Works by poet and playwright Marin Sorescu (1936-1996) continue to be popular with Romanian readers--and he is one of the most-frequently translated of Romanian poets. In "The Reckoning" we see and hear his irony twisting among images chosen from mathematics.
The Reckoning by Marin Sorescu
There comes a time
When we have to draw a line under us
A black line
To do the summing up.
The few moments when you are about to be happy,
The few moments when we were nearly beautiful,
The few moments we were almost a genius,
Occasionally we've met
Mountains, trees, water
(What happened to them? Do they still exist?)
Each adds up to a brilliant future--which we've lived.
A woman we've loved,
Plus the same woman who didn't love us
A quarter of year of studies
Makes several million fodder words
Whose wisdom we have gradually eliminated.
And finally, a fate
Plus another fate (Now where does that come from?)
Equals two (Write one, carry one,
Perhaps, who knows, there is a life hereafter).
--trans. by Andrea Deletant and Brenda Walker from Let’s Talk about
the Weather by Marin Sorescu (Forest Books, 1985)
"The Reckoning" also may be found in Born in Utopia: An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Romanian Poetry (Talisman House, 2006)--this collection contains nine of Sorescu's poems and more than 300 pages of fine English translations of a varied collection of Romania's best poets. Both Deletant and Walker have been for many years active in Romanian translation. Walker also is a poet--and here is a small sample of her own play with mathematical words--taken from Mind Games (Headland Press, 1984) .
Word Game by Brenda Walker
Two lives meeting only in infinity.
Two lights always trying to blow each other out.
Two lovers forever trying to reach each other.
No, parallel losers.