Happy to remember yesterday evening when attending an event about Nichita Stănescu, that he is one of my favorite Romanian poets. Happy to share a few poems here, even though the available translations don’t allow me to post my favorite ones.
He offered me a leaf like a hand with fingers.
I offered him a hand like a leaf with teeth.
He offered me a branch like an arm.
I offered him my arm like a branch.
He tipped his trunk towards me
like a shoulder.
I tipped my shoulder to him
like a knotted trunk.
I could hear his sap quicken, beating
He could hear my blood slacken like rising sap.
I passed through him.
He passed through me.
I remained a solitary tree.
a solitary man.
Then we met more often.
I stood at one side of the hour,
you at the other,
like two handles of an amphora.
Only the words flew between us,
back and forth.
You could almost see their swirling,
I would lower a knee,
and touch my elbow to the ground
to look at the grass, bent
by the falling of some word,
as though by the paw of a lion in flight.
The words spun between us,
back and forth,
and the more I loved you, the more
they continued, this whirl almost seen,
the structure of matter, the beginnings of things.
A Lesson on the Cube
You take a piece of stone,
chisel it with blood,
grind it with Homer’s eye,
burnish it with beams
until the cube comes out perfect.
Next you endlessly kiss the cube
with your mouth, with others’ mouths,
and, most important, with infanta’s mouth.
Then you take a hammer
and suddenly knock a corner off.
All, indeed absolutely all will say –
what a perfect cube this would have been
if not for the broken corner!