According to the biographical note at the end of this book, Damir Janjalija (aka Damir Damir) was born in 1977, Kotor, Montenegro. He is a sailor, a wanderer and a poet who wakes up every morning to a different now.

The slim volume of 24 of Damir's haiku (translated by Saša Važić) is prefaced by a haiku by Shuson Kato (1905-1993) who belonged to the "Human Exploration School".

the fog's clearing . . . 
so now we can see only
what our eyes can see

(Shuson Kato)

The title and the choice of Shuson's haiku to preface the volume gives a good indication of the direction Damir is taking with his haiku. In poem after poem he presents a tension between the reality that is presently perceived and that which is more or less hidden in the mist and which the imagination is free to muse upon. He does not shield his eyes from the evidence of war and massacre acknowledging their presence in the midst of sunrises, plum blossoms, spring wind.

behind barbed
wire in an empty field . . .


first plum blossoms . . .
at gunpoint toward the east
village graveyard


she whispers to me
I saw the war's end in my dream . . .
spring wind


spring blossoms . . .
Srebrenica fields silent
with the sky

In memory of Srebrenica victims.


warm is my
favourite colour . . .
dead flowers


the day a maggot
became a butterfly, sinks
into the west night

Colin Stewart Jones draws the title of this slim volume from the George Bernard Shaw quote: "Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week."

The poet then proceeds to let us accompany him as he reflects, through the next 52 weeks, on the phenomena of his inner and outer life.


New Year's Day
the crow shaking
its wings


New Year . . .
my head is still
in the old one

Each week's concerns are painted with a lightness of touch that avoids the merely confessional and lets us into his life in a manner to reveal the universality of the individual life even in its differences. Each haiku displays an assurance of control as he presents each week that fits Wordsworth's dictum, "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." His words are simple, the images are those of a visual artist brought together with a natural sense of the rhythm of connections and disconnections.

empty sky
lines begin to form
in my mind

I found it
without you . . .
tonight's moon

I recommend the book to everyone who wants to see how an accomplished poet sifts through moments of his daily life and creates from them resonances of the communal human experience.