There we find echoes of the phi-losophy by Giordano Bruno, along with biblical images and impressionism, but also the spirituality. In the process the author utilizes hyperbolical expressions thus even ad-ditionally highlighting the spirituality of the journey: “and you shall barefoot set out to the Holy City / its divinity, and further beyond, / cross the seas and oceans, cross the sands and rocks” (from the poem “Eternal Flame of Ode to Joy”). An important distinction in “The Lighthouse” is the one dealing with the relationship between the sun, the moon and the earth. A magnificent poem “Moon Magic on Earth” speaks of the moon and the earth; it is a poetic rendering of the tide and ebb which as natural phenomena induce the inquiry into the disappearance of worlds, the relation between the world as we know it and the world of demigods, i.e. the relation between the sa-cral and profane. The poetry of Ksenija Premur really wants to be a part of a melody singing of the loyalty and harmony, of the order and perfection, the symmetry and balance of the body and soul. In the poem “A Game of Pool” a metaphorical game of pool is being played, while the pool ball is connected with the revolving of the earth. By interweaving the two con-cepts, denotative and connotative, the poetic creation from a seemingly simple comparison is rendered encom-passing physical theorems related to the study of the Uni-verse and the Earth. Ludic moments (a game of pool) are linked to a scientific discovery, thus the astronomer Giordano Bruno is mentioned in the context of the game and players. But not only him – Kepler and Newton also appear. The focus is primarily on rhetoric questions, or rather the issue of the revolving of the earth: “when shall the orb of the earth / like a pool ball / come to a stop?”. The subject of eternity and time is also the constant of this poetic collection. In the poem “The Eternity of the Day” the concept of time is being cancelled, but it is ex-actly the paradox of mentioning the time within the eter-nity what introduces a new relationship (“on this day as well – / if days are to be counted as eternity”). The day itself may gain qualities of the eternal and be exempted from the elapse of time, from the ephemerality. The po-em “Celestial Oval” is about a day like that where every-thing is interconnected. The poem was written in a breath, and through the initial repetitive verses, an ode to the Mediterranean, the sea, the oceans, to a coastal town is created; an ode to a day when the skies and the sea become one as if at the beginning of cosmogony, the be-ginning of a new creation of the world: “oh, when will the day come / the day when the sea and the sky / meet on the horizon / and commence a new, never heard before tune / to the eternal creation”. That poem is particularly colourful – there is the green, the blue, along with pletho-ra of images from the coastal and marine life (olives, seagulls, Arabic, Indian, Japanese, Mediterranean wine, sailors at sea, singing...). And again as the leitmotif: an image of a “giant clockwork” determining days and nights, navigating the lives of sailors at open seas. The poem “Colours of the Earth and Heaven” is immensely filled with colours, expressionism, and all of them contain the metaphor of God as a painter: “God is a skilled paint-er of seasons / parallels and meridians / south and north poles”. Both God as a divine painter and painters on earth who also mix colours “to their best abilities” create new worlds, while a superb metaphor “the paradise of crea-tion” speaks of the power of creation which identifies it with the bliss. The game of creation is eternal and innate to both divinities and humans, inherent to the ever re-born world. One of the best poems of the collection, “To-day is No Day for Writing”, is perhaps the one mostly re-flecting the previous opus by the author – the collection “Fragments of Chinese Porcelain” is what I particularly have in my mind. Instead of abstraction or expressionistic images, we are faced with a quest of the lyric heroine who transforms her own restlessness, her fears into poet-ry, while the inner and the outer overlap: there is thun-dering and hailing outside, while the innards are fraught with dreaming and longing for the missing one: “and, as God is my witness, / I’d say I can still remember you / and I dream and long for and imagine”. The melancholy, the memories of beautiful moments, the touches, the love – they are all indicators of the time passing by, metaphori-cally represented by a watch on his wrist ticking away happy moments, those that come and go. The opposition of the East and the West is also frequently present in Ksenija Premur’s poetry so, e.g. the Mediterranean and the Japanese Sea are connected with images, symbols and powerful poetic syncretism. There are again motifs commonly found in author’s poetry such as labyrinths or unsent love letters. “Zagreb in the Morning” is a poem evoking the atmosphere of the collection “Fragments of Chinese Porcelain” from 2010. Ksenija Premur is an au-thor who also writes compelling love poetry where she deals with the longing for the Other One, the grief over the lost love. In the poem from the current collection the sequencing of actions at its beginning implies the city atmosphere, the hustle and bustle, the whole package with everything in motion; the author frantically keeps records of all sensations thus creating the feel of cacoph-ony which then subdues. The city is a living being, with all signs of health and sickness – living and “slipping slowly into a drowse”. At the same time, however, the stress keeps falling onto the importance of the time relentlessly passing by, of erasing the two of them, the two lovers: “but [you] are running out of time just like me / the only remnant left / will be an obituary at the building main gate / and the end”. The lovers are apart and lonely, but the city rhythm keeps spinning, it lives on, while the love is lost. The rose appears as a symbol of love, while a withered rose is a symbol of faded or unrealised love. Thus it is no coincidence the authors has devoted a poem to it – a growing rose that wilts away only to “reinvent itself in spring”. There is again a motif of an unsent letter, a metaphor of unfulfillment, of the end beyond oneself, inevitably extinguishing love. But the rose is eternal, a red rose ever being reborn. “Lighthouse” is a poem compris-ing an ode to the courage and freedom. The lighthouse is not merely a sign-post at sea, but an indication to the sailors willing to “break dark, deep seas”. Sailors may also be seen as explores, but also as all of those who with their cognitions break up with dogmas, open up new worlds, such as scientists and astronomers: “showing [them] signs / those incredible tokens / of naval journeys / thus defying church naves / travelling nowhere / no sighs of relief are awaiting them / when on the horizon / past the lighthouses / they see the land”. Lighthouses and lights are those showing directions for “it's so easy to lose the way / and unload [its cargo] into the sea”. We need to point out that Ksenija Premur subtly depicts the imagery of the Mediterranean and the sea, both being permanent topos of her poetry. In her book “A Madrigal for a Sum-mer” created poetry of her love of the sea she calls “her gentlest and most faithful lover”. “Lighthouse” encom-passes the Mediterranean, metaphysics and poetry, eroti-cism and urbanity, but it is particularly important as this is a great piece of poetry on freedom, anti-dogmatic principles; anti-scholastic poetry celebrating love and cognition.

Darija Žilić

Translated by Ksenija Premur