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a wonderful poem

2016.06.09 21:19:02

a beautiful love story

 The Evening Star
      by Mihai Eminescu

    Translation version 2.0 © 2006-2009 by Adrian Soncodi
    From the volume “Selected Romanian Poems”
    Published in 2009 by Cavallioti
    Reproduction requires the author’s permission

In times when fairy tales begin,
 In times with magic laden,
 There lived, of high and noble kin,
 A most enchanting maiden.
 She was the only child they raised,
 Of wits and virtues many,
 As is the Virgin midst the praised
 And midst the stars Selene.
 Beneath a dark, majestic vault
 She walks, her steps abating
 Close to the window where, in alt,
 The Evening Star’s awaiting.
 She gazes at his distant rays
 That glow and light the ocean,
 While on the rolling water ways
 Black galleys set in motion.
 She sees him now, she sees him then,
 Thus ripens her desire;
 From watching over and again,
 His love for her grows higher.
 When on the elbows her head leans,
 Sweet reveries prolonging,
 Her heart and soul can find no means
 To quieten their longing.
 And so alive his light cascades
 Whenever dusk gets nearer,
 Around the murky castle’s shades
 As he’s about to see her...
                    * * *
 He trails her footsteps when she leaves
 Towards her night’s retire,
 And with his icy sparkles weaves
 A web of flashing fire.
 And when she lies in bed to rest,
 A sleepy child so candid,
 He strokes her arms set on her chest,
 He closes her sweet eyelid;
 And from the mirror’s depth his glare
 Reflects upon her body,
 Upon her eyes shut unaware,
 Upon her face leaned mildly.
 Seeing her lips from smiling sweep,
 He shivers in the mirror,
 As he pursues her in her sleep
 To hold her spirit dearer.
 And then she speaks to him in dreams
 And sighs within a sad plea:
 “Oh, sweet lord, who my night redeems,
 Why don’t you come? Come by me!
 Descend, my stellar prince so kind,
 Along a soft ray gliding,
 Pervade the castle and my mind,
 Light to my life providing!”
 He listens eagerly to her,
 Resplendent and reviving,
 Then suddenly becomes a blur,
 Into the dark sea diving.
 The water around where he falls
 Spawns rings of growing sizes,
 While from the unknown deep he crawls
 And as a young man rises.
 Walking as smoothly as on sand
 Through open window spaces,
 He holds a sceptre in his hand
 Enfolded in reed laces.
 He looks just like a youthful king
 With silky, golden tresses;
 A bluish shroud tied in a ring
 His naked shoulders dresses.
 But then his livid face disguise
 Exudes a waxen glimmer –
 A handsome ghost with lively eyes
 That only outwards shimmer.
 “Out of my realm I came, your call
 To follow with devotion;
 My father is the heavens tall,
 My mother is the ocean.
 To reach the place that is your home,
 To get to see you closer,
 I had to leave the sky’s fair dome
 And be reborn of water.
 Oh, come, my holy treasured love,
 Give up your world forever!
 I am the Evening Star above,
 Become my true bride ever!
 Down there, in palaces of pearls,
 We’ll live for many ages,
 And everywhere the sea unfurls
 Its souls shall be your pages.”
 “Oh, you’re as handsome as in dreams
 An angel would be showing,
 But on the path lit by your beams
 I’ll never think of going;
 You’re foreign in both tongue and wear,
 And coldness you deliver,
 For I’m alive, while you – a glare,
 And your eye makes me shiver.”
                    * * *
 A few more days go by, and then,
 One night of airy splendor,
 The Evening Star comes up again,
 With bright rays, clear and slender.
 Inevitably in her dreams
 His image keeps returning
 And thus the lord of wavy streams
 Refills her heart with yearning:
 “Descend, my stellar prince so kind,
 Along a soft ray gliding,
 Pervade the castle and my mind,
 Light to my life providing!”
 From up there, when he hears her pray,
 In sorrow he retires,
 And soon the sky begins to sway
 Around where he expires;
 The air fills up with flames that climb
 And flood the world in surges,
 As from the chaos vales, sublime,
 A graceful youth emerges.
 On raven curls like tendrils smooth
 His crown seems to be burning,
 He comes surrounded by pure truth,
 Into a sun’s blaze turning.
 Amidst the folds of his black shroud
 Two marble arms are shaping,
 His face is like a somber cloud
