Poetry: Cantata by Vedran Husic

We’re always on the lookout for a great poem that uses rhyme and meter in traditional ways—Vedran Husic’s “Cantata” excels with elegant, simple rhymes. As its title suggests, the heart of the work is music, a thing for your mouth, for your ear.



This story is old, older
almost than the mouth, than the spring:
outside the house, a soldier
cleared his throat to sing—still he sings.

Smoke rose slow to the rafters,
black, like the mouths in the street;
the fire left nothing after—
the moral is that it repeats.

Some packed them inside churches,
others threw them into dry wells,
singing ironic dirges
over the tongue’s tapering swell.

Rivers are raised in a toast:
the obdurate work of the lungs
changed no man’s heart; a voice lost
among voices, her song is sung.


Vedran Husic

A recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the National Endowment for the Arts, Vedran Husić was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and raised in Germany and the United States. His collection of stories, Basements and Other Museums, was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2018. He has poetry published or forthcoming in Salamander, Pleiades, Spillway, Denver Quarterly, Sugar House Review, New Madrid, Blackbird, and elsewhere.

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