By Slavica Šikman

Bijela kuća

Koraci niz ulicu postaju sve glasniji i glasniji što su bliži. I evo vidim je. Baka. Približava se polako s pogledom priljepljenim za mene. Ima samo tašnu preko ramena i to mi izmami osmijeh. Moji dolaze uskoro. Zatvori kapiju za sobom i kao i obično prošeta polako po dvorištu oko mene zagledajući pažljivo svaki cvjetić, biljku i travku prije nego otvori vrata i uđe.

Odjek potpetica na drvenom podu prekine debelu tišinu, koja se nakupila proteklih par mjeseci. Sutra će se taj odjek izgubiti u graji i metežu koji Moji uvijek donesu sa sobom i sve će biti kao nekad prije. Prije nego su me ranili i ogolili. Sve će biti kao nekad, kad sam bila dom. Probudit će me miris svježe kave i toplih uštipaka.

Zidovi mi zadrhte kad pomislim na dane kad sam jedva održavala klimavi krov da se ne uruši u prazninu u meni. Priželjkivala sam da se ona dva bora, koja su stršila ispred mene i nekad me tako nervirala, vrate i sakriju od pogleda prolaznika u kojima sam samo izazivala strah. Da me sakriju od susjeda kojima sam bila ruglo u ulici.

A onda sam jednog dana ugledala neke, meni strane, ljude kako me zagledaju s ulice i među njima prepoznala Moje. Prebrojim godine na njihovim tužnim licima. Zvuk meni poznatih glasova razbije teški muk upleten u moje ogoljene zidove i probudi u meni rijeku uspomena. Slavlja i pjesme, vika i svađe, smijeh, lupa vrata i razbijeni prozor, svadba, plač bebe, miris pokipjelog mlijeka, pite, sarme i pečenih kolača. Pucketanje vatre, mjauk mačke, lavež psa, muzika i ljudi, puno ljudi.

Izgubljena u vrtlogu uspomena nisam ni bila svjesna što se događa, ali već sutradan sve je bilo jasno. Lupa čekića, nove cigle, prozori, vrata! Dan za danom i moje rane su napokon zacijelile. Oni strani ljudi ugasili su tamu u meni i ponovo sam bila cijela. Izvana sam još uvijek išarana starim ožiljcima, ali vjetar više neće zujati kroz mene, niti će snijeg prostirati bijeli tepih po mojem podu. Mačke i psi lutalice morat će naći novo sklonište, a ljudi novo smetlište.

Odjenom sve se utiša. Slatka bol svakog uboda čavla nestade. Posljednji zvuk ključa u bravi. U osmjesima Mojih na odlasku vidim da ćemo se uskoro ponovo vidjeti.

S prvim toplim proljetnim danima stigli su i Moji. Moji stari i s njima neki novi. Brzo sam shvatila da su svi moji, i oni mali i oni malo veći. Sa svakom posjetom stizali su i darovi. Nije prošlo dugo i dobila sam novi bijeli kaput, a moji prozori i vrata dobilu su svježu boju. Sa svakom novom stvarčicom jeka u meni polako je jenjavala.

Posjete su postale sve češće, a s ljetnim danima i sve duže. Polako se sve budilo u meni i oko mene. U starom cvjetnjaku nicali su novi pupovi zumbula, narcisa, tulipana. U vrtu se zazelenila salata, mladi luk i rikula. Ruže su okitile ogradu, a miris božura proširio se svuda oko mene. Stol je na dvorištu, a klupe uz njega uvijek pune. Opet se čuje “Dobar dan”, “Ajte na kafu”, “Do kad ste tu?”

Neće dugo, znam to. Tako je i ovaj put. Miris roštilja polako se gubi, stol i klupe pospremljene su u garažu, užurbane stope gore – dole niz stepenice, torbe u auto i posljednji zvuk- ključ u bravi. Još par riječi sa susjedima ispred kapije: “Sretan put i vidimo se uskoro”. Zvuk auta niz ulicu polako se gubi.

Tika-taka, tika-taka, muzika sata s kuhinjskog zida jedino je što sad čujem. Miris opranog veša širi se kroz mene, a na stolu pupoljak ruže u vazi. Pogled mi odluta do mog prvog poklona, šalicu na kojoj piše “Kuća se gradi od zidova i krova, a dom se gradi od ljubavi i snova”.

