Monday, October 4, 2010

"The Reckoning" by M. Sorescu (Romania,1936-96)

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
     Equals zero.

     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

     Parallel lines?
     Two lives meeting only in infinity.
     Parallel lives?
     Two lights always trying to blow each other out.
     Parallel lights?
     Two lovers forever trying to reach each other.
     Parallel lovers?
     No, parallel losers.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post.Hoping that the Romanian translation made available together with the post.And the result will be genuine content, not the mere shadow of an original one.It is important that translation be written in a foreign language since it helps one to get acquainted with the thoughts, traditions, principles and actions of the people from the region