Longing for the South – Note by Gane Todorovski

The poem “Longing for the South” by Konstantin Miladinov was written in Moscow in 1860. The poem has a confessionary character and primarily expresses the author’s nostalgia for his homeland. It is the poet’s fourth year as an emigrant in Russia and the status of being expatriate alongside with the northern climate falls harshly on the author. Disappointed with a plethora of notions, he longs to return to his native ambiance. As if sensing his impending death, he yearns to die at home and his death seems to be outlined in the last two poem verses through a framework of a Romantic decor.

This poem of Konstantin is written in a rhymed decasyllable meter, a tradition started two-three decades before him in Macedonian poetry by Kiril Pejčinović in his well-known Epitaph (1835). The poem submits to the rules of classical versification (the syllabo-tonic principle), taking note of the number of syllables and metrical feet, as well as rhyme placement. The verse is decasyllable (3 + 2 / 3 + 2), with two alternating dactyl and trochee feet (I and III and II and IV). All of the rhymes are two-syllable (feminine rhyme) and arranged in the system: aa, bb, cc, (dd). The accent falls on the first syllable of the word, according to the rules of the Macedonian literary language and the Struga dialect, however, there are several exceptions – a result of the influence from the Russian language on K. Miladinov.

The translators, who will adhere to the source versification characteristics, are advised to bear in mind the characteristics of the sound organization of this very famous poem, which, in fact, has already been transcribed in sound and sense in 74 versions of poetic renditions, translations, adaptations, imitations, transformations and variations.

Gane Todorovski

translated by:
Gorjan Kostovski