Eminescu: my reason for loving poetry

Mihai Eminescu
Eminescu, Mihai

I know there are a lot of people who love poetry among the blogosphere and I know that some of you might have heard about a poet called Eminescu. He was born in the 15th of January 1850 in Botosani, Romania, and even though he died young, he managed to write a lot of poetries and fantastic fiction that elevated the level of Romanian culture to French standards.

He was a dreamy fellow, romantic and lost without his love. He writes about trees and lakes and beauties that charm the evening star, and about his lovely maiden with blue eyes like flowers in the field.

Below is a selection of my favourite ones (along with a translation for those of you who don’t speak Romanian). Translations belong to Corneliu M.Popescu.

And last – some of his poems were converted into songs. The last poem’s song is featured in the youtube video (performed by Mondial in the 70’s)

O, ramâi

O, ramâi, ramâi la mine,
Te iubesc atât de mult!
Ale tale doruri toate
Numai eu stiu sa le-ascult;

In al umbrei întuneric
Te asaman unui print,
Ce se uit-adânc în ape
Cu ochi negri si cuminti;

Si prin vuietul de valuri,
Prin miscarea naltei ierbi,
Eu te fac s-auzi în taina
Mersul cârdului de cerbi;

Eu te vad rapit de farmec
Cum îngâni cu glas domol,
In a apei stralucire
Intinzând piciorul gol

Si privind în luna plina
La vapaia de pe lacuri,
Anii tai se par ca clipe,
Clipe dulci se par ca veacuri.”

Astfel zise lin padurea,
Bolti asupra-mi clatinând;
Suieram l-a ei chemare
S-am iesit în câmp râzând.

Astazi chiar de m-as întoarce
A-ntelege n-o mai pot…
Unde esti, copilarie,
Cu padurea ta cu tot?

(1879, 1 februarie)

O remain, dear one

O remain, dear one, I love you,
Stay with me in my fair land,
For your dreams and your longings
Only I can understand.

You, who like a prince reclining
O’er the pool with heaven starred;
You who gaze up from the water
With such earnest deep regard.

Stay, for where the lapping wavelets
Shake the tall and tasselled grass,
I will make you hear in secret
How the furtive chamois pass.

Oh, I see you wrapped in magic,
Hear your murmur low and sweet,
As you break the shallow water
With your slender naked feet;

See you thus amidst the ripples
Which the moon’s pale beams engage,
And your years seem but an instant,
And each instant seems an age.

Thus spake the woods in soft entreaty;
Arching boughs above me bent,
But I whistled high, and laughing
Out into the open went.

Now though even I roamed that country
How could I its charm recall …
Where has boyhood gone, I wonder,
With its pool and woods and all?

FLOARE ALBASTRA

Iar te-ai cufundat în stele
Si în nori si-n ceruri nalte?
De nu m-ai uita încalte,
Sufletul vietii mele.

In zadar râuri de soare
Gramadesti-n a ta gândire
Si câmpiile asire
Si întunecata mare;

Piramidele-nvechite
Urca-n cer vârful lor mare
Nu cata în departare
Fericirea ta, iubite!

Astfel zise mititica,
Dulce netezindu-mi parul.
Ah! ea spuse adevarul;
Eu am râs, n-am zis nimica.

Hai în codrul cu verdeata,
Und-izvoare plâng în vale,
Stânca sta sa se pravale
In prapastia mareata.

Acolo-n ochi de padure,
Lânga balta cea senina
Si sub trestia cea lina
Vom sedea în foi de mure.

Si mi-i spune-atunci povesti
Si minciuni cu-a ta gurita,
Eu pe-un fir de romanita
Voi cerca de ma iubesti.

Si de-a soarelui caldura
Voi fi rosie ca marul,
Mi-oi desface de-aur parul,
Sa-ti astup cu dânsul gura.

De mi-i da o sarutare,
Nime-n lume n-a s-o stie,
Caci va fi sub palarie
S-apoi cine treaba are!

Când prin crengi s-a fi ivit
Luna-n noaptea cea de vara,
Mi-i tinea de subsuoara,
Te-oi tinea de dupa gât.

Pe carare-n bolti de frunze,
Apucând spre sat în vale,
Ne-om da sarutari pe cale,
Dulci ca florile ascunse.

Si sosind l-al portii prag,
Vom vorbi-n întunecime;
Grija noastra n-aib-o nime,
Cui ce-i pasa ca-mi esti drag?

Inc-o gura si dispare…
Ca un stâlp eu stam în luna!
Ce frumoasa, ce nebuna
E albastra-mi, dulce floare!

