Category — Translation
Translations by Flavia Cosma
A poem is missing
it is there somewhere under your hand
but you don’t feel it
you only guess it
as a matter of fact you are guessing its maternal
all hopes throng round it
all angers, all kicks,
it accepts all, endures all,
doesn’t give anything back,
fiercely jealous of its virtual treasures
it leaves you always on the threshold
your mind haggard
your eyes roving
your ears asleep
begging for some alms
now and then, it throws in your direction
a few crumbs
Un poème manque
il est là quelque part sous la main
mais tu ne le sens pas
tu le devines seulement
en fait tu devines son absence
tous les espoirs s’y fourrent
tous les désespoirs
toutes les colères toutes les joies
il reçoit tout supporte tout
ne te rend rien
jaloux de ses trésors virtuels
te laisse toujours au seuil
mendiant ta pitance
parfois il te jette
If we were to die in each other’s arms
we need to remember the suffering
that united us
let’s savour it with inextinguishable
during this brief instant
let’s us satiate
in its untamed fragrance
in its fleshy
feast our eyes
in its profound
let’s submerge ourselves in it forever
as in the happiest
a hell that nothing will ever replace
and no paradise could redeem
our salvation will be eternal
in your total annihilation by me
in my annihilation by you
glimmer of an universe never born
dreamt of by no God
and whose presence
would be known solely to us
we, the ones consummated by it
Si nous mourons dans les bras l’un de l’autre
rappelons-nous la souffrance
qui nous a unis
goûtons-la avec une rage
le temps d’un instant
de sa fragrance indomptable
de sa frugalité
de sa chair
plongeons-y pour toujours
comme dans un enfer
que rien jamais ne peut remplacer
qu’aucun paradis ne rachète
notre salut sera éternel
dans l’anéantissement de moi par toi
de toi par moi
lueur d’un univers non né
rêvé d’aucun dieu
dont nous seulement
savons la présence
qui nous consomme
At the limits
of the senses
against his face
breathing suspended into void
the eyes blinded
the body left behind, jagged,
no more thinking
in the proximity of the final
engaged by this death
that fulfils me
I’d say even after
it enters my insides
and I am joining in from the outside
as in a reversed well
whose bottom is my heart
contre sa face
souffle suspendu au vide
par le noir
déchiquètements de corps derrière
depuis toujours et tous les jours
voisinage de l’ultime
avec une surprise
prise avec la mort
qui me remplit
dirais-je même que l’après
est rentré dedans
et je viens du dehors
comme dans un puits inversé
dont le fond est mon cœur
A Wizard in Transit
To write is to die
to pass blood
to dismember ourselves alive
this is not something for poker players
one doesn’t bluff
with playing-cards that one doesn’t have
one doesn’t hide duplicates
under the sleeves
come and see
stretched out on a dissecting table
look for his soul
amid lost words
amid his entrails
exposed in front of people
just to serve as a lesson
for the unruly
come closer and read
at the mercy of a wizard
Un devin de passage
Écrire c’est mourir
pisser du sang
se dépecer vivant
ce n’est pas pour les joueurs
on ne bluffe pas
avec des cartes qu’on n’a pas
on ne cache pas de doublets
dans les manches
gisant sur la table de dissection
cherchez son âme
dans des mots perdus
parmi ses entrailles
exposées au peuple
pour servir de leçon
venez y lire
au gré d’un devin
About the poet:
Born in Romania, Dana Shishmanian has been living and working in France since 1983. She has published poems in many magazines, anthologies, and four personal collections (2008, 2011, 2014, the last one forthcoming). She has also contributed, as a translator, to the recent collection of Ara Alexandre Shishmanian, Fenêtre avec esseulement (Harmattan, July 2014).
The four poems translated here are excerpts from the volume Plongeon intime (Intimate Diving), published at Editions du Cygne in February 2014.
