Sunday 29 June 2008

The Rondel of the Dying Roses

E vremea rozelor ce mor,
Mor în grădini, şi mor şi-n mine --
Ş-au fost atât de viaţă pline,
Şi azi se sting aşa uşor.

În tot, se simte un fior.
O jale e în orişicine.
E vremea rozelor ce mor --
Mor în grădini, şi mor şi-n mine.

Pe sub amurgu-ntristător,
Curg vălmăşaguri de suspine,
Şi-n marea noapte care vine
Duioase-şi pleacă fruntea lor --
E vremea rozelor ce mor.

Alexandru Macedonski

(Rondelul rozelor ce mor)

It is the time when roses die,

They die in gardens, and in me -

They were so full of life and glee,

And now they droop with a faint sigh.

Through everything cold shivers fly.

Despondency's in all we see.

It is the time when roses die -

They die in gardens, and in me.

Beneath the dismal twilight sky

There eddies many a faint sigh;

And towards the long night to be

They gently bend their heads so shy -

It is the time when roses die.

Tudor Gheorghe sings this poem:

summer evening

I was lying on my dark blue sofa, a book forgotten on my side or perhaps none, I couldn't tell any longer. The room was full of flowers, the whole week strangers had been offering me flowers everywhere I went, I had accepted them shyly in the beginning but then I had got accustomed to it, every time I was on the street and an unknown face suddenly appeared beside me, I spontaneously reached out for the bouquet.

The room was full of flowers, mostly roses, white and red, imperial lilies, fresh and moist. My skin was glowing, the window wide-open, my shoulder thin and wounded before the tired evening wind. In that special quality of the air one might have called 'light' if words hadn't already turned into golden pollen, the objects seemed to float around me and I, breathing, I, alive and strangely replenished with dreams, was suddenly the shadow they cast on memory. And then a petal fell. Somewhere in the room, I couldn't tell which vase out of the myriads I had been growing around me in their warm clay, a heavy petal fell, a rustle went through the leaves, the silence broke.

I startled as if in sleep, I shuddered, as if someone had been there, watching me all the time.

Friday 27 June 2008

only the words flew between us

Pe urmă ne vedeam din ce în ce mai des.
Eu stăteam la o margine-a orei,
tu - la cealaltă,
ca două toarte de amforă.
Numai cuvintele zburau intre noi,
înainte şi înapoi.
Vârtejul lor putea fi aproape zărit,
şi deodată,
îmi lăsam un genunchi,
iar cotul mi-infigeam în pământ,
numai ca să privesc iarba-nclinată
de caderea vreunui cuvânt,
ca pe sub laba unui leu alergând.
Cuvintele se roteau, se roteau între noi,
înainte şi înapoi,
şi cu cât te iubeam mai mult, cu atât
repetau, într-un vârtej aproape văzut,
structura materiei, de la-nceput.

Nichita Stănescu (Poveste sentimentală)

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,
and suddenly,
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.

Sentimental Story

Wednesday 25 June 2008

green leaf falling upon a little red fish

I have just found out that the Sanskrit term varna (cast) has two literal meanings: firstly colour and secondly veil. In the Vedas, it was also used to depict the light of gods and the glowing colours of dawn. Are colours then nothing but a veil simultaneously hiding and revealing the world to us? And what about the veiling and the unveiling of the soul? Could colours be the essence of such an act, of a deed creating the world? There is also Goethe with his mysterious words: colours are Taten des Lichts, Taten und Leiden - acts of light, acts and sufferings of light. Why must there be pain between the veiling and the unveiling? And could this veil be used to bind the lover, to bind the self to the object, the soul to its longing, to its act?

It is written in the Bhagavad Gita: These works never bind me, for I have no desire for their fruit. He who knows me as Truth is never bound by actions.

Note to the picture:
the red fish are carp,
koi (鯉), the colourful, ornamental kind which one can find swimming in all the ponds of Japanese temples. Because of its homophony with koi (恋), love, the carp has been used as a symbol for passionate love throughout the ages. I once read a short story bearing this title, koi, in which the main character receives a carp as a gift and takes care of it in his garden pond. Nothing actually happens. It is considered to be one of the most erotic stories in Japanese literature.

Monday 23 June 2008

to long for the moon...

