I Am the Spirit of the Deep by Nicolae Labiş

I am the spirit of the deep
And in a world I live that’s not like yours,
The world of potent alcohols
Where only
The leaves of meretricious helplessness are withered.
I rise up to your world
On nights so quiet and so clear,
And then I light big fires
And treasures I beget
To amuse you all who understand me.
Then I descend again through strenuous vaults
Into the wonderful, bright water.
I am the spirit of the deep
And in a world I live that’s not like yours.

translated by Dan Dutescu

Zero by Ion Vinea

Moon letters in the sand silence
shine on me with your hand to your heart
Diana dust-blown name Diana
souvenir, willows with white teeth
still cackling today–
it’s so still that all the fragrances
wriggle like cats.

translated by Julian Semilian

Wheatfield by Lucian Blaga

The grains burst from too much gold.
Scattered around red poppy drops–
girl in the field,
eyelashed as long as barley stalks,
gathers bundles of clear sky in her gaze
and sings.

I lie in the shadow of poppies
Without desires, needs, remorse.
I am flesh and dirt.
She sings.
I listen.
On her warm lips my soul is born.

translated by Andrei Codrescu

The Flower-Eater by Gabriela Melinescu

You arrived with sixteen gladioli
to pay respects to the dead.
Under my gaze, the colors live
a secret life.
For food we need only
beauty on a plate.

In the morning: saffron.
For lunch: violets with mussels.
In the evening: pollen from sixteen gladioli.

Food is love as yet unborn.
On the table, among your flowers,
the body of the Lord,
offering itself eternally to all.

translated by Adam J. Sorkin & Inger Johansson

I Planted In Your Body by Tristan Tzara

I planted in your body darling the flower
That will scatter on your throat cheeks hands petals
And your breasts will burst into bud tomorrow–spring
I like your eyebrows and your eyes shiny like metal
And your arms which curve like snakes, waves, sea

From your body I’d like to make palaces, architectural gradens
And monumental earthly gardens
And to bury myself in your flesh when I die
And in their ground to bury myself when I die

In your hair I breathe the scent of grapes of oranges
In your eyes in black I see a sun and zest for eating on your lips
With your teeth you’d like to tear flesh from soul
And your nails to turn into claws

I’d love to bite your breasts like bread is bitten into
By hungry men who pick up coins from the pavement
I’d love to flower your gaze with architectural gardens
And to line your thoughts with earthly dreams, mamia.

translated by Julian Semilian & Sanda Agalidi

The Soul of the Village by Lucian Blaga

Little girl, put your hands on my knees.
Eternity I believe was born in a village.
Here every thought is more slow
and your heart pulses less frequently,
as if beating not in your chest
but deep in the earth somewhere.
Here the thirst for redemption is met,
and if you have got your feet bloody
you can rest on a clay bank.
Look, it is evening,
The soul of the village hovers around us,
like a shy smell of cut grass
like a drift of smoke from thatched roofs
like the frolicking of young goats over high graves.

translated by Peter Jay

Spring of Night by Lucian Blaga

My beauty,
in the evening when you hold
my head in your lap,
your dark eyes are the spring
from which night flows over valleys,
mountains and plains
to cover the world
with a sea of darkness.
So black are your eyes, my light.

translated by Andrei Codrescu

Give Me A Body, You Mountains by Lucian Blaga

I only have you, my temporary body–
I don’t adorn you with blue and yellow flowers–
your weak mud is too small for the terrible
soul I carry.

Give me a body, you mountains,
you seas,
give me a body capable of bearing
my madness in full!
Big earth, be my trunk,
be the chest for this furious heart,
be the shelter for the storms that toss me,
be the vessel of my stubborn self!

My great footsteps will then be heard
in the vast cosmos–
I will be unstoppable and free,
the way I am,
holy earth!

When I make love
I’ll stretch all my oceans to the sky,
they will be rolling, vigorous arms
to take and bend his waist,
to kiss his bright stars.

When I hate
I’ll smash under my stone feet
the poor trembling suns
and perhaps I’ll smile.

But I only have you, my temporary body.

translated  by Andrei Codrescu

A Day by Tudor Arghezi

Yesterday kept following me, all agog,
Like a starving dog,
Thinking it was leashed to my life with a belt,
With a rope or something–that is how it felt;
But reaching statues at a vacant lot
It turned back, seeing it was not.
Helpless and homeless it got lost
Though for a long time of rains and of frost
It had clung to me step by step, until today
At midday.

Whoever’s lost a day–long as his life has been–
Must seek it swiftly. Night is falling. Fog is setting in.

translated by Andrei Bantaş