By Luka Dumić

The Usual Day

When Selling Corn

My eyes abruptly light up as I gaze at the sun ascending over the horizon. A cool salty breeze latches onto my nose as I take a deep breath. I catch a glimpse of the first few people as they take their first few steps onto the beach. One boy says, “Mama, kad mogu kupiti kukuruz?” This is when my day begins.

I capture my cool box which is jam packed with corn, and then lay the strap on my shoulder. Even though it’s early in the morning, I can already feel the sun rays beaming down onto my forehead. I take a seat in the shade which is conveniently under a massive pine tree, while lingering around waiting for my first customer.

It’s lunch time, and there he is, the chosen one, the one that will buy the first batch of corn from me. “Jedan kukuruz za 15 kuna i tri za 40 kuna.” I shout. The boy approaches me and buys three. Finally, a sale.

The late afternoon has approached me and I seem to have sold all my corn. I ponder to myself, is this really what I want to do throughout the whole of the summer holidays? Well, I haven’t really got anything better to do with my time and I really quite enjoy it. I grab my cool box and go home to prepare for the same process tomorrow.

By Luka Grbčić

Jadranovo

Jadranovo is my home.

Aeroplanes I hear from Krk

Days I spend lying in bed

Rule of mine is no early waking

Annoying vans go past shouting “FISH”

Night is a great time for swimming

O, how my eyes hurt from the salt

Very hot weather during the day

Other worries are non-existent


 

Jadranovo

Jadranovo je moj dom

Avioni se čuju s Krka

Dane provodim ležeći u krevetu

Ranog dizanja kod mene nema

Ali kamioni viču “ribe”

Noć je odlično vrijeme za kupanje

Oči peku od soli

Vani sunce grije svaki dan

Ovdje nema brige

 

 Sox

The second the puppy had stepped in to the corridor my heart melted. Not only was he cuter than I could have imagined, he was here to stay. After receiving information that we shared the same birthday, I had the feeling of a special bond. And to seal the deal he slept in my lap all night.

He was out now, he had been introduced to the outside quite recently and “poof” he was gone. His swift little legs were sure to outrun my father’s. The things that could go so wrong started swarming my head: he could get run over, get lost or escape my dad. I felt betrayed even though I knew he was only a dog. But all these doubts were gone as soon as he was placed back in my lap.

The car had narrowly missed him, but the tug that saved him from the impact was making him choke. Waiting at the vet’s as our dog is gasping for air. I was guilty. I was the reason that my dog was in this state. The doctor played with his instruments as my dog squealed in frustration at itself. The news was better than imagined as we walked out the house with a harness.

The morning of spring truly is great, especially rolling in the flowers with my loyal friend. The smell of flowers and nature radiates from my dog. It starts playfully but ends in the bath washing off the mud from my regretful pooch. Yet he still makes the same mistake daily, I wish these days would never end as each day brings another hilarious situation. Sox being curious about how many times he can stick his nose in nettles to stop it stinging or how many times he had to bark at the postman to stop him ever coming again.

A white explosion as Sox jumps into a snowman that doesn’t last seconds against him. His brown, black and white fur becomes powdery white. He dodges snowballs skilfully, we play until water starts to seep into my jacket and go home to find some hot cocoa on the table.

A puppy which is homeless stays for the night, but I remain loyal to my best bud by petting him more. Sox notices that the visitor is only a boy so he doesn’t act dominantly. He is gentle toward the visitor, but the visit was only temporary.

A vibrating bundle of nervousness is the state of my dog, but when we reach the coasts of Croatia suddenly all that tension has been dropped as he leaps into the sea. Running to and fro across the lawn, as this is a place where it’s impossible to be bored.

By Hrvojka Kostelić-Swift

The Green Pony

We are put together. All the screws are tightened.

They are spray-painting us today.

That will give us more character

Our real identity.

My neighbours are sprayed one by one, standing in a row.

Big bottle spits and splatters RED.

Another bottle spits and splatters BLUE.

A small bottle spits and splatters GOLD.

When they come to me, they stop and say Oh, we’ve run out of paint. Let’s use this old stuff. The colour wasn’t too popular with the kids last year but it needs using up.

Oh, panic! What are they going to spray on me?

Why not a lovely, predictable colour everyone likes?

