Everyone is familiar with Romania’s national hero, Mihai Eminescu. I love his work, especially Luceafărul. How can you not love lines like:
“Once on a time, as poets sing
High tales with fancy laden,
Born of a very noble king
There lived a wondrous maiden….”
“…From ‘neath the castle’s dark retreat,
Her silent way she wended
Each evening to the window-seat
Where Lucifer attended.
And secretly, with never fail,
She watched his double race,
Where vessels drew their pathless trail
Across the ocean’s face.
And as intent she drank his light,
Desire was quickly there;
While he who saw her every night
Soon fell in love with her.
And sitting thus with rested head,
Her elbows on the sill,
Her heart by youthful fancy led
Did with deep longing fill.
While he, a brilliant shining spark,
Glowed always yet more clear
Towards the castle tall and dark
Where she would soon appear…”
“…O, quench my longing’s eager thirst,
My aching doubts overcast,
For you to me are love the first,
And of my dreams the last.”
Hyperion gazed down and knew
The fire their souls possessed;
For scarce the boy her nearer drew,
She clasped him to her breast.
A rain of petals in the air
That softly did enfold
Two fervent children strangely fair,
With locks of plated gold.
She, lost in love’s enraptured flight,
To heaven turned her eyes,
Saw Lucifer’s down shining light
And whispered through her sighs:
“Come down, good Lucifer and kind,
O lord of my aspire.
And fill the forest and my mind
With your sweetest fire !”
The brilliant thing is that it goes on forever 🙂 I edited some of the stanzas for brevity – but look at how powerful the words are, even translated to English.
I love the way it’s phrased – “as intent she drank his light…softly did enfold…lost in love’s enraptured flight…whispered through her sighs…”
Sadly, my Romanian is not good enough to read it in the original language. I’ll have to settle for reading Eminescu in English for now.
I’ve been thankful to stumble upon some other poets and English translations of their work as well.
garoafa primită-n dar
Câte trenuri trec prin gară
în nici unul nu eşti tu!”
the carnation received but
still the separation.
How many trains pass through the station
I feel like this poem really communicates the emptiness of waiting. How time continues on even though you are waiting without end. I can commiserate.
“Numai cinci rânduri
ți-aș trimite odată
Ne-nstrăinează un cer
de stele căzătoare”
“Only five lines
I should send you
Only a sky of falling stars
keeps us apart”
And this one is basically describing my life – so close and so far away. “Only” a sky full of stars keeps us apart.
But there’s so many more poets out there, and I just haven’t discovered them. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment 🙂
If you’re into modernist poetry, I strongly recommend reading Nichita Stănescu’s work. There aren’t lots of English translations on the internet, but I’ve seen a couple of his books translated in English in libraries. http://www.romanianvoice.com/poezii/poezii_tr/apoem.php
Thank you! I will definitely check that out 🙂