 Beneath the gloomy draping;
 And yet his large and splendid eyes
 Shine deeply with desire,
 Like two voracious passion cries
 That through the dark transpire.
 “Out of my realm I strived and came,
 Your call again to follow;
 My father is the sun aflame,
 My mother the night hollow;
 Oh, come, my holy treasured love,
 Give up your world forever!
 I am the Evening Star above,
 Become my true bride ever!
 Oh, come, and in your golden hair
 Let me twine starry laces,
 And on my heavens be my pair,
 Most lovely of all faces.”
 “Oh, you’re as handsome as in dreams
 A demon would be showing,
 But on the path lit by your beams
 I’ll never think of going!
 Your cruel love is inhumane
 And hurts my feelings deeply,
 My eyes are overwhelmed by pain,
 Your fiery gazing burns me.”
 “But how could I descend to you?
 Do you not see the reason,
 In that my time is never through,
 While yours is just a season?”
 “I know not where to seek an end,
 Nor how to be beginning –
 Although your words I understand,
 I cannot see their meaning;
 But if you truly wish my heart
 To love you like no other,
 Then from the heavens you depart,
 Become a mortal, rather.”
 “You ask me my immortal glow
 To give up for your kisses,
 So I in turn wish you to know
 How passionate my love is;
 Indeed, I shall be born in sin,
 By novel law abiding;
 To the eternity I’m kin,
 From it I’ll be dividing.”
 And he keeps going… out of sight.
 For love of a young maiden
 He vanishes from heaven’s height,
 For days remaining hidden.
                    * * *
 Now in the meantime Catalin,
 Slick boy in servant jackets,
 In charge of pouring beverage in
 Men’s goblets at the banquets,
 A page who carries all around
 The empress’s long dresses,
 A bastard child, abandoned found,
 Yet not shy with his glances,
 With rosy cheeks fresh like the sprout
 Of spring – cute little sinner,
 Quietly sneaks, spying about
 And eyeing Catalina.
 Just look how lovely is her sight,
 And gorgeous… oh, God bless her!
 Yes, Catalin, the time is right
 To try your luck, no lesser.
 He steals a hold of her within
 A path on the yard’s borders.
 “What now, you wicked Catalin?
 Go ‘way and mind your orders!”
 “What now? I wish to see you slip
 Away from thoughts so lonely,
 And rather laugh, and give my lip
 A little buss, one only.”
 “But I don’t know what you speak of –
 Leave me alone, go yonder!
 Oh, for the Evening Star above
 I have an aching wonder.”
 “If you don’t know, I’d show you round
 Love’s yard, petal by petal,
 Only unwind and do not frown,
 But bear with me a little.
 As when a hunter lays a noose
 For songbirds young and charmful,
 When I unfold my left arm loose
 Embrace me in an armful;
 And let your eyes stare with amaze
 Into my eyes intently…
 When your slim waist I try to raise,
 Upon your toes rise gently;
 When I look downwards, to my face
 Keep your face straight up further,
 So we can gaze with endless grace
 And sweetness at each other;
 And such that everything is said
 Between ourselves, my lover,
 When kissing you I bow my head,
 Kiss me over and over.”
 She listens to the naughty boy
 Astonished and distracted,
 And playfully, and rather coy,
 Now snubbing, now attracted,
 She says to him: “Since I was small
 I learned to know you closely;
 So chatty and no good at all,
 You would quite suit me, mostly…
 Alas, a stellar prince arose
 From a forgotten kindness,
 And to unbound horizon glows
 Above the ocean’s blindness;
 And secretly my eyelids seize,
 For they are drowned by weeping
 Whenever waves upon the seas
 Towards him journey sweeping;
 He shines with everlasting love,
 My pain away beseeches,
 And yet ascends so high above
 To be beyond my reaches.
 His sad and frosty light rays spill
 Across two worlds departed…
 Forever I will love him, still
 Forever we’ll be parted…
 And for this reason my days are
 As empty as the prairies,
 While nights are filled with holy charm,
 Mysterious like fairies.”
 “You are but childish, hence so frail…
 Let’s run afar forever,
 And hope that they will lose our trail
 So none will know us ever.
 For in our hearts we shall be twin,
 We shall have joy and wellness,
 And you’ll no longer miss your kin
 Or dream of stellar highness.”
                    * * *
 The Evening Star departs. The sky
 With growing wings he beckons,
 And thousand-year-long flights go by
