Anto Zirdum








(In fleeing is salvation)


The theatre of war is

a wasteland of dire alternatives

either us or them; either living or dead

if you won’t get him, he will get you

if you don’t want a rifle you’re a traitor

if you get rid of it you’re a deserter

(then you are undone by your own side)

in all the variables

odds are on the side of death

and from death flee not only those

who cannot escape

since they realised too late

they have been bridled and yoked


And thus it’s the holy duty

of every sensible being

to spread the wings of charity

to those who refuse to shoot and maim

but who also refuse to be killed

to help them escape that void of alternatives

and the chasm between hate and fear

for if we fail to help

refugees and renegades

exiles and escapees

we have no right to hope

that others would help us

when some of our own tyrants

(who are surely among us, binding their time

and waiting for their moment of fame)

choose to bridle and yoke us

and bind us to their own designees

or else, or else

since when there’s no other option

all have the right to flee

from hate and war

If the fleeing is salvation.




Between Heaven and Hell


We all have our own heaven

and our hell


our own notions about them

but perspectives and points of view

differ so much

that someone’s hell

is heavenly to others

and vice versa obviously

and everyone’s life

is mostly threaded

through the eye of a needle

between the true heaven

and true hell

if they truly even exist.




Gleaming Fairy


You are like the wild mountain river

Prone to flash floods

You yearn for the plains

That will calm

And settle you into your bed

In the plains you get jaded

For you have steep slopes in your veins

And highland horizons

Your temper is fairylike

You bestow charms upon the loved

And curse the hated with worst spells

You defend yourself like a wild boar

And attack like a lone wolf

Waiting hidden in the fourth dimension

Of the dark Bosnian forests

The essence of this poem is

That I love you the same

Both as you are and as you aren’t

And I fear to meet you

Like I fear the most colourful mushrooms

You are mine harsh alternate

A lone lighthouse in unseen vistas

That observes with longing

Its reflection on the other side of the abyss…



Translated by  Darko Jezildzic













Anto Zirdum (1956) graduated from the Faculty of Pedagogy in Rijeka. Currently holds the position of Inspector for Education, Science, Culture and Sport. For the last eight years he has been a member of the central board of the global network of HKD “Napredak” with headquarter in Sarajevo. He is also a board member of Writers’ Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

To date he has published the following 18 books of prose, and edited one collection of selected poems and two anthologies of short stories:
Riders of the Light, Legends and Fantasies (Jahaci svjetlosti, legende i fantazije) published by HKD Napredak, Vitez, 1996;

Bronze Sword, (Broncani mac), a collection of stories published by HKD Napredak& FLASH agency, 1996;

Medico Laureato, a novel based on the author’s biography; published by Croatian hospital “Dr. fraMatoNikolić”, Nova Bila 1997;

White Road, Black Winter (Bijeli put, crna zima), a novel published by ZIRAL Mostar& HKD NapredakVitez, 1998;

Keepers of Dignity (Cuvari dostojanstva), a collection of stories published by Naša ognjišta, Tomislavgrad, 1999;

Bistua’s Chronicle (Bistuanska kronika) a novel published by HKD Napredak, Vitez 2000;

You Can’t Get Out of Your Skin (Ne mozes iz svoje koze), a novel published by MH Zenica/Čitluk, 2001;

Roofless Island (Obeskrovljeni otok), a novel published by MH Zenica&ZavičajniklubPlehan Zagreb, 2002;

Saga of Two Swords (Saga o dvamaca), a novel published by Multimedija print, Nova Bila, 2003;

The Slave Woman and Armatoloi (Robinja i martolozi), a novel published by MH Zenica, 2005;

Wander in the Creak of the Dawn (Zacudnost u cik zore), HKD Napredak Vitez, prose, 2007;

Radman’s syndrome (Radmanov sindrom) a collection of SF stories published by HKD Napredak, Vitez, 2007;

Elkasandra’s complex (Elkastrandin kompleks), SF novel, published by Slovo, Zagreb, 2008.

Ceasarian (Carski rez), F FGM, Kreševo 2010.

Bishop Andria and his Lady Friend (BiskupAndrija i njegova druzica), published by VAT/HKD NapredakVitez, 2011.

First, Second and Other Stories (Prve druge i ostale pjesme), published by VAT Vitez, 2011.

Born on All Soul’s Day (Rodjeni na dan mrtvih), published by Dobra knjiga, Sarajevo, 2012.

  –Teacher of vogue tailoring in Sarajevo 1914 (Učiteljica modnog krojenja u Sarajevu 1914.) published by Dobra knjiga, Sarajevo, 2014.

Only the enlightened can see (themselves) in darkness (Samo (se) prosvijetljeni vide u tmici) published by HKD Napredak, Vitez, 2015.


Selected Antology’s

Lost Stars (Izgubljene zvijezde) – a collection of hundred poems by poetesses from Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1908 to 2008, published by HKD Napredak Sarajevo, 2008.

– Slava’s Lay – Anthology of short stories inspired by Slavic mythology (Slavin poj – ANTOLOGIJA PRIČA INSPIRIRANIH SLAVENSKOM MITOLOGIJOM published by VAT Vitez, 2013.

Myth Anthology, A Panorama of Short Stories from Bosnia and Herzegovina – a collection prefaced by Anto Zirdum

Zirdum’s stories, poems and essays have been translated into English, German, Macedonian, Hungarian and Slovenian.


-For stories at various competitions: two third places, two second and two first.

-For the novel Cesarian he received the Fra GrgoMartic, and Terra Tolis awards.

-For his novel Born on All Soul’s Day, he received the Foundation for Publishing of Federation BiH award.

-For his essay Inclusion and Exclusion he received third prize from the Kumanovo journal Koraci (Steps)

For his novel Teacher of vogue tailoring in Sarajevo 1914 he received the award of the publishing Foundation of the Federation of B&H in 2014, and A.B. Šimić award in 2015.


Anto Zirdum is also the editor of the Bosnian fantasy and applied poetry blogs.



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