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!
More here, here or here.
I have to say: I lost track with the Romanian contemporary literature & art. A short visit last Friday at Romanian Cultural Institute in Vienna to receive the Martisor-book (great initiative, btw) and I managed to catch up a little.
Beside the joy of (re-)reading bits of Gellu Naum‘s poetry, I discovered Ioan Es. Pop with “The livid worlds: A Gothic novel“. It’s a bilingual volume, so I can share a bits of his work.
The word is sharp and cuts deep in the reality. Pretty harsh images. Well, Gothic. Don’t read him on a bad day.
“We knock on the doors for them to open, to
let us out, but those on the other side don’t hear us and
they too knock on the doors for us to open and let them out
and when they open it’s ourselves we bump into
but we don’t pay attention to ourselves and we say we want out
and they say we want in, don’t take the door away with you,
we wouldn’t have anything to open on the way out,
there would remain a blank spot in the wall,
we won’t find any way to get out.”
“I told you to stay away from mornings,
their raw sun is not for us.
whereas the blurred and heavy sun of our world
hardly steams up the horizon. we are
at the beginning of another world and of other suns.
you’ve remained alone. it’s good. you have the whole past at hand.
you’ve seen evil with eyes wide open and you will heal.
one day you’ll understand that everything that shines
brings death closer to you.
evenings, on the other hand, will please you here:
you are in the age of livid worlds,
half shadow, half unknown.
be welcome. here the future
has almost passed.”
to be continued. Tomorrow. With a few witty cartoons.
The other day I was complaining to a friend about how stuck I am with my writings. From three lines of conversation in which I explained the idea of my post, here is what it came out (title and editing are not mine):
I’m trying to write
about the expat life
and it’s like being a baby again
I want to say
very much aware
your social web
you learn how to walk
how to interact
and the way to interact is changing
you search for circles within people
but something is missing
something went away
I learned that I should have a point. I guess in poetry you don’t need one.
I’ll experiment some more!
Note: It’s strange how my friend, without knowing the recent release of the movie Invictus, named my way out of stuckness. And I, without knowing the poem of William Ernest Henley, accepted it. Things fit somehow!