 In just as many seconds.
 A sky of stars unfolds below,
 Above – more stars that twinkle;
 He seems to be a lightning flow
 Astray amidst their sprinkle.
 Out of the chaos vales, sublime,
 Surrounding him and surging,
 He sees, beyond the dawn of time,
 The streaming lights emerging.
 As they emerge and spill around
 Like giant seas amassing,
 He flies, his yearning mind unbound,
 Until all turns to nothing.
 For where he gets there’s no domain
 Nor eye that can discover,
 And time itself struggles in vain
 From bareness to recover.
 It’s but a void, yet he does find
 A thirst that draws him over,
 A deep abyss resembling blind
 The failure to remember.
 “Of harsh and dark eternity
 Relieve me, please, my Father,
 And blessed thy name forever be
 By all the world together.
 Oh, ask, my Lord, for any charge,
 But make my fate another,
 For while your source puts lives at large
 As well their deaths you gather.
 My immortality recall,
 Extinguish my eyes’ fire,
 And give me, in exchange of all,
 One hour of desire.
 From chaos, Lord, I rose, and yearn
 To be returned to chaos…
 Out of the utmost stillness born
 I have a thirst for stillness.”
 “Hyperion, you who from naught
 Appeared, a world reclaiming,
 Ask not for signs or marvels that
 Have neither face nor naming.
 Become a man – is this your goal,
 Their likeness to acquire?
 But were mankind to perish whole,
 Others would still aspire.
 They only build, yet cannot save,
 Ideals all too shallow –
 As waves keep marching to their grave
 More waves arise and follow.
 They have but lucky stars to chase
 While haunted by misfortunes,
 We live outside of time and space
 With no death in our fortunes.
 Out of eternal yesterday
 Today’s living expire;
 Were an old sun to fade away,
 New suns would burst afire.
 Seemingly parted from the void
 By void they are predated,
 For all are born to be destroyed
 And die to be created.
 Still you, Hyperion, shall last
 Even beyond your twilight…
 Ask for the prime word of my past –
 Shall I gift you with insight?
 Your voice at singing shall I ease,
 Adorn it with emotions
 That could charm mountains and their trees
 And islands of the oceans?
 Perhaps in deed you wish to show
 Your righteousness and power?
 I’d have the Earth sliced row by row
 For you, to reign all over.
 I’ll give you fleets lined side by side
 And legions you could spread through
 The lands afar and oceans wide,
 But death I cannot grant you…
 And dying for – who’s really worth?
 Just turn around and travel
 Back to that ever-drifting Earth
 And watch your fate unravel.”
                    * * *
 His place, where he was meant to stay,
 Hyperion regaining,
 Like visions from a former day
 His rays, again, start raining.
 For twilight’s hour is about
 And night will be her daughter;
 The quiet moon is coming out
 Trembling from under water
 And fills up with her magic glow
 The trails in forests hidden.
 By lovely linden trees, below,
 Two youngsters lay down even.
 “Upon your bosom let my head,
 Beloved, to surrender
 Beneath the glitter your eyes spread
 So sweet no words can render;
 With their enchantingly cold light
 Stroll out through my compassion,
 And pour perpetual delight
 Along my night of passion.
 And always over me remain
 To ease my aching sadness,
 For you are my first loving pain
 And my last dream of madness.”
 Hyperion sees from above
 The wonder on their faces;
 He barely touched her neck with love
 When she his waist embraces…
 The silver flowers’ perfume spreads,
 Their bloom is gently snowing
 Upon the two young children’s heads
 With long and fair curls flowing.
 Then she, from love in spirits high,
 Raises her eyes and glimpses
 The Evening Star. Yet only shy
 Entrusts him with her wishes:
 “Descend, my stellar prince so kind,
 Along a soft ray gliding,
 Pervade the forest and my mind,
 Light to my fate providing!”
 He shivers like the other days
 Above the hills and valleys,
 While guiding, on their lonesome ways,
 The rolling water alleys;
 But unlike then, he does not fold
 Into the sea from farther:
 “What do you care, you earthly mould,
 Whether it’s I or other?
 Enclosed within your narrow ring
 Good-fortuned lives you’re spending,
 Whilst I to my own heavens cling,
 Immortal and unbending.”

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