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POETRY by Nichita Stnescu

LECIA DESPRE CERC A Lesson on the Circle

by Nichita Stanescu translated by Gabriel Prajitura and JoAnne Growney

Se deseneaz pe nisip un cerc You draw a circle in the sand

dup care se taie n dou, and then halve the circle
cu acelai b de alun se taie n dou. with the same hazelnut stick.

Dup aceea se cade n genunchi, Next you fall to your knees,

dup aceea se cade n brnci. then to all fours.
Dup aceea se izbete cu fruntea nisipul Then you hit the sand with your forehead
i i se cere iertare cercului. and apologize to the circle.
Att. Thats all.

OPERA POETICA II (Ed Alexandru Condeescu, Bucureti: Humanitas, 1999).

First published in CIRCUMFERENCE (Summer/Autumn, 2004).
A Lesson on the Cube

by Nichita Stanescu translated by Gabriel Prajitura and JoAnne Growney

Se ia o bucat de piatr You take a piece of stone,

se cioplete cu o dalt de snge, chisel it with blood,
se lustruiete cu ochiul lui Homer, grind it with Homers eye,
se rzuiete cu raze burnish it with beams
pn cubul iese perfect. until the cube comes out perfect.
Dup aceea se srut de nenumrate ori cubul Next you endlessly kiss the cube
cu gura ta, cu gura altora, with your mouth, with others mouths,
i mai ales cu gura infantei. and, most important, with infantas mouth. .
Dup aceea se ia un ciocan Then you take a hammer
i brusc se frm un col de-al cubului. and suddenly knock a corner off.
Toi, dar absolut toi zice-vor: All, indeed absolutely all will say
Ce cub perfect ar fi fost acesta what a perfect cube this would have been
de n-ar fi avut un col sfrmat! if not for the broken corner!

OPERA POETICA II (Ed Alexandru Condeescu, Bucureti: Humanitas, 1999).

First published in CIRCUMFERENCE (Summer/Autumn, 2004).
Poetry is the eye that weeps
Poezia este ochiul care plange It is the shoulder that weeps
Ea este umarul care plange the eye of the shoulder that weeps.
ochiul umarului care plange. It is the hand that weeps
Ea este mana care plange the eye of the hand that weeps
ochiul mainii care plange. It is the weeping sole
Ea este talpa care plange the eye of the weeping heel.
ochiul calcaiului care plange. O, you friends,
O voi, prieteni, poetry is not tears
poezia nu este lacrima it is the act of weeping --
ea este insusi plansul weeping from eyes not yet created,
plansul unui ochi neinventat, tears from the eyes
lacrima ochiului of him who should be handsome,
celui care trebuie sa fie frumos, tears of him who should be happy.
lacrima celui care trbuie sa fie fericit.
translated by Stelian Apostolescu and JoAnne Growney
Timpul ca lumin Time as Light translated by Stelian Apostolescu and JoAnne Growney

1. 1.
Orice obiect, dup distrugerea criteriilor lui interioare, involutiv se transform n lumin. Any object, when its internal benchmarks are destroyed, melts into light.
Orice obiect este o form de lumin oprit ntr-o structur. Any object has light inherent in its structure.

2. 2.
Funcia principal a obiectelor este absoria. Atta timp ct fora de absorie depete fora de The main function of objects is absorption. As long as the absorption force surpasses the force
ejecie, obiectul se afl n formare, n cretere. of emission, the object keeps forming, growing. For all objects, gravitation is the sum of their
Gravitaia reprezint suma absoriilor obiectelor reunite ntr-un cmp cosmic. absorptions, united as a cosmic field.

3. 3.
Forme de gravitaie sau de absorie se pot remarca i n domeniul semi-abstract al limbii. One can observe forms of gravitation or absorption in the semi-abstract field of language.
Atragerile i respingerile reciproce ntre grupurile de cuvinte le-au transformat pe acestea Reciprocal repulsions among groups of words have changed them bit by bit into nouns and
treptat-treptat n substantive i verbe, cu tot roiul de nuane nconjurtoare. verbs with a profusion of surrounding hues.

4. 4.
Starea de absorie exprimat prin sentimente corespunde strii de mirare. Starea de ejecie An absorbing state expressed in terms of feelings corresponds to a state of wonder. An
exprimat prin sentimente corespunde strii firescului. Starea mirrii poate produce sublim i emitting state expressed in feelings corresponds to normality. A state of wonder can cause awe
spaim. Firescul este o stare luminoas. and terror. Normality is a luminous state.

5. 5.
Mirarea oprete timpul, iar firescul, dimpotriv, l declaneaz. Timpul este de fapt lumin. n Wonder stops time, and normality, to the contrary, releases it. Time is, in fact, light. In this
acest sens, unitatea cea mai mic de timp este fotonul. respect, the smallest unit of time is the photon.

6. 6.
Luminescena putregaiului dintr-o pdure, copil fiind, m-a pus pe ginduri. Starea lui de vis mi- The glow of decay in a forest, while I was a child, affected me, put me in a dream state that
a dat un sentiment ciudat. Mai trziu mi-am imaginat lumina ca fiind starea de dinainte de felt weird. Later, I imagined that light is the state prior to birth and the state after death.
natere i starea de dup moarte. Imitnd o formul a lui Coanda: omul este un accident Paraphrasing a formula of Coanda : man is a hydraulic accident, I would say : man is a
hidraulic, a zice: omul este un accident al luminii. n acest sens am putea considera lumina luminous accident. In this respect we might consider solar light as prenatal life, like time not
solar ca pe o stare prenatal, ca pe un timp neorganizat ntr-o structur. yet structured.

7. 7.
Somnul echilibreaz absoria cu ejecia. Face evident starea discontinu a luciditii, deci a Sleep creates equilibrium between absorption and emission. It gives evidence of the
existenei. Timpul se dezorganizeaz n perioada somnului. Lumina devine interioar, devine discontinuity of Lucidity, i. e., of existence. Time grows less organized during sleep. The
sentiment, transformndu-se n lucioli. light becomes internal, becomes feeling, changes itself into luminosity.

8. 8.
nssi existena, ca somn al luminii, face evident discontinuitatea acesteia i deci a timpului. Existence itself, as lights sleep, offers evidence of its own discontinuity, that is, of time. In
n acest sens putem s socotim existena ca pe o cuant de timp. this respect one can consider existence as a quanta of time.

9. 9.
Interiorul fotonului ine esena universului: timpul. Transformarea luminii n existen i A photon contains within itself the essence of the Universe : time. Transformation of light
transformarea existenei n lumin, aa cum mi-o nchipui acum, poate fi o metafor. Dar dac into existence or existence into light, as I see it now, may be only a metaphor. But what if it
nu e numai o metafor? ceases to be a metaphor ?

10. 10.
M ntreb dac luminescena aceea nocturn dintr-o pdure a copilriei era o natere sau o I ask myself whether that nighttime glow in the forest of my childhood was a birth or a death.
moarte. Dac era o ncetinire de lumin pn la transformarea ei, nchegarea ei n simuri, sau Whether it was a delay in lights transformation, its recognition by the senses, or was, to the
dimpotriv, dac era distrugerea de organe emannd lucioli de vis. contrary, the decay of organs radiating halos.

11. Timpul este lumin. Dar lumina, ce este lumina? 11. Time is light. But light? What is light ?