About the translator:
Flavia Cosma http://www.flaviacosma.com is an award-winning Romanian-born Canadian poet, author and translator residing in Toronto, Canada. Flavia has published twenty-four books of poetry, a novel, a travel memoir and five children’s books. She is the Director of the International Writers’ and Artists’ Residency, Val David, Quebec, Canada, and of The International Biannual Poetry and Arts Festivals of Val-David. http://www.flaviacosma.com/Val_David.html
* * * * *
Walter Gurbo, Drawing Room
August 29, 2014 Comments Off on Dana Shishmanian/Poetry
Three Greek Poets
I met Cloe Koutsoubelis and Alexandra Bakonika in Facebook. We share each other’s poems and experiences. I personally met them summer of 2012 when I travelled to Greece. They both live in Thessaloniki. They are two contemporary Greek Poetesses with passionate voices that work from within today’s human condition to describe its pain and pleasure; two voices so similar and yet so different in their expression of the internal. They are two poetesses who try to blend both pain and pleasure into an acceptable concept.
Yannis Ritsos is the most prolific 20th century Greek poet. He has written 117 books of prose, poetry and translations. I first met his work as a song back in 1960ies Greece when his poem “Epitaphios” was set in music by the world famous Mikis Theodorakis. Yannis Ritsos was exiled twice in his life for his political views and this was reflected in his early poems, however as he grew into maturity his poetry shifted from the politically motivated poetry into the internationally accepted and recognized marvel that we know today. I am truly proud that his daughter Eri Ritsos was so overwhelmingly enthusiastic about my involvement in this translation and after two years of hard work the book became a reality.
xωρίς κορμί, μόνο ψυχή-καπνός για την εστία.
Είχα βέβαια και το κέντημα για παρηγοριά
ύστερα ήταν κι οι μνηστήρες
όμως έπληττα θανάσιμα με τα χοντρά αστεία.
Κάποια ανακούφιση ο Τηλέμαχος,
όμως κι αυτός έψαχνε τον πατέρα.
Ένα βράδυ έκανα έρωτα με έναν υπηρέτη.
Το σώμα του ζεστό ψωμί
έσταζε μέλι και κρασί.
Δεν με πείραξε που έγινε.
Μόνο ότι πεισματικά η Ιστορία το αγνόησε.
I waited and waited
without body, just a soul-smoke
for the fireplace.
Of course I had my yarn for company
then there were the suitors yet
I was bored with their rough jokes.
Telemachus was a relief
although he also searched for his father.
One night I slept with a servant.
His body was like warm bread
dipped in honey and wine.
It happened, it didn’t bother me.
Though purposefully history ignored it.
Η γνώμη του με κέντρισε:
«Είναι φτηνά και άνοστα τα πορνογραφικά έντυπα,
ενώ τα ποιήματά σου διεγείρουν
και συγχρόνως προκαλούν ανάταση ψυχής.
Έχω εξάρτηση, είμαι ναρκομανής με τους στίχους σου».
Ξανασκέφτηκα την άποψή του.
Διόλου αμελητέος αντίπαλος η πορνογραφία,
πανστρατιές με βουλιμία τη διαβάζουν.
Τιμή μου να βγάζω άχρηστα τα έντυπα
και την παραλογοτεχνία της.
His opinion intrigued me:
‘The porno-press is cheap and
tasteless; though your poems
arouse while they generate
certain elation for the soul.
I’m hooked on them, I yearn
for your verses like a druggie.’
I thought of his opinion again.
The porno-press isn’t a negligible
competitor, thousands of people read it.
It was my honour to prove it
useless and illiterate.
Έφυγε γρήγορα τό καλοκαίρι: Δέν προφτάσαμε.
Μεγάλα σύγνεφα κρέμονται πάνω απ’ τά βουνά
σάν προσωπεία αρχαίας τραγωδίας. Τί νά κάνουμε;
Τά παπούτσια μας, όσο παλιά, πάντοτε μάς στενεύουν λίγο.
Μάς στενεύει τό φώς, μάς στενεύει τό σύγνεφο.
Φτάνουμε μπροστά σ’ ένα ανθισμένο δέντρο
μπροστά στό ψωμί, μπροστά στό νερό,
μπροστά στό πιό αυριανό παράθυρο
κάπως αμήχανοι, λαχανιάζοντας,
μέ τήν αίσθηση μιάς αιώνιας καθυστέρησης.