Si te-ai dus, dulce minune,
S-a murit iubirea noastra
Floare-albastra! floare-albastra!…
Totusi este trist în lume!

(1873, 1 aprilie)

Blue Flower

“You ride the clouds and range the sky
Your net about the stars cast;
But do remember dear at last
My soul can never soar so high.

You build tall palaces in Spain
Of fancy’s fragile masonry,
You search in vain the sullen sea
And roam Assyria’s plains in vain.

The pyramids their summits press
Against the clouded heavens high,
Dear heart, it is not wise to fly
Too far a field for happiness ! ”

`Twas thus she spoke in whispers low,
Her hand laid softly on my head,
But I just laughed and nothing said,
Yet what she told was truth, I mow.

“Come where cool crystal brooks complain
Their fleeting fate midst forest greens,
And where the hanging cliff out leans
As though to thunder on the plain.

And somewhere, up some little glade,
To gather raspberries we will climb,
Or sit and watch the sky sublime
From neath the rushes’ tasselled shade.

While many a story you will tell,
And many a lie you’ll whisper too;
But I will read on petals true
You love me not, you love me well.

As rosy as an apple’s rind
Will be my cheeks burnt by the sun,
And my long golden hair undone
Around your neck in coils you’ll wind.

While if your lips on mine should burn
No one in all the world will know,
My hat is broad… and even so,
`Twere only your and my concern.

And when the moon comes shining through
The gap where tangled branches part,
You’ll hold me very close, dear heart,
And I will clasp my arms round you.

And when we walk the twilight gloom
Of forest paths that homeward run,
We’ll gather many a kiss, each one
As fragrant as the violets’ bloom.

And long amid the starlight glow
We’ll stand to talk outside my gate,
For no one comes that way so late,
And who should care I love you so?

Another kiss and she was gone;
Like post I stood in the moon’s stream
O beautiful beyond a dream,
O small blue flower all my own !

Alas our love that grew so fair
Has flown and faded from that hour,
O my blue flower, my blue flower ! . . .
The world is sorrow everywhere.

ATAT DE FRAGEDA…

Atât de frageda, te-asameni
Cu floarea alba de cires,
Si ca un înger dintre oameni
In calea vietii mele iesi.

Abia atingi covorul moale,
Matasa suna sub picior,
Si de la crestet pâna-n poale
Plutesti ca visul de usor.

Din încretirea lungii rochii
Rasai ca marmura în loc
S-atârna sufletu-mi de ochii
Cei plini de lacrimi si noroc.

O, vis ferice de iubire,
Mireasa blânda din povesti,
Nu mai zâmbi! A ta zâmbire
Mi-arata cât de dulce esti,

Cât poti cu-a farmecului noapte
Sa-ntuneci ochii mei pe vechi,
Cu-a gurii tale calde soapte,
Cu-mbratisari de brate reci.

Deodata trece-o cugetare,
Un val pe ochii tai fierbinti:
E-ntunecoasa renuntare,
E umbra dulcilor dorinti.

Te duci, s-am înteles prea bine
Sa nu ma tin de pasul tau,
Pierduta vecinic pentru mine,
Mireasa sufletului meu!

Ca te-am zarit e a mea vina
Si vecinic n-o sa mi-o mai iert,
Spasi-voi visul de lumina
Tinzându-mi dreapta în desert.

S-o sa-mi rasai ca o icoana
A pururi verginei Marii,
Pe fruntea ta purtând coroana
Unde te duci? Când o sa vii?

(1879, 1 septembrie)

So Delicate

So delicate, so pure you are
As April’s snow-white cherry bloom;
An angel come to earth, a ster
That does within my chamber loom.

The silken carpet at your thread
Whispers softly and you seem,
From tiny foot to high poised head,
To float as lightly as a dream.

Amidst your mantle’s hanging folds
Your hands like burning marble glow.
Your magic all my spirit holds,
Your eyes that brim both joy and woe.

Your beauty like a dream beguiles,
Fair as a bride’s in legends old;
Smile not, dear heart, because your smiles
Are beauty in your face retold.

How surely neath the cloak of night
Could you destroy me with your charms,
A burning word of love’s delight,
A single clasp of your cold arms.

And now a veil of meditation
Creeps, and clouds your eyes’ deep fire;
The shadow of renunciation,
The shade of sweet, unquenched desire.

You go, I understand too well
To try to keep you by my side;
For me forever lost, farewell,
O strange and lovely legend’s bride !

To gaze on you itself was wrong,
How can I ever make amends,
Save by lamenting all life long
The happiness that this day ends.

As Mary’s icon now you glow
With holy light that cannot wane
Wearing a halo on your brow.
O come to me, come back again !

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