Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016


o păpădie pentru andreea

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Death of Dido (some lines of Virgil)

Henry Fuseli
The Death of Dido, 1781

The Death of Dido

Aeneid IV, 692 - 705

…. she searched the sky for light, and moaned to find it.
Then mighty Juno, for pity on long pain
and a hard-dying soul, sent Iris to unbind her
from the struggle in her knotted limbs, insane
with grief, burning with grief before her hour.
And since this was no deserved or fated death,
Proserpina had not yet snipped a lock of yellow hair
nor assigned the queen to her station beneath.
Thus, dewy, saffron-winged Iris, trailing a rush
of colors opposite the sun, across the sky,
alights by Dido's head. “I will sanctify
this token to Dis and loose you from your flesh,”
she speaks, and grips and shears a tress. And here ---
warmth ebbs to nothing, life fades and thins to air.

N.B.: It's a strange little thing. I've made a sonnet where there is no sonnet in the original, nor even rhyme, but the lines seemed to sort themselves into that form naturally. Dido, queen of Carthage, abandoned by her lover, Aeneas, has thrust a dagger into her chest and is dying slowly and in agony. "Before sacrifice, a few hairs were plucked from the forehead of the victim, and as the dying were regarded as sacrifices to the nether gods, a similar custom was observed in their case" [from the Loeb edition of Virgil]. Iris is a personification of the rainbow and a messenger of the gods. Dis is an alternate name for Pluto, or Hades, god of the Underworld, and Proserpina is his queen.

Friday, April 8, 2016

two poems by George Bacovia

(my translations)


A wailing of omens against the panes to say
Winter leaden on the world like a stone ---
“Crows!" I told myself and sighed, alone,
And now on the horizon heavy as lead,
It snows gray.

Like the horizon, my mood is dark as the day …
The wildest, loneliest of all this world.
--- With a feather, I sweep the hearth grown cold …
And on the horizon heavy as lead,
It snows gray.


Plâns de cobe pe la geamuri se opri,
Şi pe lume plumb de iarnă s-a lăsat;
I-auzi corbii! ― mi-am zis singur... şi-am oftat,
Iar în zarea grea de plumb,
Ninge gri.

Ca şi zarea, gândul meu se înnegri...
Şi de lume tot mai singur, mai barbar,
― Trist, cu-o pană mătur vatra, solitar...
Iar în zarea grea de plumb,
Ninge gri.


Deeply asleep the coffins of lead,
And leaden flowers and charnel shroud ---
I stood alone in the vault … The wind was loud,
Screaking in the wreaths of lead.

Upturned, slept my beloved of lead,
On leaden flowers, and I began my grief,
Alone by her corpse, cold without relief,
And the drooping wings wrought in lead.

Dormeau adânc sicriele de plumb,
Şi flori de plumb şi funerar vestmânt
― Stam singur în cavou... şi era vânt...
Şi scârţâiau coroanele de plumb.

Dormea întors amorul meu de plumb
Pe flori de plumb... şi-am început să-l strig
― Stam singur lângă mort... şi era frig...
Şi-i atârnau aripile de plumb.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

alternating snow and sun

Note to Erin on Beeches and Arvo Pärt

Remember that day driving at winter's end,
when flakes of the last snow were starting to fall,
and we stopped the car before a scruffy hill
where sapling beeches line the rutted road?
Those pale-copper, persistent leaves gather light
and hold it, never falling, stubborn,
as if they render brightness from the air.
“Für Alina” was our music that day,
the distinct notes clinging, aching to be notes,
then lasting, fading slowly, radiant.
Today, hundreds of miles from you, I walked
among beeches, when hard, stingy pellets of snow
shushed on the unthawed spring ground,
and despite the clouds' argument for darkness,
wind licked gleams from the edges of beech leaves.
I wondered who Alina was. I thought of you. That's all.