Red for girls, blue for boys,

Gold or silver for the little princes and princesses…

Splatter, splash, hick-up, shake the tin,

Splatter, splash and I am covered!

It’s green. Light green. Grass green.

It’s not bad. Not bad at all.

Someone will like me just the way I am.

Not too shiny. Bright and light.

Green’s all right for BIKES.

Green is good for bikes.

I am the only green one on the shop floor.

I suppose that makes me special.

Will it be a girl or a boy?

The red ones are going. Oh, they are popular.

The blue ones are selling well.

I’m not worried.

I have faith and I know my worth.

I know I’m beautiful.

I will find my match.

There she comes. With Mum and Granddad.

I know she’ll take me.

I just feel it in my metal bones.

She looks around, quick glance at my red friends,

Quick glance at my blue friends.

A longer glance at me.

She is 7 I reckon, brown ponytails, serious little face.

She says This one.

Are you sure, they say, Look at the lovely red one over there.

You know I don’t like red, Mum.

This one is lovely I think.

It’s the only green one here.

I’ll have this GREEN “PONY”

 

Oh, how exciting!

I’m hers and she’s mine.

My working life begins.

Streets of Zagreb, here we come!

Zeleni pony

Sastavljaju nas. Pritežu šarafe.

Još nas samo treba ofarbati.

Da ne bumo svi isti.

Da bu svak bar donekle svoj.

Moje kolege stoje u redu ko vojnici

I čekaju kantu sa špricom;

Iz jedne kante šprica crvena, iz druge plava,

Iz manje kante šprica zlatna.

I na mene dođe red.

Stanu i vele “O joj, kante su prazne. Da postružemo ovu od lani? Nije baš neka boja al nema veze, treba

ju potrošit’”

O moj Bože, kakva bu to farba?

Zakaj ne obična neka koja se svima sviđa?

Crvena za curice, plava za dečke.

Zlatna ili srebrna za razmažence.

Špricne, štucne, protresu kantu,

Farba krene…

I evo, gotov sam!

Zelenim se ko travica

Pa ni to tak loša farba…

Nekom bu se svidila.

Svijetlo zelena. Ne presjajna ali svježa.

Tko kaže da zelena nije dobra za BICIKLE!?

Jedini sam zelenko u Nami na Kvatriću.

Zato sam baš nekaj posebno.

Ko će me kupiti – curica ili dečko?

Crveni se dobro prodaju.

I plavi su traženi.

Niš se ja ne brinem.

Znam ja kol’ko vrijedim.

Znam da sam zgodan.

Našel bum ja sebi par.

Evo je! S mamom i dedom.

To bi mogla bit moja gazdarica,

Tak mi šapće moje željezno srce.

Obilazi nas,

Pogleda crvene, pa onda plave.

Zastane kraj mene.

Ima možda nekih sedam godina,

Ozbiljno lice i smeđu kosu u repićima.

Veli “Ovaj mi se sviđa”

Mama veli “Jesi sigurna? Pogle crvene”

“Znaš da ne volim crvenu, mama.

Ovaj je nekak usamljen. Vidiš da je jedini zeleni među njima svima.

Ja bi baš njega.”

Joj, kak sam uzbuđen!

Sad sam njen i samo njen.

Počinje moj radni staž.

Lepi ti je Maksimir, Maksimir,

vu njem raste zelen žir, zelen žir.

La, la, la, la, la-la-la, la-la-la…..♫♫♫♫

 

Life’s Alright But…

 My neighbours do drive me mad sometimes. Take this morning, quite an ordinary morning, suddenly I hear this screeching outside. I race to the window to have a look but I am too late. It must have been Gilbert looking for trouble again. Such a bully. Young, strong, not the brightest, bless him. Not a bad character, just doesn’t know what to do with his young energy. He should be more independent by now and not hold onto his mummy’s skirt any more. About time he grew up!

I don’t know who got the upper hand this time. I somehow doubt it was Freddy. He lives two doors down but always hangs around my garden. Looking for company, hoping to make friends. At least he’s not aggressive like some. He used to follow me around, expecting me to teach him things, guide him since I’m older. Don’t know. He’s not my type. Thin, lanky, insecure, feeling a bit sorry for himself. I just ignore him these days.

All I want is a peaceful life. And good food. It irritates me when my neighbours are trying too hard to make friends.  Friendship’s overrated if you ask me. I like to keep myself to myself. Nothing wrong in that.