Τόσο μακρυά τραβήξαμε, λοιπόν;
The summer ended quickly. We ran out of time.
Big clouds hung on top of the mountains
like masks of an ancient tragedy. What should we do?
Our shoes, whatever old, are always a bit tight.
The light is narrow, the cloud is cinched down.
We stop in front of the bloomed tree
in front of bread, water
before tomorrow’s window
somewhat embarrassed, panting
with the emotion of an eternal delay.
Have we truly come this far?
About the translator:
Manolis (Emmanuel Aligizakis) is a Greek-Canadian poet and author. He was recently appointed an honorary instructor and fellow of the International Arts Academy, and awarded a Master’s for the Arts in Literature. He is recognized for his ability to convey images and thoughts in a rich and evocative way that tugs at something deep within the reader. He graduated from the Panteion University of Athens with a diploma in political Sciences. He studied English Literature at Simon Fraser University. He has written three novels and numerous collections of poetry, which are steadily being released as published works. His articles, poems and short stories in both Greek and English have appeared in various magazines and newspapers in Canada, United States, Sweden, Hungary, Romania, Australia, and Greece.
* * *
December 31, 2013 Comments Off on Three Greek Poets
By Alberto Blanco
Translated by Lilvia Soto
for William Carlos Williams
in El Paso
I saw (smelled)
ten thousand undocumented workers.
They came from the Chihuahua desert
to harvest the crops.
They filled the city parks
Their guardian angels,
their wings trembling,
after a rain of insults.
They left the field open
for the agents of the Border Patrol.
(trans. by Lilvia Soto)
Por Alberto Blanco
Traducido por Lilvia Soto
a William Carlos Williams
en El Paso,
hacia el atardecer,
a diez mil indocumentados.
Venían del desierto de Chihuahua
a trabajar en la pizca.
Llenaron los parques
de la ciudad para dormir.
Sus ángeles guardianes,
las alas temblándoles,
tras una lluvia de improperios.
Les dejaron libre el terreno
a los agentes de la patrulla fronteriza.
About Alberto Blanco:
Alberto Blanco, in addition to being one of the most recognized contemporary Latin American poets, is also an essayist, translator, musician, and visual artist. Born in Mexico City in 1951, he studied chemistry and philosophy at Universidad Ibero Americana and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and he worked on a Master’s degree in Asian Studies, specializing in China, at the Colegio de México. His first published work was in 1970 — the same year as his first music band — and his first art exhibit took place in 1981. He was co-editor and designer of the poetry journal, El Zaguán (1975-1977), and was awarded grants from the Centro Mexicano de Escritores (1977), from Insituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1980, from Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, in 1990, the Fulbright Foundation in 1991 and the Rockefeller Foundation in 1992). In 1994, he was accepted into the Sistema Nacional de Creadores in México, and in 2001, he received the Octavio Paz Poetry Award. In 2008, he was awarded a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation. Blanco’s literary work is varied and abundant. He has published twenty-six books of poetry in Mexico and another eight in other countries. Also, ten books of his translations of the work of other poets and some favorites for children which have been illustrated —most of them— with his wife, Patricia Revah’s, textiles. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
To date, Blanco has published more than sixty books and another twenty books of translations, anthologies, and illustrated books — as well as eight hundred articles and shorter publications. In Mexico and in other countries, more than two hundred essays, reviews, and commentaries have been published about his work, as well as fifty interviews. His poems are included in at least eight anthologies, and they have also been the subject of several master’s theses and doctoral dissertations. Furthermore, they are included in a dozen dictionaries and textbooks. This is to say that his publications number twelve hundred or more.
Photo by Juan José Díaz Infante.
October 28, 2012 Comments Off on Alberto Blanco/Poetry
This is that fruit
Hanging like an emblem over many a shadowland.
It looks a bit like a green-colored grenade
Or, at times, like a heart too—
Interior filled up with the tantalizing smell of gunpowder,
And its taste—inexplicable!
