The poets and the world war: "Sumatra" by Miloš Crnjanski

Crnjanski in 1914
Miloš Crnjanski was born in Csongrád (Hungary) in 1893. He moved soon with his family to Timisoara (Romania) and grew up in a Serbian patriotic atmosphere. We can easily figure out that he is under special observation immediately after the Archduke's assassination in Sarajevo. In fact he was initially persecuted but lately sent by the government of Wien to the Galician front, in the summer of 1915. He was forced to leave the comrades for pneumonia and spent quite a long recovery period in the military hospital of Wien. After this time he took his place in the second lines, as telephone operator in a railway station. He published his first anti-war poems in the middle of the European havoc and carnage. In 1917 he attended the school for reservists and was assigned to the supreme command of the Austro-Hungarian army in the Friuli region, precisely in San Vito al Tagliamento (Northeast Italy). He wrote more than one poem dedicated to the experience of war and he also kept diaries (we remember The Diary of Čarnojević). The poem we propose today is not far from resembling the missing manifesto of "Sumatraism" and was written after the war. It's an interesting example of the poetry that was conceived after the disaster, a frequent situation we may find everywhere, with different tones and expressions, in the aftermath. Crnjanski's most renowned and translated work is Migrations ("Seobe"), which is also considered his masterpiece. He died in Belgrade in 1977.


Now we are carefree, tender and airy.
Let us think: how quiet are, the snowy
peaks of the Urals.

If we get sad over a pale figure,
whom we have lost on some evening,
we know that, somewhere, a rivulet,
instead of it, all in red, is flowing!

One love, morning in foreign land,
envelops our soul, gets tighter,
in endless peace of blue seas,
from which the crimson corals glitter,
like, from my distant homeland, cherries.

We wake up at night, smiling dearly,
to the Moon with its bow bent,
caressing the distant hills, tenderly,
and icy mountains, with our hand.

Belgrade, 1920

(Translation by Lazar Pašćanović, see also here for a French translation)


Sad smo bezbrižni, laki i nežni.
Pomislimo: kako su tihi, snežni
vrhovi Urala.

Rastuži li nas kakav bledi lik,
što ga izgubismo jedno veče,
znamo da, negde, neki potok
mesto njega teče!

Po jedna ljubav, jutro, u tuđini,
dušu nam uvija, sve tešnje,
beskrajnim mirom plavih mora,
iz kojih crvene zrna korala,
kao, iz zavičaja, trešnje.

Probudimo se noću i smešimo, drago,
na Mesec sa zapetim lukom.
I milujemo daleka brda
i ledenegore, blago, rukom.

Beograd, 1920

Italian Great War Museums #8: Museo storico e naturalistico della Grande Guerra 15-18 in Maserada sul Piave

Military units from nations allied with Italy were involved in operations along the River Piave. The British Expeditionary Force played a decisive part in actions during the crucial stages of the final battle, known as “Battaglia di Vittorio Veneto” or “Third Battle of the river Piave”. The Great War Museum of Maserada sul Piave, a municipality lying just in the middle course of the Piave river, between the Montello hill and the river mouth, hosts an interesting collection of relics found in different times from the river banks and surrounding areas, especially after the floods. The collections focus on the history and material relating to troops of the British Seventh Division but visitors can find here a valuable part dedicated to the Austro-Hungarian army and equipment (the below stuff in the pictures was all found on the bed of the river Piave, in the area of a small village called Salettuol).

Italian helmet mod. Adrian
6.5 cartridge set for Italian machine gun mod. Fiat 14
Trunk used to carry cartridges for Schwarzlose machine gun
Sanitary stuff
The light British Lewis machine gun

Museo storico e naturalistico della Grande Guerra 15-18
Viale Caccianiga, 62
Maserada sul Piave - Treviso - Italy -
T. +39 340 1486936 (curator: Giuliano Bottani)

The exhibition "I Romeni e la Grande Guerra" (The Romanians and the Great War) in Cremona

Cremona, Palazzo Comunale
Starting from last Thursday and up to the 25 of October people travelling in Italy, and in particular in the North of the country, will have the chance to visit the exhibition dedicated to Romanian contribution during the Great War years. This event, designed and planned by "Istituto Romeno di Cultura e Ricerca Umanistica di Venezia", "Istituto per la Storia del Risorgimento Italiano di Cremona e Lodi", "Centro Incontri Diplomatici – Cremona, Museo Nazionale di Storia della Romania", "Archivio Nazionale della Romania e l’Università Babeș–Bolyai di Cluj-Napoca" is now hosted in the nice city of Cremona (close to Milan) and displays more than forty boards that frame the conflict of approximately half a million soldiers from Bessarabia, Bukovina, Transylvania and from the Kingdom of Romania (that entered the war in the summer of 1916). Here is a quick overview and recap about Romania during World War I while here is an interesting slideshow about this exhibition.

"I Romeni e la Grande Guerra" (The Romanians and the Great War)
Palazzo Comunale - Salone degli Alabardieri
Piazza del Comune, 8
Cremona - Italy
8-25 ottobre 2015 - Free entrance
info and booking:

Event in cooperation with "Comune di Cremona" and with the support of "Ambasciata di Romania nella Repubblica Italiana", "Consolato Generale di Romania a Milano", "Regione Lombardia", "Provincia di Cremona" and "Comune di Cremona".

The international conference "Being Young during WW1"

Austro-Hungarian soldier and children, Eastern Front
Although it might seem obvious to write such things, we have to admit that a global war has a different impact depending on gender and age. Not only the soldiers were young during the five years of the Great War and it’s not a coincidence that the most popular title with the word “youth” belongs to a woman, Vera Brittain and her Testament of Youth. The international conference "Being Young during WW1" to be held at Manchester Metropolitan University on 7 November 2015 aims “to examine the effects of the First World War on children and young people, and its social and psychological legacies. Growing up in a period of conflict had an immense impact on the young. There were deep fears and anxieties, but also freedoms and opportunities. For some, the costs were relationships traumatised by separation and the death or injury of family members and friends. For others, school lives were disrupted, adult supervision relaxed and wages rose as a result of labour shortage. Some were caught up in the military excitements of war and enlisted as boy soldiers; others protested and took part in strike action. The image of the child became a potent figure in propaganda and patriotic parades and performances, while war themes became a popular theme in juvenile literature.”

The complete program is available at this link as PDF.