When Zimzum moved in next door, I was a bit curious, that’s all. She grew up quickly and had her own family. But in a way she never really grew up. Still shooting up telegraph poles, even concrete ones that hurt your paws! Very quick, very clever but such an eccentric, my goodness! You just never know with her. No sense of boundaries. Mad, unpredictable, some days too chatty, following me around, some days can’t even say hello. Sometimes she just comes in uninvited. How am I supposed to react to that!? Where are her manners? Honestly!

Maybe they all see me as a grumpy old lady. I am not old, just slightly older than them. They should all show a bit more respect. I was here before them, that’s all.

Jesi za kavicu?

Jesi za kavicu?

Ma ‘ajmo na kavicu.

Te čarobne riječi

Ravnaju bore na svačijem licu.

Ma nema veze što svi kradu,

Što se firme raspadaju,

Jedno je svima jasno –

Kafići i dalje dobro posluju.

U nogometu skandali,

Prostaci na vlasti,

Svi se žale na besparicu,

No netko te uvijek s kavom počasti.

Cappuccino, macchiato?

Ma dajte mi dupli espresso

I može jednu rakijicu tanku.

Zašto svi nemamo dionice u Francku?

Živjela kava, živjeli kafići,

Nek’ ih financijska policija mazi

Jer to su odmorišta i utočišta

Na grbavoj životnoj stazi.

Vremena se mijenjaju,

Džezve su zastarjele,

Sad aparati za kavu pište i vriju,

To su naše nove lokomotive

[1]Inspired by ‘Alternative Anthem’ by John Agard

By Branka Košak

Studeni

Košmar u glavi, drhtaj u grudima.

Osjeća se tišina.

Gluho je doba, a vrijeme, čini se, stalo.

Studeni je.

Pod uličnim svjetlima bjelasa se mraz

I nikoga više nema.

Ostali su nam samo mirisa zapis

I hodanje po sjećanjima.

 

November

The mind in turmoil, the chest in tremor.

Silence is felt.

In the dead of night, time stops.

It’s November.

Under the streetlight the frost is glistening

And those once here no longer are.

All that remains for us is the recollection of aromas

and the wandering through memories.

 Tko si?

Vrisak, vrijesak, pijesak,

Pljusak, pljesak, bljesak.

Bìlo, čūlo, kormilo,

Kišnica, krijesnica, vijesnica.

Kuća, tuča, zrak, mrak,

Strka, zbrka, rad, hlad.

Gràd, glad, grožđe, gvožđe,

Smijeh, grijeh, riječ, mliječ.

Mladost, radost, drveće, cvijeće,

livade, ograde, obale, ostave.

Rasti, cvasti, cvrkutati…

Depresija, opsesija, opresija,

Ključ, puč.

Čast, slast, plast, hrast.

Stroj, broj, samo svoj,

Olako, oteško, polako, preteško.

Trčati, stršati, prštati, praštati,

Krojiti, kuditi, kaditi, braniti.

Zvockati, zvrndati, zboriti, stvarati,

Spavati, pjevati, hraniti, davati.

Čigra, igra, gra, ra, a…

I…eto,

To sam ja!

                           Dinnertime

“Yes, the males of the species are funny”, she frowns.

“Of course, there are some out there you’d want to run off with into the sunset, but most of the time they just sniff around to say the least. It’s not that we don’t, but only to learn what THEY are up to.

Only the other day, I spotted my neighbour behaving oddly. To tell the truth, I think it’s the way they are, but come on, with HER two doors down?!

Anyway, three lots of little ones for me were more than enough. Not that I didn’t cherish them – on the contrary, I swear! But I just didn’t want any more. It’s about my wishes and needs, too.

Things have considerably changed for the better now. My life is much more tranquil. I still go out for energetic walks and stay there a great deal, but without any agro. No more worrying what if. I reckon it’s important to live one’s life to the full, but there are still limits to observe and standards to keep.

Luckily, in this day and age, precautions can be taken. In the days of our grans, you know, things were much harsher. Thankfully, today, with everything modern, anything can be done…so…I was given a break, a permanent break at that. I DESERVED IT!!

