HOMELAND AND FOREIGN LAND: CHERRY TREE AND POETRY OF MILOŠ CRNJANSKI
Miloš Crnjanski became familiar with the poetry of the East in Paris, towards the end of the 1920s, when he gathered material for his anthology of Chinese and Japanese poems. This was the moment when cherry blossom, not cherry fruit, entered his writings. While preparing and editing two collections of translated poetry Antologija kineske lirike (1923) and Pesme starog Japana (1928), he also wrote poems featuring the image of cherry blossom as an important symbolic topos. In his poems Sumatra (1920), Poslanica iz Pariza (1920), Povorka (1921), Serbia (1925) and Stražilovo (1921-1929) cherry trees appear to carry a particular symbolic message, especially the blossom. It creates a light, translucent, ethereal and often even mobile poetic image. This image blends the light and the dark, joy and sorrow, physical and metaphysical, life and death. The cherry tree consumed by fog creates an unusual picture in which everything simmers down in the arms of the nature. It may well be the very heart of the metaphysical, transcendental world of Miloš Crnjanski. The cherry entered his poetics from the East, from the lands he had never visited. At the same time, it created a real bond with his native Srem which he had left years before. It was connected to a real image of a foreign land, like Tuscany, where the poet was but a stranger. We can say that cherry blossom connects three spatial entities: the far-away homeland left behind by the poet; the foreign land where he lives as a stranger; and a distant landscape he had never visited.