Are we to look at cherry blossoms only in full bloom, the moon only when it is cloudless? To long for the moon while looking on the rain, to lower the blinds and be unaware of the passing of the spring -- these are even more deeply moving. Branches about to blossom or gardens strewn with faded flowers are worthier of our admiration. In all things, it is the beginnings and the ends that are interesting. Does the love between men and women refer only to the moments when they are in each other's arms? The man who grieves over a love affair broken off before it was fulfilled, who bewails empty vows, who spends long autumn nights alone, who lets his thoughts wander to distant skies, who yearns for the past in a delapidated house -- such a man truly knows what love means.

The moon that appears close to dawn after we have long waited for it moves us more profoundly than the full moon shining cloudless over a thousand leagues. And how incomparably lovely is the moon, almost greenish in its light, when seen through the tops of the cedars deep in the mountains, or when it hides for a moment behind clustering clouds during a sudden shower! The sparkle on hickory or white-oak leaves seemingly wet with moonlight strikes one to the heart. One suddenly misses the capital, longing for a friend who could share the moment.

Kenko, Essays in Idleness

Saturday 21 June 2008

Gentle and Leonard Cohen

Yesterday, Gentle went to see Cohen. She said she would see and listen to him for me also. Even if I am not so sure that I'd like to be in a concert hall, hear his voice dissipating into the crowd. But she went there, and she went for me also, and I followed her like a stranger in her shadow. I knew that when her mouth opened in adoration for the first time, it was his words which blossomed on her lips. I knew she would remember it that very moment, and I wanted to be there, to witness her lips taking the shape of his voice.

After coming back, she wrote:

i am happy, fainted and delirious.
it was the best ever, everything i have ever desired.
i am so happy i can barely speak, i can barely move or listen to whatever happens near me.

For her then, four songs which have been with me today, the whole day long. And also as a kind of answer to this very interesting debate over at Dave's blog: what is the difference between a song and a poem, where and if one can and should draw a line between the two. But maybe this is a very easy answer, because Cohen is also the Poet, after all.

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.

And Jesus was a sailor

When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.

She stands before you naked
you can see it, you can taste it,
and she comes to you light as the breeze.
Now you can drink it or you can nurse it,
it don't matter how you worship
as long as you're
down on your knees.

So I knelt there at the delta,

at the alpha and the omega,
at the cradle of the river and the seas.
And like a blessing come from heaven
for something like a second
I was healed and my heart
was at ease.

Many men have loved the bells
you fastened to the rein,
and everyone who wanted you
they found what they will always want again.
Your beauty lost to you yourself
just as it was lost to them.
Oh take this longing from my tongue,
whatever useless things these hands have done.
Let me see your beauty broken down
like you would do for one you love.

Your body like a searchlight
my poverty revealed,
I would like to try your charity
until you cry, "Now you must try my greed."
And everything depends upon
how near you sleep to me.

Friday 20 June 2008

I cannot follow you, my love,
you cannot follow me.
I am the distance you put between
all of the moments that we will be.

You know who I am,
you've stared at the sun,
well I am the one who loves
changing from nothing to one.

Thursday 19 June 2008

rag dolls in red

Sometimes I wonder if a rag doll is any better. Who knows? Perhaps there is sweet music of dreams in her heart, perhaps there is sorrow. And if both meet? Distinctions are useless when the flowers bloom and her head leans slightly, softly to one side, revealing the white skin of her neck.

Take a look at her. She put on her red dress and her red floating shoes, now heavy with waiting, so that when you call out her name, she stops and twirls to face you and it swirls out and the earth sways and the sea is swept and the broken lilac is scattered all over the white room. And she is dizzy with thousand-year-old wine and she is falling, she is falling...

Wednesday 18 June 2008


Mă-nţelesesem bine cu călăul,

Execuţia trebuia să aibă loc în zori

Şi fiindcă mergeam fără împotrivire

Urma să fie aduse şi flori.

Mai urma fără-ndoială să nu se ştie

Întru cât eram vinovată

Fiindcă fusesem de acord să mor

Înainte de-a fi condamnată.

Ca să simt durerea cât mai puţin

Îşi ascuţise toată ziua cuţitele

Şi le trecea prin foc în faţa mea

Ca atunci când se înjunghie vitele.

Apoi, fiindcă nu putuse dormi,

Pentru orice fel de-ntâmplare

Se pregătise să-mi ţină tot el

O cuvântare.

În zori s-a apropiat tremurând tot,

Ţinea în mâini buchetul pregătit,

Ia florile, mi-a spus, am uitat să aduc cuţitele

Dar o să fie totuşi ca şi cum ai murit.

