People Say 40
10. 01. 2022
Milan Ružić

Midnight fires

The snow was already covering the roads and decorating the pine trees
up in the mountain, while I was getting ready to go to the train station.
It was ripe time to return somewhere out of nowhere, before the winter
settles in on the peaks, and buries all chances for people to get around,
leaving them for months to be guessing where their gate is, where the
chicken coop is, and where the path out of the front yard is, being cov-
ered by two meters of snow. As soon as I went out the door, the snow
I’ve always loved the big snowflakes in the moonlight on the high
mountains, the days when the door freezes on the outside, so it couldn’t
be open until the stove stuffed with coals warms the room where
people slept. However, that evening, neither a jacket, nor the shoes and
three pairs of socks were enough; nor was there the willpower, nor the
feet that were prepared to take a pretty serious journey, like the one
awaiting, which must be negotiated on foot to the nearest train station.
Ten kilometers through snowdrifts, over snow-covered wooden fences,
over barbed wires and stone boundaries… Anyone who has ever been
on the highest peaks knows that snowflakes fall twice as fast there,
and that are far more beautiful there than anywhere else. It was an
early winter; the sharp midnight winter air was creeping in wherever
there was even the smallest hole in the clothes or the skin. As soon as
I went out, I remembered the old scars that decided to become frozen
that night.
With my long legs I was plowing through a metеr deep snow that
fell in just three hours, while I watched the centuries-old pine trees,
adorned by snow, that proudly gazed towards the moon. All around
only some old oak rustled while shaking off the weight of the snow,
shivering and hoping that Christmas Eve would come soon so that it
could warm oneself on the fire. In the distance a crack of some tree
was heard, not being able to withstand the frost. The birds stopped all
flights and got inside the cracks of the nearby rocks, while the wolves
howled somewhere in the distance in order to gather and form a pack
in case they, that evening, get through the enclosure where the sheep
are, and drink fresh, warm blood. I was warmed by the thought of
the wolf’s bloody jaws that are grinning at the next lamb whose liquid
of existence will keep them warm and cause fireworks of pleasure in
wolf’s own blood. The frost was so strong that I am sure every wound-
ed lamb rejoiced in the warmth of its own blood that ran between the
curls of the wool, and then dripped on the floor and froze after a few
moments. At the thought of that massacre and that heat, I shuddered
a few more times. Bear is lucky: He sleeps somewhere in a cave where
he pilled up branches and dry leaves; bear is not in a hurry to catch the
train and he does not give a damn about winter.
Some fires could be seen in the valley below the large grove. The
sheer sight of the light in the far, below me and the peaks, made me feel
warmer. O God, how huge pillars of fire held the sky above the valley
that night! Vague voices came through the sharp night air of those
gathered around the fire. Surely some kind of pagan feast, or maybe
the villagers from one of the hamlets brought all the wood they had in
order to worm up together on a snowy meadow. The mountain, long-
ing for that warmth, watched them.
Going through a large grove my face was lashed several times by
a dry blackberry and ice-hardened branches of old oaks. Each time
when one of those branches whipped me, it made a scar, but there was
no blood. I guess the blood stayed somewhere deeper inside in order to
remain warm somehow.
I came out of the grove unto the clearing, and the murmur of the
people around the fire, not far from the dense forest and deserted
meadow border, subsided. They heard me, and as everyone stood up, I
believe they have seen me as well. Who knows what was going through
the heads of superstitious old men standing in groups? In their eyes I
must have jumped out of the woods like an apparition, a screecher, a
vampire, a devil, a robber, a wizard, an usud (fate) and a ghost. How-
ever, I was only a frozen man tormented by snowdrifts, by sounds, and
by winter of the peaks of a one mountain, intoxicated by the nightly
beauty of pine trees and the whiteness of horizons in front of me; by
fear fed by the howling of the wolves and that deviant part of myself
warmed by the blood of young lambs; I was a midnight winter pedes-
trian striving to get to the train station and a heated compartment of
the train going in the direction in which the Earth was tilted for me.
I would have been done for even before I approached if I did not
greet them in the name of God from afar, through the blades of the
wind. It is strange how superstitious people react to the Lord. They
truly believe, but their faith in everything is just superstition that
they inherited from their ancestors and earned from the mountain
on which at night you cannot distinguish the sounds of this and the
other world. These are people who do not shake table cloth with bread
crumps in front of the house at night, who do not sit on a log, who are
scarred to stand under the eaves droughts in the dead of night, but who
also go to church, who knows why and for what a heck.
They accepted God, whom I, by words, sent as my predecessor, and
they cheerfully put me by the fire like a pot. I watched their peasant
faces which were made as filigree by the shadows of melancholy, as
well as their goodness trapped behind the bars of cruelty. Out of that
goodness, pointy and crooked noses were protruding forward and
thick mustaches over the lips, intoxicated by brandy, but eager to talk.
They convinced me to stay with them to wait until dawn, and then
they would escort me to the train station. Sometimes before the dawn,