The place where we used to live in childhood, there was a haunted house nearby, full of ancient trees and creepers and moss. One evening, starting up from his siesta and in the manner of a detective protagonist, my grandfather took me with him to that house. A forlorn place swaying in the breeze. From among a cluster of trees he pointed to me one. It was an ordinary tree with a few fruits hanging from it, which looked like grenades to me. It was the mewa. Custard-apple mewa. My grandfather said — These are fruits of paradise. The only heavenly fruit allowed to be exhibited on earth. Look at them closely and keep it quiet. No sooner had he said this than our bodies shuddered like fire-crackers. Engulfing me along with my thrills, my grandfather’s pox-spotted fair body and dusk-colored long beard blew in the sporadic draft.
The sun is setting on the other bank of the clear-streamed Harabati. On that horizon, a distant banana plantation begins to appear. A guerrilla boy emerges from the plants and wanders all alone as if in a fairytale—
Without his cohorts, cut off from his group forever,
Whirling about and always getting lost,
A guerrilla boy all by himself
With a custard apple in his right hand, a grenade in his left,
On the left ear a little ring, a Kalashnikov hanging from the shoulder,
Wearing a steel-colored jacket, a bullet necklace on the neck
With his heart in the middle—all kept in place with a lot of pins.
In the distant, sunset-smeared banana plantation, an outlandish guerrilla boy.
Talks nimbly—in precise terrorist terms.
There is neither other language nor idiom among the vegetation than this—
And against terror—frequent, wonderful little acts of terror…
Having accomplished each one of them, cupping his hands he drinks water
And whirling about and getting continuously lost
This guerrilla boy becomes a solitary terror artist.
And this is that fruit
Hanging like an emblem in many a shadowy land
The sunset-polished, dismal grenade fruit
With the tantalizing smell of gunpowder inside,
And a taste—inexplicable!
The grenade, on the other hand, is a wonderful earthly fruit,
A bit tangy, but still a delicious earthly fruit,
Hanging like an emblem in many a sunny land,
Full of the addictive smell of an exotic fruit inside.
This evening the mingled smell of custard apples and grenades are driving alien forests insane.
An outlandish guerrilla boy
With a custard apple in his right hand, a grenade in his left,
And his heart in the middle. Thus balancing the fruits
He staggers across that perilous bridge on the road to heaven,
Knocks at heaven’s gate with news of a yet more exotic, symbolic, earthly fruit…
A long way behind him, the queued up pilgrims of virtue wait for their turn,
They are an alarmingly long way behind…
This is that fruit
Hanging in many sunny lands of the earth like an emblem.
[Ataphal; Translated from original Bengali by Subrata Augustine Gomes, poet, writer, translator]
About the poet:
Masud Khan (b. 1959) is a poet, writer, and translator who emerged as an important poet in the 1980s, mostly supported by counter-cultural little magazines. Over the past two decades or more his poetry and essays have featured in magazines in Bangladesh, India, USA, UK, Belgium, Romania, Malaysia and Canada. Sajjad Sharif writes about Masud – The poetic language he uses is also multifarious – “tatsama” (Sanskrit root) words are often paired up with vernacular or colonial English, a constant slippage of nouns and adjectives shining up old-fashined sentences. In the end, language sets up like trap a network of sound.” Masud Khan’s poetry has appeared in a number of anthologies including Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (Norton Anthology, New York/London), and Padma Meghna Jamuna: Modern Poetry from Bangladesh by Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature. Presently a resident of Toronto, Canada, Masud Khan works as an electrical engineer.
[ Extracted from the Kaurab, a literary webzine & reprinted with permission:
December 25, 2011 Comments Off on Masud Khan/Poetry
Chained by Law
Excerpt from the novel Cronica Teodoreştilor/Chronicle of a Lost World
Translated by Loredana Andreea Matei
University of Bucharest
* * *
On a bright and sunny day, in the early autumn of 1950, when each Romanian, breathless, expected the Americans’ arrival, and Groza Dej’s days seemed more numbered than ever, Stelian’s Teodorescu, a former inspector of the Cooperation Institute who retired before the end of the war and moved to the countryside for good, received an unexpected letter from Bucharest letting him know that, since he owned 10 hectares of land that he worked with sharecroppers, the so-called Ministry of Labour and Social Provisions, by means of a special committee formed only for this purpose, decided to cancel his right to retirement pension.