Ileana Mălăncioiu

I had come to a perfect understanding with the executioner
the ordeal was to take place in the small hours
and because I was going without offering resistance
there would also be flowers.

Besides the thing of course was not to be known
considering the fact that I had been found guilty we said
because I had agree to die
before the sentence was read.

So that I should suffer the least pain
all day he had whetted his knives
and was passing them through the fire before me
just like when he was about to take some oxen's life.

Then, because he could not sleep a wink
for whatever was to be
he himself had undertaken
to make the speech which was to be delivered to me.

At dawn he came along trembling in every limb
in his hands he held the nosegay neatly tied
take these flowers, he said, I forgot to bring my knives
but it will be as if you had died.

Pact (transl. by Dan Dutescu)

Sunday 15 June 2008

where I am

I imagine a white room, stark, bare, utterly simple, hidden from the world. At eleven o'clock people in the city are busy, making phone calls, preparing, getting and spending... blind to it, unaware of it's hushed silence. It is like an attic flooded with light or a white boat on the white sea. It doesn't exist. Or perhaps it does.

A white hand floating weightlessly in a white field.

The face of lost things, the face of last things. Lace curtains flapping, then curving softly outwards towards her, and then breathing in. Patterns of light and shade dance on the floor. The un-created world, the pre-world, a white paradise of all possibilities, where sleep is the beautiful dream of a dying man.

C'est entre la hanche et les côtes, sur l'endroit que l'on nomme le flanc que c'est arrivé. Sur cet endroit caché, très tendre, qui ne recouvre ni des os ni des muscles, mais des organes délicats. Une fleur y a poussé. Qui me tue.

Marguerite Duras

It is between the hip and the ribs, on the spot known as the flank, that it happened. In this hidden place, so soft, covering but delicate organs,
no bones or muscles. A flower has blossomed. Killing me.

La vida es sueño

you would like to murmur, perhaps to shout out,
while through your clenched mouth
there gushes the redeeming blood of an unknown flower.
In a Spanish plaza, in a dream, once,
the soul face to face with the body.
Set free.

Daniela Crasnaru
(transl. from Romanian by Dan Dutescu)

Intre noi doi
Această oglindă moale, nesigură
Astfel înclinată încât
Eu nu mă văd
Şi tu nu te vezi,
Dar te văd
Şi mă vezi,
Ochii ni se întâlnesc
Şi se încleştează
În zarea ei argintie.
Cât timp această oglindă
Va continua să fie
Şi să ne găzduiască
În visul ei afund,
Viaţa şi moartea
În care eşti, în care sunt,
Rămân doar poveşti
În care sunt, în care eşti.

Ana Blandiana

Between you and me
this soft mirror, unsure,
reclined in a way
that obscures me
and obscures you
yet I see you
and you see me
our eyes meet
and lock one another
in its silver dawn
as long as this mirror
continues to be
and to shelter us
in its deep dream
this life and this death
in which you are
in which I am
will be nothing but words
in which I am
in which you are.

Thursday 12 June 2008


Let us not talk philosophy, drop it, Jeanne.

So many words, so much paper, who can stand it.

I told you the truth about my distancing myself.

I roll on a wave and look at white clouds.

You are right, Jeanne, I don't know how to care about the salvation of my soul.
Some are called, others manage as well as they can.
I accept it, what has befallen me is just.
I don't pretend to the dignity of a wise old age.
Untranslatable into words, I chose my home in what is now,
In things of this world, which exist and, for that reason, delight us:

Nakedness of women on the beach, coppery cones of their breasts,
Hibiscus, alamanda, a red lily, devouring
With my eyes, lips, tongue, the guava juice, the juice of la prune de
Rum with ice and syrup, lianas-orchids
In a rain forest, where trees stand on the stilts of their roots.

Death, you say, mine and yours, closer and closer,
We suffered and this poor earth was not enough.
The purple-black earth of vegetable gardens
Will be here, either looked at or not.
The sea, as today, will breathe from its depths.
Growing small, I disappear in the immense, more and more free.


