Posts filed under ‘Romanian’

With A Green Scarf

Marin Sorescu


With a green scarf I blindfolded
the eyes of the trees
and asked them to catch me.

At once the trees caught me,
their leaves shaking with laughter.

I blindfolded the birds
with a scarf of clouds
and asked them to catch me.

The birds caught me
with a song.

Then with a smile I blindfolded
my sorrow
and the day after it caught me
with a love.

I blindfolded the sun
with my nights
and asked the sun to catch me.

I know where you are, the sun said,
just behind that time.
Don’t bother to hide any longer.

Don’t bother to hide any longer,
said all of them,
as well as all the feelings
I tried to blindfold.

Tr. by Michael Hamburger

As I browsed through a tattered copy of ‘The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry’ in the library, I discover many poets. But my favourite so far has been Sorescu. The pure whimsy of this poem among the many pointed and incisive ones caught me completely off-guard.


May 10, 2007 at 6:26 pm 2 comments


Marin Sorescu


Often the start went wrong,
the bang wasn’t loud enough
or it wasn’t heard,
the competitors, sent back again and again to their places,
became so nervous that they began to brawl,
covered themselves with ashes, broke
their legs and threw sand into
the spectators’ eyes.

The track, the whole stadium,
was often covered with blood,
the start went wrong so many times.

a man with the starting-gun
out of fear of the imminent disaster
fired not into the air
but through his own head.
As through by a miracle this time
all the runners won.

The death of the shot man
was hardly noticed.

Ever since, tradition demands,
whoever signals the start
puts the weapon to his forehead.

The instrument that brought so many gold medals
has landed up with me.

Already the runners rest
their left knee on the chalk line,
their eyes have run on far ahead,
their nostrils quiver.

All they’re waiting for is the bang.
It’s all up to me.

Tr. by Michael Hamburger

An excellent commentary on social apathy towards recurring tragedies. Ever since, tradition demands, /whoever signals the start/puts the weapon to his forehead. . It is tradition after all and a glorious one that brought so many gold medals. sigh.

More on Sorescu on Kirjasto.


May 1, 2007 at 10:24 pm Leave a comment