After he had folded up the document, whey-faced, Stelian Teodorescu had watched his wife without uttering a single word, then stood up slowly from his chair and went out of the house. For the first time in a long time, he urgently felt the need to smoke a cigarette, but as he had quit smoking before it became habit, he made do by merely breathing deep the cool air of evening. Walking quietly, he headed for the fence. He nodded at his neighbour who stood by the front gate, as if waiting to start a conversation with someone, then headed backwards to the other side of the yard, where a barn was under construction, filled with memories, but almost redundant for the last years since mandatory agricultural taxes were imposed. Incidentally, he glanced at the barren place nearby where a long time ago there was Fănel Trifu’s old house, an orphan boy who overnight had sold his small fortune and was lost trace of somewhere in Bucharest. In his turn, the new owner hurried himself to destroy the decrepit house, but did not hurry to build a new one for reasons known only to himself.
He stopped near the massive, gnarled trunk of an old mulberry tree, which was there forty years ago when he had gotten married and come as a young teacher in Vărăşti, Elvira’s native village. Stelian Teodorescu leaned one hand against the barrier fence and looked faraway to the barren place — empty and sad as a graveyard and over which, once evening came, the bats had begun to fly freely. The unexpected trouble which ended the summer and the quiet period of the last five to six years, time in which he had gotten used to his retired life, saddened him as much as got him worried. He had thought many times of the inconveniences he might have had with the “comrades” who ruled the country and brought in their political regime riding on Soviet tanks, but had not really imagined that his trouble would be caused by the very patches of land scattered in four villages — in the Argeş and Sabar river meadow — that all in one place meant not even a quarter of real estate. For decades these places had been given to work “in part” and never had the people who worked them shown any complaint about anything; quite the contrary, year after year they were the ones who had asked to be allowed to work those lands, a sign that they were earning money. Moreover, he had been very indulgent when, on the more distant lots, the wheat and maize crops had arrived to Vărăşti in a smaller quantity than had been previously arranged through agreement or contracts. And now, those who unexpectedly hit him, were pleading for these very lands from which those men who willingly offered their “manpower” had gained plenty of benefits, and who had no reason to complain that things did not go right. The truth was that until then, he himself, Stelian Teodorescu, had felt somewhat sheltered, as he had never taken the side of any of the governing parties in the ’20s or ’30s, nor was he the man of Carol the Second or Antonescu, never minding about anything but his own job for the state’s benefit.
Distressed and wracking his mind trying to think if who was to blame so that he could better understand what was about to happen to him, he was startled by a nearby noise. Moving from the fence, he turned around and cast his eyes over Aphsint, his dog, who had lain in the grass at his feet and stared at him with his moist eyes, as if it understood what tormented his soul and wanted to do something to help him, if it could. His large head with his long black ears and nose gave him a solemn and respectable look of a shepherd dog devoted to his master.
“Did you come to see if I use my hands to lean on this fence?” the man said to him, forgetting for a moment that he had to be careful of what he said even in his own house. Then he immediately began to cough hard and explore the surroundings, but no one seemed to be nearby, to hear his unwise words. “Go under the shed, Absinth!” he added in a hurry, intentionally raising his voice and saying its name low-voiced. From behind the quinces and the plums, which grew on the limed, tinkered grooves of the neighbour’s fence, he heard a short bark, followed by an oath. Then a relative silence covered the whole place, and Absinth left with his head down to sprawled under the barn’s roof with his head on his feet.