Tuesday 10 June 2008

blue sea and green vision

blue waves

blue waves
shower of blue flowers
blue expanse
inside a blue boat

blue waves
shower of blue flowers
blue expanse
inside a blue boat
you and I
on the blue island
we, the green palms


Monday 9 June 2008

blue doors of all sorts

the blue door of my childhood, still half-open

young girl behind the blue door of waiting

the blue door of silence

where no one else can gain entry

since the entrance was assigned only to me

and I failed

as everyone else did

Friday 6 June 2008

a day in my blue shady room

shy morning

glamorous noon

dreamy afternoon

silent evening

Thursday 5 June 2008

blue rain in town

Iubesc ploile, iubesc cu patimă ploile,
Înnebunitele ploi şi ploile calme,
Ploile feciorelnice şi ploile-dezlănţuite femei,
Ploile proaspete şi plictisitoarele ploi fără sfârşit,
Iubesc ploile, iubesc cu patimă ploile,
Îmi place să mă tăvălesc prin iarba lor albă, înaltă,
Îmi place să le rup firele şi să umblu cu ele în dinţi,
Să ameţească, privindu-mă astfel, bărbaţii.
Ştiu că-i urât să spui "Sunt cea mai frumoasă femeie",
E urât şi poate nici nu e adevărat,
Dar lasă-mă atunci când plouă,
Numai atunci când plouă,
Să rostesc magica formulă "Sunt cea mai frumoasă femeie".
Sunt cea mai frumoasă femeie pentru că plouă
Şi-mi stă bine cu franjurii ploii în păr,
Sunt cea mai frumoasă femeie pentru că-i vânt
Şi rochia se zbate disperată să-mi ascundă genunchii,
Sunt cea mai frumoasă femeie pentru că tu
Eşti departe plecat şi eu te aştept,
Şi tu ştii că te-aştept,
Sunt cea mai frumoasă femeie şi ştiu să aştept
Şi totuşi aştept.
E-n aer miros de dragoste viu,
Şi toţi trecătorii adulmecă ploaia să-i simtă mirosul,
Pe-o asemenea ploaie poţi să te-ndrăgosteşti fulgerător,
Toţi trecătorii sunt îndrăgostiţi,
Şi eu te aştept.
Doar tu ştii -
Iubesc ploile,
Iubesc cu patimă ploile, înnebunitele ploi şi ploile calme,
Ploile feciorelnice şi ploile-dezlănţuite femei...

Ana Blandiana, D
escântec de ploaie

I love the rain, I passionately love the rain,
the mad rains and the gentle rains
the chaste rains and the rains like unbridled women,
refreshing rains and endless boring rains.
I love the rain, I passionately love the rain.
I like to wallow in its tall white grass,
I like to break its threads and walk with them
in my teeth
so that men watching me grow dizzy.
I know it isn't so nice to say,
'I am the most beautiful woman on earth',
it isn't nice and maybe it isn't even true,
but allow me, when it rains, only when it rains,
to say the magic words,
'I am the most beautiful woman on earth',
the most beautiful because it is raining,
and the fringes of rain in my hair become me.
I am the most beautiful woman
because the wind blows
and my dress desperately struggles to hide my knees.
I am the most beautiful woman because you
are far away, and I am waiting for you,
and you know I am waiting.
I am the most beautiful woman because I know how to wait,
and still I wait.
There's an intense scent of love in the air.
People passing by sniff the rain to catch its traces.
In such a rain, one can fall in love in an instant.
All those who pass by are in love
and I am waiting for you.
I love the rain, I passionately love the rain,
the mad rains and the gentle rains
the chaste rains and the rains like unbridled women.

Ana Blandiana
(Magic Spell of Rain)

Wednesday 4 June 2008

on the blue wall

on top of the mountain,
I stand still
under the ageless tree
in the cold morning
I wave and smile
into the floating

Tuesday 3 June 2008

countless blue boats

in each sky
there is a sea
and on each sea
there are countless boats
and in each boat
there is a soul
longing to break
and in each breaking
there is a blue joy

Monday 2 June 2008

A Painfully Blue Flame

There have been heavy rains somewhere,
in remote wild mountains
and look, today I am
so busy, very busy.
The torrents of water
have rushed down the valleys
with their millions
of hungry muzzles.

Quickly must I remove
the trees from their course
way off, up the hills -
But the trees are full of nests
and in each nest
there's a bird,
and in each bird
a flame is burning
painfully blue.
Live candlesticks are the branches
day and night giving light
insatiably within walls.
And the waters are rising.

The hoarfrost winds
are blowing on the crests.
And I must find
at least one shelter
for so many trees,
for so many nests
which ask me
for just one rotation
of the planet
with that strange mountain
more towards the sun.

Petre Ghelmez,
(translated by Dan Duţescu)