Edvard Kocbek – The Lipizzaner

Edvard Kocbek is in song Lipizzaners poetically expressed the fundamental characteristics of a noble white horse, the Lipizzaner. Horse was created with crossbreeding with Karst horses and other horse breeds on the Slovenian Karst. The poem is by diction ecstatic ode, in the same breath imbued with a noble sense of humor. Edvard Kocbek poetised the Lipizzaner as a sacred animal. The horse is the most beautiful synthesis of nature and history of the world. Without nationalism, through the symbol of the Lipizzaner he successfuly poetised the fact, that Slovenians can survive only if we respect our nature and its history and beauty.


A newspaper reports:
the Lippizaners collaborated
on a historical film.
A radio explains:
a millionaire had bought the Lippizaners,
the noble animals were quiet
throughout the journey over the Atlantic.
And a text book teaches:
the Lippizaners are graceful riding horses,
their origin is in the Karst, they are of supple hoof,
conceited trot, intelligent nature,
and obstinate fidelity.

But I have to add, my son,
that it isn’t possible to fit these
restless animals into any set pattern:
it is good, when the day shines,
the Lippizaners are black foals.
And it is good, when the night reigns,
the Lippizaners are white mares,
but the best is,
when the day comes out of the night,
then the Lippizaners are the white and black buffoons,
the court fools of its Majesty,
Slovenian history.

Others have worshipped holy cows and dragons,
thousand-year-old turtles and winged lions,
unicorns, double-headed eagles and phoenixes,
but we’ve chosen the most beautiful animal,
which proved to be excellent on battlefields, in circuses,
harnessed to princesses and the Golden Monstrance,
therefore the emperors of Vienna spoke
French with skilful diplomats,
Italian with charming actresses,
Spanish with the infinite God,
and German with uneducated servants:
but with the horses they talked Slovene.

Remember, my child, how mysteriously
nature and history are bound together,
and how different are the driving forces of the spirit
of each of the world’s people.
You know well that ours is the land of contests and races.
You, thus, understand why the white horses
from Noah’s ark found a refuge on our pure ground,
why they became our holy animal,
why they entered the legend of history,
and why they bring the life pulse to our future.
They incessantly search for our promised land
and are becoming our spirit’s passionate saddle.

I endlessly sit on a black and white, horse.
my beloved son,
like a Bedouin chief
I blend with my animal,
I’ve been traveling on it all my life,
I sleep on it, and I dream on it,
and I’ll die on it.
I learned all our prophesies
on the mysterious animal,
and this poem, too, I experienced
on its trembling back.

Nothing is darker than
clear speech,
and nothing more true than a poem
the intellect cannot seize,
heroes limp in the bright sun,
and sages stammer in the dark,
the buffoons, though, are changing into poets,
the winged Pegasi run faster and faster
above the caves of our old earth
jumping and pounding —
the impatient Slovenian animals
are still trying to awaken the legendary King Matjaz.

Those who don’t know how to ride a horse,
should learn quickly
how to tame the fiery animal,
how to ride freely in a light saddle,
how to catch the harmony of the trot,
and above all to persist in the premonition,
for our horses came galloping from far away,
and they still have far to go:
motors tend to break down,
elephants eat too much,
our road is a long one,
and it is too far to walk.


travel-slovenia-edvard-kocbek-viewEdvard Kocbek
Edvard Kocbek is a Slovenian writer, poet and politican. Born on 27. September 1904 in Sveti jurij pri Ščavnici, he died on 3. November 1981 in Ljubljana. In his life he wrote poetry, log-narrative prose, philosophical, theological and political studies, discussions, essays and articles. [_Read more_]

Lipizzan horse or Lipizzaner is a member of breeds of horses, bred in Lipica. The breed was, founded in the Habsburg Monarchy by Karel, specifically in the area of the Slovnenian Karst and is the oldest cultural breed of horse in the world. The horse is Slovenian symbol, depicted on the Slovenian 20 cent coin. [_Read more_]