About ten years ago, in spring, one of the people who worked their land had brought to them a young shepherd dog, with black hard palate and cut tail. Elvira, with her endless birthday grace, together with her son Virgil, had decided to call him Stalin, to their friends’ and neighbours’ amusement. In the village alleys, then, marched the well-armed Wermacht’s troops, while the war in the East was about to begin so that the name of the Bolshevik dictator in the Kremlin seemed proper for a dog in Romania. Even some of Virgil’s friends, who had whelps at their homes, finding this gesture appropriate and spiritual, had followed his example in their turn. Stalin’s name became in this way to have a double meaning: dog, literally and figuratively. However, several years later, when the frightening roar of the Soviet tanks was heard on the streets of Romanian capital, what seemed to be appropriate and spiritually suddenly became inappropriate and stupid, and many of the quadrupeds Stalins were taken and slaughtered in the bottom courts. Meanwhile, on the road that until recently resonated with sound of German boots, were walking the Ivans who loved vodka and Kalashnikov. When it did not stink, the release could happen to break your eardrums or to make your skull feel like it had been smashed. As far as he was concerned, Virgil had spared the life of the poor quadruped, calling him by his new name, Absinth. The new name had been adopted quickly and intelligently by the dog, as he hadn’t grown so old that he couldn’t adapt to the times in a rapid and hallucinatory movement. Only the neighbours and close acquaintances used to snigger when they heard the Teodorescu family calling the dog by his new name. And the truth was that its new name was a perfect disguise of the old one, now inappropriate and dangerous.
When he returned home, Stelian found his wife asleep besides the lit lamp with the medicine bottle on the night table, and a small Bible, which for the last couple of years she read from before bedtime. He looked at her old face, tired of worries. The woman had trouble breathing, and in her dream called on their small daughter Cristiana, who died in Bucharest after the bombing from 4th April 1944.
ÎNLĂNŢUIT DE LEGE
Într-o zi însorită de la începutul toamnei anului 1950, când toată România aştepta cu sufletul la gură venirea americanilor, iar zilele regimului Groza-Dej păreau mai numărate decât oricând, lui Stelian Teodorescu, fost inspector în Institutul Cooperaţiei, retras din activitate înainte de sfârşitul războiului şi stabilit definitiv la ţară, îi parveni pe neaşteptate o scrisoare de la Bucureşti, prin care i se aducea la cunoştinţă că, întrucât era posesorul a zece hectare de pământ, pe care le lucra cu „braţe salariate”, ministerul zis al muncii şi al prevederilor sociale, prin intermediul unei comisii special constituite, luase decizia de a-i anula dreptul la pensie.
După ce împăturise la loc documentul, palid la faţă, Stelian Teodorescu îşi privise soţia fără să spună nimic, apoi se ridicase încet de pe scaun şi ieşise afară din casă. Pentru prima dată după multă vreme simţea imperios nevoia de a pufăi dintr-o ţigară, dar cum se lăsase definitiv de fumat înainte de a deveni un fumător inveterat, se mulţumi să tragă adânc în piept aerul răcoros al serii. Cu paşi lipsiţi de grabă se îndreptă spre gardul de la drum. Răspunse cu o înclinare din cap la salutul unui vecin, care stătea în faţa porţii aşteptând parcă să înceapă o conversaţie cu cineva, apoi o apucă înapoi spre partea din dos a curţii, unde se înălţa construcţia solidă a unui pătul, plin pe vremuri, dar devenit aproape de prisos în ultimii ani, de când fuseseră instituite cotele agricole obligatorii. În treacăt, privirile îi căzură pe locul viran de alături, unde până de curând se înălţase casa bătrânească a lui Fănel Trifu, un flăcău tomnatic fără părinţi, care peste noapte îşi vânduse bruma de avut şi îşi făcuse pierdute urmele pe undeva prin Bucureşti. La rându-i, noul proprietar se grăbise să dărâme ruina de casă, dar nu se arăta deloc grăbit să construiască alta, din motive numai de el ştiute.