10. 01. 2022
Mirko Palfi

Love in Venice

Venice is the city of canals and bridges; nicknamed as “Queen of the
Adriatic” and “Bride of the Sea”. Venice was declared the most beauti-
ful city in the world. A bit of a stretch to even think of such a thing in
the first place, let alone proclaim it as such. The city is unique, but to
give that epithet to any city in the world is nonsensical. You can find
beauty in every city if you open your eyes to notice it. The beauty of any
city is woven in the eyes of an observer.
The hidden magic of Venice can be found in narrow and short
streets; on a red bench under the canopy of a lemon tree; in a small
boat with nets and other fishing equipment that is tied to a wooden
pillar in a narrow canal passage in front of a small blue house; in a cup
of the most inviting smell of espresso under the shade of a palm tree.
But it appeared to me that everyone is just noticing only one thing –
the gondola. It’s the most popular attraction in Venice and tourists are
ready to pay a high price to take a ride on the “Grand Canal” in order
to capture that perfect photo moment.
St. Mark’s Basilica is an architectural landmark that also attracts
many visitors in Venice. Young couple found a spot in the middle of
St. Mark’s square for a photo opportunity of their child in the stroller.
Prior to taking a picture, parents have tried different ways to entertain
a child and bring a smile to the child’s face. They also wanted to place
a red rose in a child’s tiny hand. Numerous attempts and numerous
pictures were made but the child was not cooperating. What parents
seem to forget quite easily is that a little child can see magic in every
little thing. In children’s subconsciousness there is only a desire to play;
they don’t care how they will look in a photo. It is completely irrelevant
to them whether the background is the Eiffel Tower, the Berlin Wall,
Grand Canal or St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.
We slept in that morning. The night before, after a busy tourist day,
we sat for a long time on the edge of the canal, i.e. on the granite stairs
that can be taken into the canal. At the bottom stairs were green algae
that grew long time ago due to constant splashing of the canal’s water.
Our hotel was near the canal. Right across the canal was a small park
that was shaded because of numerous tall trees. As it turned out later,
that park was our saving green oasis from the overwhelming heat that
was prevailing over Venice those days. In the middle of the park there
was a small circular playground. It had three swings, a blue slide and
netting steps that were connected to the slide by a small blue bridge.
There was also a plastic blue tunnel for the kids to crawl through.
As soon as my little girl Ella woke up, she wished to go to the park
to play. Ella’s mom was planning to spend time shopping. My intention
for the morning was to get an espresso and sit in the shade of the floral
garden of the nearby café and observe the flow of the canal’s traffic. It
turned out that Ella’s wish was still stronger than mine, i.e. me. I’ve
decided to take her to the park. It meant Ella’s mom was granted free
time for shopping. She tried but couldn’t hide the joyful expression on
her face. Ella was already impatiently waiting for me by the door.
We crossed one of many bridges; while walking alongside the canal,
Ella and I treated ourselves to gelato – popular frozen dessert of Italian
origin. We reached the park after about ten minutes of walking slowly.
It was so hot outside that gelato was melting much faster than Ella and
I could eat it. We sat on one of the five wooden benches that were sym-
metrically arranged around the circular playground. While we were
indulging in our delicious frozen treat, Ella was observing what was
happening on the playground. On the soft rubbery floor of the play-
ground there was only one little boy; he was climbing the netting steps.
My attention was directed to few of the people that were sitting on the
Soon after, the little boy’s attention was focused towards Ella and
me. He was speaking some words to us but we could not understand
any of it. Little boy was determined to find someone to play with, so he
approached us. His name is Louis. He asked Ella in his native Portu-
guese to join him and play together. Ella never saw or met that boy, nor
does she speak or understand Portuguese language, and despite being
a little shy, Ella accepted his invitation to play. That is the beauty and
magic of the children’s world. I looked over at the bench where Louis’
parents were sitting; both mother and father were preoccupied with
their phones. Later I found that little Louis is from Brazil and that he is
travelling through Italy with his parents.
On another bench, next to ours, was a mid-age mother with her
young daughter. Mother was explaining something to her daughter
in their native Italian language. They live near the park. Little Italian
girl’s name is Isabella, she was six years old. Ella is Canadian tourist,
and was eight years old; Brazilian tourist Louis was seven years old.
Ella and Louis became instant international friends. They spoke two
different languages, but they understood each other in universal chil-
dren’s language. First, they were going down the slide, then climbing
the netting steps and then they switched to swings.
Little Italian girl Isabella seemed to be bored. She was going cir-
cles around the bench. Mother was closely watching her every step
the whole time. At one moment Isabella wanted to join Ella and Louis
on the swings. She tore herself from mother’s embrace and went to
the free swing trying to sit on it all by herself. Swings seats were made
out of wood, positioned low enough that Isabella could have easily get
on it by herself. Regardless, her mother quickly ran after her, pulled
her aside, afraid that Ella or Louis might knock her down with their
swings. Becoming aware of the situation, Ella and Louis slowed down
their swings while the little Italian girl was trying to get back to swing.
Isabella’s intention and desire was to be part of that small, free-spirited
children’s group that Ella and Louis seamlessly created. Isabella was



