Sunday, August 10, 2008

two poets I like

Nichita Stanescu

Sfarsit de anotimp

Eram atât de atent,
încât se stingea-n cupole amiaza,
iar sunetele înghetau în jurul meu,
prefacându-se-n stâlpi rasuciti.

Eram atât de atent,
încât plutirea ondulata-a mirosurilor
se prabusea-n întuneric
si parca niciodata n-as fi-ncercat

Deodatam-am trezit atât de departe
si de strain
ratacind înapoia chipului meu,
ca si cum mi-as fi învelit simturile
cu relieful fara de noima al lunii.

Eram atât de atent,
nu te-am recunoscut, si poate
ca vii mereu,
în fiecare ora, în fiece secunda,
si treci prin asteptarea mea de-atunci
ca prin fantoma unui arc de triumf.

Season's end

I was so very aware
that the afternoon was dying in the domes,
and all around me sounds froze,turned to winding pillars.

I was so very aware
that the undulant drift of scents
was collapsing into darkness,
and it seemed I had never tasted
the cold.

I awoke so far away
and strange,
wandering behind my face
as though I had hidden my feelings
in the sensless relief of the moon.

I was so very aware
I did not recognize you, and perhaps
you come, always,
every hour, every second,
moving through my vigil - then -
as through the spectre of a triumphal arch.

From the book "Bas-Relief with Heroes"
English translation by Thomas Carlson and Vasile Poenaru.

Marin Sorescu


Eu mut o zi alba,
El muta o zi neagra.
Eu inaintez un vis,
El mi-l ia la razboi.
El imi ataca plamanii,
Eu ma gandesc un an la spital,
Fac o combinatie stralucita
Si-i castig o zi neagra.
El muta o nenorocire
Si ma ameninta cu cancerul
(Care merge deocamdata in forma de cruce)
Dar eu ii pun in fata o carte
Si-l silesc sa se retraga.
Ii mai castig cateva piese,
Dar,uite,jumatate din viata mea
E scoasa pe margine.
- O sa-ti dau sah si-ti pierzi optimismul,
Imi spune el.
- Nu-i nimic, glumesc eu,
Fac rocada sentimentelor.
In spatele meu sotia, copiii,
Soarele, luna si ceilalti chibiti
Tremura pentru orice miscare a mea.

Eu imi aprind o tigara
Si continui partida.


I move a white day,
He moves a black day.
I advance with a dream,
He takes it to war.
He attacks my lungs,
I think for about a year in hospital.
I make a brilliant combination
And win a black day.
He moves a disaster
And threatens me with cancer
(Which moves for the moment in the shape of a cross)
But I put a book before him
He’s obliged to retreat.
I win a few more pieces,
But, look, half my life
Is taken.
-If I give you check, you lose your optimism,
He tells me.
-It doesn’t matter, I joke,
I’ll do the castling of feelings.
Behind me my wife, children,
The sun, the moon and other onlookers
Tremble for every move I make.

I light a cigarette
And continue the game.

Translated by Michael Hamburger


Crafty Green Poet said...

for me there's always something magical about Rumanian, I can feel the meaning through it because i speak italian, but its still a mystery to me. So, thanks for posting the originals here...

Annamari said...

You are welcome.
There are more where this came from.

There are some unique qualities about Romanian as there are unique qualities about any language. It grew from Latin roots in a Slavic world under the influence of Turkish and Hungarian with their rough sounds and non-Indo-European roots.

Because the provinces were in the midst of many conflicts, the written word in Romanian lagged behind for centuries. But the oral forms were rich and I think that specific rhythm, almost musical, of oral poetry had been preserved in the late XXth Century as well. There are songs written on Nichita Stanescu’s poems and Sorescu owes the simplicity and elegance of its verse to the same folk tradition I think.