Oprindu-se lângă trunchiul zgrunţuros şi masiv al unui dud bătrân – care era deja mare şi în urmă cu patruzeci de ani, când se însurase şi venise, ca tânăr învăţător, în Vărăşti, satul natal al Elvirei – , Stelian Teodorescu se sprijini cu o mână de gardul despărţitor şi rămase cu privirea pierdută spre locul viran de alături – pustiu şi trist ca un cimitir – peste care, o dată cu umbrele serii, începuseră să zboare în voie liliecii. Neprevăzutul necaz cu care se sfârşea vara şi perioada oarecum mai liniştită a ultimilor cinci-şase ani, timp în care avusese răgazul de a se deprinde cu noua viaţă de pensionar, îl întrista tot atât de mult pe cât îl îngrijora. De câte ori se gândise la neplăcerile pe care le-ar fi putut avea cu „tovarăşii” care veniseră la cârma ţării şi cu regimul lor politic adus pe tancurile sovietice nu-şi imaginase în mod serios că ele s-ar fi putut să-i fie pricinuite tocmai de acele petice de pământ risipite prin vreo patru sate – în lunca Argeşului şi a Sabarului – care toate la un loc nu însemnau nici măcar cât un sfert dintr-o adevărată moşie. De zeci de ani aceste locuri fuseseră date la lucru „în parte” şi niciodată oamenii care le munciseră nu se arătaseră nemulţumiţi de ceva, chiar dimpotrivă, an după an ei fuseseră cei care ceruseră să li se dea să lucreze pe mai departe acele pământuri, semn că socoteala le convenea. Mai mult, el închisese ochii cu îngăduinţă atunci când de pe loturile mai îndepărtate recoltele de grâu şi de porumb ajunseseră la Vărăşti mai mici decât ceea ce era stabilit prin învoială ori prin contracte. Şi iată că cei care îl loveau acum pe neaşteptate invocau în mod justiţiar tocmai aceste pământuri, de pe urma cărora nişte oameni care îşi ofereau benevol „braţele salariate”, avuseseră destule foloase de tras şi nici un motiv de a se plânge că lucrurile n-ar fi mers aşa cum trebuie. Adevărul era că până atunci el, Stelian Teodorescu, se simţise oarecum la adăpost, căci nu făcuse niciodată politică militantă în serviciul vreunui partid de guvernământ din anii ’20 ori ’30 şi nici nu fusese omul lui Carol al II-lea ori al lui Antonescu, văzându-şi în mod onest de slujba lui la stat şi atât.
Pe când se frământa astfel, scormonindu-şi mintea, ca să-şi descopere vreo vină, care să justifice ceea ce era pe cale să i se întâmple, tresări auzind un zgomot prin preajmă. Clintindu-se din locul de lângă gard, întoarse capul şi dădu cu ochii de câinele Pelin, care se întinsese la picioarele lui în iarbă şi îl fixa cu ochii săi umezi, de parcă ar fi înţeles ce griji îl apăsau pe suflet şi ar fi vrut să-i fie cu ceva de folos, de s-ar fi putut. Capul mare cu urechi ciulite şi bot negru prelung îi dădeau o înfăţişare solemnă şi respectabilă de câine ciobănesc devotat stăpânului.
– Şi tu ai venit să vezi dacă nu mă folosesc de braţe salariate, ca să mă sprijin de gardul ăsta, mă, Stalin? îi vorbi omul, uitând pentru câteva clipe că trebuia să fie atent la ce spune, chiar şi la el acasă. Apoi imediat el începu să tuşească tare şi să cerceteze împrejurimile, dar nimeni nu părea să se afle prin apropiere, ca să-i audă vorbele nu tocmai prudente. Marş sub şopron, Pelin! se grăbi să adauge, ridicând intenţionat glasul şi rostind apăsat numele Pelin. Din dosul gutuilor şi al prunilor, care creşteau pe lângă ulucile spoite cu var ale vecinului din cealaltă parte a locului viran, răsună un hămăit scurt, urmat de o sudalmă a cuiva, apoi se aşternu o linişte relativă, iar Pelin se retrase ascultător sub acoperişul pătulului, unde rămase tolănit şi cu capul pe labe.