Because the fortunate thing is, in my house, some things are done with tact. Not that they are prudish or anything, but there is no need to discuss certain subjects at length, if a snap decision can be made. Hmm… Snap, snip, snip, snap, snipetty, snapetty, snipetty, snap. Hah, hah, hah…that’s almost like a nursery rhyme, isn’t it?!

Well, I DO like it when the children are playing… They make the most beautiful noise, like throwing pearls in the air. However, I do not like terrifying sounds of any kind. It scares me to death – especially the fireworks. The fear overwhelms me and all I want to do is run and hide.

Luckily, it doesn’t happen too often and I practically know when that time of year comes. I’ve only just about survived Guy Fawkes and his lot the other day, you know, but in a few weeks time, big bangs again. Oh, dear, dear… Hopefully, after that, some peace and quiet will reign for months to come. Unless, of course, we get somebody too enthusiastic or a bit funny ‘up there’, you know what I mean… We never know what humans might do.

Well, I must be going… Time for dinner. They’ll be calling me any minute now. I can feel it in my bones. Hah, hah, hah! Guess, when the stomach’s empty, bones are rattling. But, it’d better be a good meal or else – I’ll bite them!

The other day, I heard my humans saying that they must really watch what they eat – so many chemicals and hormones in food. ‘Not even the packaging is safe anymore’, they said. They’d better check mine, too.

I really DO wish we were fed like in olden times…just home-cooked meals and nothing else… Still get them, though, from time to time and don’t even mind the leftovers – believe it or not!

Better be off… Just…please, please…I’m asking YOU, in the Above, don’t let them make a dogs’ dinner out of my din-dins today. Just give me what I like. Cheerio!”

By Leo Šikman

Day On The Water

It has been four hours, four hours I have been sitting here, partially wet and so bored. Then again, it has been raining almost all day so I wouldn’t be surprised if no one came. Nevertheless, I am still bored and me and my friends can’t really do much, instead we pass the time by counting the amount of tourists walking on the bank. My friends and I have always been wandering ‘how on earth do people get used to dry land?’ The water is much better because it is really refreshing and you can’t get lost easily. Seriously though, where is our weekly 11 o’clock group? They’re late but they are never this late. If I have to wait here any longer I might actually start collecting rust.

Finally after many, many hours the sailors have arrived. I noticed on the boat a couple of new faces, one in particular looks nervous. Once the kids set foot on the island they went to their boats and oh, I am with the nervous looking one. Well, looks like I’m going to end up upside-down. While I just sit there I observe how he is rigging, he seems to know what he is doing. He wasn’t as fast as the others but he still did it and now we have set sail.

It is a bit of a slow start but there is barely any wind (lucky us). I might have underestimated this kid because he knows how to move even when he is on his own. Oh no, that is a big gust coming. Oh boy I’m about to go over, lean kid lean, lean, lean, lean, lean. Ok, we’re safe. That was a close one, how on earth did he manage to pull that off? Never mind, at least his friends got some good footage from that. Now we just have to keep on cruising for the next half hour, with nothing exciting happening but still fun, everyone seems to be having a lot of fun. There goes the whistle and my work here is done. We got ourselves back on the island, they got all of us unrigged, got back on their boat and left. It is almost a shame he had to leave, he was pretty good. Can’t wait till next time.

 Mandre

Moving through the waves my boat and me,

Away from the rocky shore as far as I can see,

Nothing to stop my racing heartbeat,

Divine clear sky above my head, deep blue sea below my feet,

Released into the wind like a flying kite,

Easily immersed in the rushing feeling, I can go day and night.


 

By Luka Capps

How to Make an Assassin

He walked around, staring at his left hand. It was completely useless, as it was paralysed, unable to feel, and brought back painful memories. And yet, he couldn’t bear to bring down his knife, and cut off the shrivelled, blackened husk. Why? He had no idea. It was most likely because it was one of his only memories of his family, the other being the black knife he held. His hand.

