Saturday 29 March 2008

another kind of mathematics

Noi ştim că unu ori unu fac unu,
dar un inorog ori o pară
nu ştim cât face.
Ştim că cinci fără patru fac unu,
dar un nor fără o corabie
nu ştim cât face.
Ştim, noi ştim că opt
împărţit la opt fac unu,
dar un munte împărţit la o capră
nu ştim cât face.
Ştim că unu plus unu fac doi,
dar eu şi cu tine,
nu Ştim, vai, nu ştim cât facem.

Ah, dar o plapumă
înmulţită cu un iepure
face o roscovană, desigur,
o varză împărţită la un steag
fac un porc,
un cal fără un tramvai
face un înger,
o conopidă plus un ou,
face un astragal…

Numai tu şi cu mine
înmultiţi şi împărţiţi
adunaţi şi scăzuţi
rămânem aceiaşi…

Pieri din mintea mea!
Revino-mi în inimă!

Nichita Stănescu, Altă matematică

We know that one times one is one,
but an unicorn times a pear
have no idea what it is.
We know that five minus four is one
but a cloud minus a sailboat
have no idea what it is.
We know that eight
divided by eight is one,
but a mountain divided by a goat
have no idea what it is.
We know that one plus one is two,
but me and you, oh,
we have no idea what it is.

Oh, but a comforter
times a rabbit
is a red-headed one of course,
a cabbage divided by a flag
is a pig,
a horse minus a street-car
is an angel,
a cauliflower plus an egg
is an astragalus.

Only you and me
multiplied and divided
added and substracted
remain the same...

Vanish from my mind!
Come back in my heart!

(english translation by George Mustea)

Thursday 27 March 2008

it should have happened

in the other world
sometimes more real
a woman kneeling
her hair sweeping the earth
below the horizon line
it should have happened
a sky
a cloud even

light breathing

it should have happened
the ivory gods
their thousand faces
prosperous in every wound
the gods refused
to walk on her flesh.

Monday 24 March 2008

Solitary Tree

El a întins spre mine o frunză ca o mână cu degete.
Eu am întins spre el o mână ca o frunză cu dinţi.
El a întins spre mine o ramură ca un braţ.
Eu am întins spre el braţul ca o ramură.
El şi-a înclinat spre mine trunchiul
ca un umăr.
Eu am inclinat spre el umărul
ca un trunchi noduros.
Auzeam cum se-nţeteşte seva lui bătând
ca sângele.
Auzea cum se încetineşte sângele meu suind ca seva.
Eu am trecut prin el.
El a trecut prin mine.
Eu am rămas un pom singur.
un om singur.

Nichita Stanescu (Necuvintele)

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
like blood.
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.


(for J)

Friday 21 March 2008


and I sit by the stove
and try to catch time red-handed
the delicate ripple of curtains
the phosphorescence of walls
books dancing
on the wooden shelf
the abstract leaf on the rug
the Mexican flower
I enclose
in a single breath

Halina Poswiatowska

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish to be close to me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,

rendering death and forever with each breathing

e.e. cummings

Thursday 20 March 2008

Be quiet, Fiers

LOPAKHIN. Please attend carefully! Your estate is only
thirteen miles from the town, the railway runs by, and if the
cherry orchard and the land by the river are broken up into
building lots and are then leased off for villas you'll get at
least twenty-five thousand roubles a year profit out of it.

GAEV. How utterly absurd!

LUBOV. I don't understand you at all, Ermolai Alexeyevitch.

LOPAKHIN. You will get twenty-five roubles a year for each
dessiatin from the leaseholders at the very least, and if you
advertise now I'm willing to bet that you won't have a vacant plot
left by the autumn; they'll all go. In a word, you're saved. I
congratulate you. Only, of course, you'll have to put things
straight, and clean up. ... For instance, you'll have to pull down
all the old buildings, this house, which isn't any use to anybody
now, and cut down the old cherry orchard. ...

LUBOV. Cut it down? My dear man, you must excuse me, but you don't
understand anything at all. If there's anything interesting or
remarkable in the whole province, it's this cherry orchard of ours.

LOPAKHIN. The only remarkable thing about the orchard is that it's
very large. It only bears fruit every other year, and even then you
don't know what to do with them; nobody buys any.

GAEV. This orchard is mentioned in the "Encyclopaedic Dictionary."

LOPAKHIN. [Looks at his watch] If we can't think of anything and
don't make up our minds to anything, then on August 22, both the
cherry orchard and the whole estate will be up for auction. Make up
your mind! I swear there's no other way out, I'll swear it again.

FIERS. In the old days, forty or fifty years back, they dried the
cherries, soaked them and pickled them, and made jam of them, and
it used to happen that ...

GAEV. Be quiet, Fiers.

FIERS. And then we'd send the dried cherries off in carts to Moscow
and Kharkov. And money! And the dried cherries were soft, juicy,
sweet, and nicely scented. ... They knew the way. ...

LUBOV. What was the way?

FIERS. They've forgotten. Nobody remembers.

Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

Tuesday 18 March 2008

Als das Kind Kind war

Als das Kind Kind war,
wußte es nicht, daß es Kind war,
alles war ihm beseelt,
und alle Seelen waren eins.

When the child was a child,
it didn’t know that it was a child,
everything was soulful, and all souls were one.

Als das Kind Kind war,
erwachte es einmal in einem fremden Bett
und jetzt immer wieder,
erschienen ihm viele Menschen schön
und jetzt nur noch im Glücksfall

When the child was a child,
it awoke once in a strange bed,
and now does so again and again.
Many people, then, seemed beautiful,
and now only a few do, by sheer luck

griff im Wipfel eines Baums nach den Kirschen in einem Hochgefühl
wie auch heute noch

When the child was a child,
It reached for cherries in topmost branches of trees
with an elation it still has today

eine Scheu vor jedem Fremden

und hat sie immer noch,

has a shyness in front of strangers,
and has that even now.

Monday 17 March 2008

wartete es auf den ersten Schnee,
und wartet so immer noch.

It awaited the first snow,
And waits that way even now.

Peter Handke
Lied vom Kindsein (Song of Childhood)

Saturday 15 March 2008

Pondering about Billoo's quote: what should have been. There is a whole world between "what should have been" and Eliot's "what might have been".
So here's looking at you, kid. The drunken soul will fly you to the in-between.

Wednesday 12 March 2008

Towards the door we never opened

What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.

T.S. Eliot, Quartet No. 1, Burnt Norton

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind

Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.

T.S. Eliot, Quartet No. 1, Burnt Norton

Monday 10 March 2008

and the dark red flowers are always for him... especially the floating ones.

In Praise of Shadows

We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates.

Tanizaki (In Praise of Shadows)

Saturday 8 March 2008

her hand

brushing my hair
bitter blades of grass
fragrance of wine
ages old
rising in the night
quietly quietly
her hand resting now
on the other side of the looking glass
pale flowers
breathing low

Wednesday 5 March 2008

We shall not even know

We shall not even know that we have met.

Yet meet we shall, and part, and meet again,
Where dead men meet, on lips of living men.

Samuel Butler, Mellonta tauta

Sunday 2 March 2008

trennen wollten wir uns?

Trennen wollten wir uns? wähnten es gut und klug?
Da wirs taten, warum schröckte, wie Mord, die Tat?
Ach! wir kennen uns wenig,
Denn es waltet ein Gott in uns.

Hölderlin (Die Liebenden)

So we wanted to part, thought it clever and good,
That we did it, why did it shock us like murder, the deed?
Oh, we know ourselves little
For a god is at work in us.

(The Lovers)