Претплатите се и дарујте независни часописи Људи говоре, да бисмо трајали заједно


Људи говоре је српски загранични часопис за књижевност и културу који излази у Торонту од 2008.године. Поред књижевности и уметности, бави се свим областима које чине културу српског народа.

У часопису је петнаестак рубрика и свака почиње са по једном репродукцијом слика уметника о коме се пише у том броју. Излази 4 пута годишње на 150 страна, а некада и као двоброј на 300 страна.

Циљ му је да повеже српске писце и читаоце ма где они живели. Његова основна уређивачка начела су: естетско, етичко и духовно јединство.


Мило Ломпар
главни и одговорни уредник
(Београд, Србија)

Радомир Батуран
уредник српске секције и дијаспоре
(Торонто, Канада)

Владимир Димитријевић
оперативни уредник за матичне земље
(Чачак, Србија)

Никол Марковић
уредник енглеске секције и секретар Уредништва
(Торонто, Канада)

Уредници рубрика

Александар Петровић
Београд, Србија

Небојша Радић
Кембриџ, Енглеска

Жељко Продановић
Окланд, Нови Зеланд

Џонатан Лок Харт
Торонто, Канада

Жељко Родић
Оквил, Канада

Милорад Преловић
Торонто, Канада

Никола Глигоревић
Торонто, Канада


Душица Ивановић

Сања Крстоношић

Александра Крстовић

Графички дизајн

Антоније Батуран

Технички уредник

Радмило Вишњевац


Часопис "Људи говоре"
The Journal "People Say"

477 Milverton Blvd.
Toronto ON,
M4C 1X4 Canada


Маја Прелић
Торонто, Канада


Никол Марковић, секретар
т: 416 823 8121

Радомир Батуран, oперативни уредник
т: 416 558 0587

477 Milverton Blvd. Toronto,
On. M4C 1X4, Canada

ISSN 1925-5667

© људи говоре 2023