It was crippled on the night of the fire. His father had been drunk one night, and had sworn at a town guard. It was in his native tongue, Croatian, so he wasn’t gutted on the spot, but his family was killed with him, when the knight found out. Rather, they were meant to be killed. The boy was the sole survivor, with just a blackened hand, knife and clothes to show for it. The house had been filled with gas at night, and there was iron melting, so the furnace hadn’t been put out. The boy woke to the smell of smoke, and the sound of screams. His room was on the ground floor, and his parents’ room the floor above, with the smithy, so if it caught fire, he had a higher chance of surviving. He ran out of his room, and paid no mind to the fact that he was holding his knife. He could hear crackling, now that the screams had been silenced, and saw bright red tendrils poking through the gaps in the door. As he ran, he tripped on an ingot, and landed on the floor, his hand falling into a puddle of molten metal that had burned through the ceiling. His hand was fried instantly; the skin, the flesh, the nerves. The frying created a great deal of smoke, and he stared through it for a few minutes, oblivious to the flames’ crackle growing louder to his right. Suddenly, his saw a glint of flames on the cellophane window, and crawled to it, carefully evading any molten puddles. He jumped up, slashed it with his knife and jumped through, being thankful that he had gotten his knife, and that the window hadn’t been replaced. He looked at his burned hand, ash-covered clothes, and blackened hand.

As he came out of the flash-back, he thought about the blackened knife, an opposite memory to the blackened hand stored within it.

He had gotten the knife on the morning of his birthday, the day before the night of the fire. Well, that has a bit of a lie. He had actually been given a metal plate, with a message carved into it, ‘ako od ovoga možeš napraviti nož, onda možeš biti kuhar.’ He was overjoyed, as he had always wanted to be a chef, but his father thought that it would be best for him to follow in his footsteps, and become a blacksmith. He had spent all day and night in the smithy, heating the plate, hammering it, carving extremely hot pieces off of the handle, and shaping it into a rhino that fitted comfortably in his hand. He showed it to his father, who had been overjoyed, and asked him to help in the smithy, because the kingdom was going to war, and this was the only blacksmith’s in this town, so he needed help with all the orders that the knights were putting in. His father had said that he only needed help for a week, and the boy, then called Kane, could go off to be a chef.

He came back to reality, and looked at his scarred and scratched wall. As he stared into his ‘mirror’, a scrap of iron, he thought about the aftermath of the fire, and how he’d felt.

He stared at the burning house, not thinking of anything but trying to come to terms with the facts. His parents were dead. He had one set of ash-covered clothes, a useless hand, and a blackened knife. And he was alone. But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t accept the first fact. “No! They aren’t dead Kane!” His Mind would say, “But they are…” He would whisper out loud. And his stubborn mind would say, “No! The screams stopped because they got out of a window, or something!” And as the stubborn cycle of denial went on, he stopped trying to comprehend it, and just thought. He thought about how he had no money, no job, no way out. He knew he’d have to change his name, because as far as the knight knew, the family were now dead or dying. Maybe he could work in the Royal Kitchens since he was a pretty decent chef, and he’d heard that they had a vacancy. 

After resurfacing from his memories, he returned his vision to the knife he held, and thought about the root of its dark and brutal path.

He lay on his bed and looked out of the window. The moon was almost beyond sight, just peeking a hair’s width over the upper rim, and he made it near mid-night. He sat up, and rubbed his eyes, which had been aching continuously since he had seen the moon graze the bottom edge of the window. He felt down the side of the bed for the handle of his knife. Tonight, it would end. The painful days, the beatings, the multitude of bruises flowering across every visible part of his body. There was no reason for it barring the fact that the head-chef was a sadist, with a desire to see children suffer. He crept out of the door, and along the corridor into his abuser’s room. He stood over the chef, and held his knife, ready to slit the man’s throat. But he found it impossible to bring his hand down, and take the chef’s life. “Do it!” said the ‘Dark’ side of his mind. “No! He’s just misguided.” Responded his ‘Light’ side. “Misguided my eye! He’s a sadist and he’s beaten you enough for five lifetimes! KILL HIM!” “No!! He was just raised wrong.” “Would you rather spare him and let others deal with him while you run, or kill him, and stop any others having to endure his beatings as well?!” Suddenly, the large man stirred. Knowing he’d prolonged it too long, he slid his knife across the chef’s throat. The man let out a soft gurgle and then fell silent forever, as Kane ran. No. He wasn’t Kane. He was just Himself.