Cu vreo zece ani mai înainte, când unul din oamenii care le lucrau pământul le adusese, într-o primăvară, un pui de câine ciobănesc, cu cerul gurii negru şi cu coada retezată, Elvira, cu nesfârşitul ei har onomastic, împreună cu fiul său Virgil, se grăbiseră să-l boteze Stalin, spre amuzamentul cunoscuţilor şi al vecinilor. Pe uliţele comunei mărşăluiau pe atunci trupele bine înarmate ale Wermacht-ului, în vreme ce războiul din Răsărit stătea să înceapă, astfel că numele dictatorului bolşevic de la Kremlin părea tocmai bun să fie purtat de un câine din România. Ba chiar câţiva dintre prietenii lui Virgil, care aveau pe acasă căţelandri, găsind oportun şi spiritual gestul, se grăbiseră la rândul lor să îi urmeze exemplul. Numele Stalin ajunsese astfel, pentru o vreme, să aibă o semnificaţie dublă: câine, la propriu şi la figurat. Câţiva ani mai târziu însă, când tancurile sovietice aveau să-şi facă auzit huruitul de şenile puţin încurajator pe străzile capitalei României, ceea ce păruse oportun şi spiritual devenise deodată inoportun şi stupid şi mulţi dintre stalinii patrupezi ai satului fuseseră în grabă luaţi şi căsăpiţi prin fundul curţilor. În acest timp, pe şoseaua pe care răsunaseră până nu de mult cizmele nemţeşti se scurgeau ivanii cei iubitori de vodcă şi de Kalaşnikov. Când nu duhnea, eliberarea se putea întâmpla să-şi spargă timpanele sau să-ţi găurească scăfârlia. În ceea ce-l privea, Virgil cruţase viaţa bietului patruped, rebotezându-l în grabă cu inocentul nume de Pelin. Noul nume fusese adoptat rapid şi cu inteligenţă de către câine, care nu apucase să îmbătrânească atât de mult, încât să nu se mai poartă adapta vremurilor în rapidă şi halucinantă schimbare. Doar vecinii şi cunoştinţele apropiate ori rudele mai zâmbeau cu subînţeles, atunci când îi auzeau pe cei din familia Teodorescu strigându-şi câinele pe noul său nume. Şi adevărul era că acel nou nume îl disimula perfect pe cel vechi, devenit inoportun şi primejdios.
Când reveni în casă, Stelian îşi găsi soţia adormită, cu lampa aprinsă alături pe masă şi cu flaconul de medicamente pe noptieră, alături de o Biblie mică, din care îşi făcuse în ultimii ani obiceiul să citească înainte de culcare. Preţ de câteva clipe, el îi privi chipul obosit de bătrâneţe şi de griji. Femeia respira anevoios şi articula prin somn numele Cristianei, fata lor mai mică, moartă la Bucureşti, în urma bombardamentului de la 4 aprilie 1944.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Dragomirescu (born in Bucharest, in 1952) is a Romanian writer, literary criticist and journalist. Member of Writers’ Union of Romania (Uniunea Scriitorilor din România, USR). Published books: The Last Minstrel and Other Stories / Cel din urmă rapsod şi alte povestiri (2002); novels: Nothing New Behind the Iron Curtain / Nimic nou după Cortina de Fier (2003), Chronicle of a Lost World /Cronica Teodoreştilor (2008) etc. Published articles and short stories in cultural and literary magazines from Romania and some other countries. Nomination to annual literary prizes of USR Iaşi in 2009 for the novel Chronicle of a Lost World. Editor-in-chief of “Contemporary Literary Horizon”, a multicultural magazine, published in Romanian, English and Spanish languages.
Read Dragomiresscu’s review of Elfriede Jelinek’s The Piano Player, in Books/Reviews .
View larger photos from the gallery please enter the FS button.
ALBERT DORSA, Photographer
Albert Dorsa, a 30-year resident of St. Croix, has never strayed far from the arts. A lifetime photographer and designer, he’s been involved in projects ranging from publishing a magazine to patenting an invention to recently hanging a camera from a very large kite to make aerial photographs with a radio-controlled device, which he built. Currently, Al is using a technique called High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography that blends multiple exposures of the same scene to recover detail lost in shadows or highlights. Usually three or more exposures ranging from underexposed to overexposed are combined using special software to create the effects you see in his imagery.
These photographs appeared in the 24th Annual Caribbean Fine Art Exhibit Feb 18-21 at the Good Hope School in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. All were processed with HDR software to extract detail from shadows and highlights that would be impossible to capture in a single exposure.
For more information, including how to purchase prints, see: aldorsa.com
For thePHOTOGRAPHYspot submissions, please see guidelines at ragazine.cc/submissions/
March 31, 2011 Comments Off on Daniel Dragomirescu/Translation