Epilogue

He awoke with the sun blazing though the window, onto his pale face. Quickly, he jumped up, and muttered, “Damn!”, his voice hoarse from lack of use in the night. He ran to his makeshift mirror, a plate of iron from the old scrap yard, and looked at himself, focusing on his dark eyes, and black hair, and wondered if he would need to change anything. He was an exile, of 13, living in a Black Market, and was to be killed on sight, were he to enter the kingdom. He was a tallish boy, but was fairly inconspicuous in his dark clothes, the only things he had to wear. He took out his knife, and polished it until it shone with a dark glint, reminiscent of its past. He then looked at the horn on the handle, and bringing out another rhino, almost identical to the one serving as a handle, started using the horns as hooks to scale his wall, which was harder and steeper than most, for the purpose of practice before harder assassinations.

By Zara Capps

Bromley

Barking dogs on the way to school,

River Ravensbourne,

Opticians up the road,

Many Mayas live here,

Learning lots at school,

Evie over the bridge,

Yellow sun is not always shining.


 

Dora’s Adventure

As Dora walked through the glass flower garden she brushed her gold, curly hair that reached down to her hip. Her turquoise dress, with white and blue flowers on it shone in the sun. She put on her green headband to hold back her hair. Her bright yellow pumps were the colour of the sun. She sometimes wore a white cloak. Her green eyes were always shining. Her pet puppy, Probs followed her around everywhere.

She heard her friend Iva shouting: “Dora dođi bliže!”

“Dolazim!”  Dora replied. And with a skip she was over the fence.

“Gledaj tamo!” Iva said pointing at an amazing eagle.

“Ooooh!” Dora beamed.

They went up the mountain with Probs. At the top the eagle welcomed them with a smile. They jumped on the eagle’s back. Her name was Tena. Tena took them to Winter Wonderland. At Winter Wonderland they had a snowball fight and made a snowman. Suddenly some rides appeared in front of them. There was a rollercoaster called The Snowman and a teacup ride called Speed is Need. First they went on The Snowman. It was so fast that they kept on screaming. After that they went on Speed is Need. They spun and spun and spun around in a blur. Later on they went for a wander and got lost. A bad witch saw them. As she prepared to swoop in on them she got eaten by a deer.

“Baš si super!” exclaimed Iva and Dora together!

All of a sudden Iva checked her watch and said: “Škola počinje za 20 minuta!”

Suddenly everything began to fade….

“Dora probudi se! Škola počinje za 20 minuta!” she heard her mum say and as she opened her eyes and saw the end of her bed, she realised that it had all been a dream.

By Ivana Capps

Zagreb

Zrinjevačke fontane žubore u prvom svjetlu dana,

Asfalt Ilice sjaji nakon iznenadnog ljetnog pljuska,

Gornjogradske ulice tonu u san prekrivene snijegom,

Ritam užurbanog grada i vlakova koji bježe u daljinu…..

Eh, sada je drugo vrijeme i novi sni, ali i dalje mirišu

Božićni kolači u toplim sobama.

London

Liverpool Street or Leicester Square, bustling, busy, almost bursting, full of life and noise,

Open spaces of Hampstead Heath, where you can run and run (or take a dip if you are brave enough)

Notting Hill Carnival,

Dalston’s old cinema with plush velvet curtains and all my favourite films,

Over the rolling, twinkling Thames, night air of South Bank is heavy with delicious smells,

Never sleeping, never ending…

Haiku Poems

Zara

Zagreb u zoru

Zara juri Zrinjevcem

Zeleni se sve

Luca

Grički top puca

Luca lovi goluba

Pravi neuspjeh

Maya

Sunce nas prži

Studena voda Jaruna

I mala Maya


At Dusk

The door slammed shut for what could have been the very last time. One day soon it will be. Time isn’t on my side. Not anymore. There are decades, years, hours, millions of minutes behind me, but when I look ahead I can’t see all that much. When I look back I can see almost too much; laughter, celebrations, people, holidays, losses, tears, too many tears… and now silence. Almost deafening. Someone once said ‘there is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery’. And indeed it pains me greatly to think of all the joy that I once knew, now that all I can do is wait for the time to pass.

My sight has faded over the years, I can hardly see without my glasses now. From my chair I can just about make out the outline of Medvednica standing tall against the fading winter sky. Silently standing there, almost hugging the northern stretches of the old town. Not forbidding, like some mountains can be. It gives me a great comfort to know that the mountain was here before me and it will still be here long after I am gone.

I get the same sort of feeling when I think about Sava, the river that runs through Zagreb. I think a river is important in the life of a city. Like blood that rushes through our veins, it brings excitement and vibrancy into a city. But somehow I feel that Zagreb doesn’t love its river. Not in the way London does. Or Paris. Not that I have ever been there. That would have been far too extravagant. But I have seen photographs in magazines, I have seen films. There are no twinkling lights on Sava’s banks, no river cruises, no restaurants on water. Still, I quite like that abandoned feel, the air of isolation.

Before I was this frail, before my back ached, before my legs were weak, before crossing this room was an effort, I used to take my old black bicycle and cycle down to the river and sit there for hours. Sometimes I would draw, for I was quite good at drawing when my hands were steady, but sometimes I would just sit there and watch the river move, sometimes slowly almost dance-like, sometimes urgently rushing, pushing onwards.

And it is only now that I see it, that perhaps Zagreb is afraid of its river, maybe even begrudging and that is why it keeps its distance.

I remember the terrible flood of 1964 very clearly. For days water just kept coming, it just wouldn’t stop. Ten thousand people lost their homes forever. I remember it clearly, standing in a room on the maternity ward, in my local hospital, holding my tiny newborn boy tightly and crying into his soft neck, crying with helplessness at all the devastation, loss and sorrow. Tragedies like that often bring out the best in people, but they also highlight some really uncomfortable truths. Several people lost their lives in that flood, a couple of them old ladies who drowned when their basement flats suddenly filled with water. And one of the bodies nobody came for. Nobody. There was not one person in this world who missed her. Who cried for her. I cried for days; for her, for her loneliness, for the silence that must have been surrounding her, for the fear that must have overwhelmed her at the end. Who could have known that my own fate would so cruelly twist the same way? I have outlived my entire family, and most of my friends, the sole survivor in this battle we call life. And the prize for getting this far isn’t all that wonderful really.

The wind is picking up outside and it looks like it is beginning to snow. Soft, gentle snowflakes are swirling around, dancing madly with each other and falling, falling, falling, covering the frozen ground bellow with a delicate blanket. But something is very strange tonight. It is early evening and I know it’s dark outside, but there is this strange light seeping into my room, making everything seem so exquisite and grand. And it is suddenly very warm, the warmth is wrapping itself around me and it feels just like it felt when my little boy used to wrap his tiny arms around my neck. And it is so quiet and peaceful.


 

By Ivan Kavelj-Buzuk

Going Home

We will long live on and on

To the pendulum of time’s final swing

To some we are forgotten

But in your memories we never die

Remember the bells we rang

Our monastery that stood tall on an emerald bay

Our island, our perfect imperfection

That floated on this vast and endless sea

Remember all the songs we sang

Our prayers that fell upon deaf ears

We men of God, we recorded verse upon verse

That voices no longer share

Now see our home so empty in the ocean

The church’s call long silent, its meaning lost

To blind eyes a blemish, but to us forever…

…a now imperfect shadow of imperfection

A beacon on cold and never ending waters

Now imagine our bastion in all its former glory

The tales and psalms the doors still hold

We men of god lay down our lives

So that you could share our wonderful story

We will long live on and on

To the pendulum of time’s final swing

To some we are forgotten

But in your memories we never die


 

Navijač

Danas sjedim na stranom stadionu.

Sve što sam ja gori za Hrvatsku.

“U boj, u boj za narod svoj”,

Idemo dečki, igra počinje.

Gol, gol, gol! Ali tko je zabio?

Je li to bio veliki Mandžukić?

Ili brzi Olić?

Ili tehničar Luka?

Ne, nitko od ovih legendi;

Novi momak Kramarić.

Gomila poludi.

Ovo će izgleda biti fantastičan dan

Za hrvatske Vatrene.

Devedeseta minuta,

Još je jedan-nula za Hrvatsku.

Naša je obrana kao kameni zid.

I to je to!

Danas se ponosim što sam Hrvat.


 

Supporter

Today I sit in a foreign stadium

Everything that I am burns for Croatia

“Into battle, into battle for your people”

Let’s go boys, the game has begun

Goal, but who scored?

Was it the giant Mandzukic?

Was it the speedster Olic?

Or the technical genius Luka?

No, none of these legends;

The new boy Kramaric

The crowd goes wild

This looks like a fantastic day for the Croatian “Vatreni”

90th minute

Still 1-0 Croatia

Our defence is like a stone wall!

And it’s all over

This day I am one proud Croatian.