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Entries from October 30th, 2011

Poetry in Translation (XCVIII): Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967), “The Old French Poet” – “Cântec de demult”

October 30th, 2011 · No Comments · Poetry, Translations

An Old FRENCH POET
Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)

When in your sober mood my body have ye laid
In sight and sound of things beloved, woodland and stream,
And the green turf has hidden the poor bones ye deem
No more a close companion with those rhymes we made;

Then, if some bird should pipe, or breezes stir the glade,
Thinking them for the while my voice, so let them seem
A fading message from the misty shores of dream,
Or wheresoever, following Death, my feet have strayed.

CÂNTEC DE DEMULT
[Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)]

Când ma veţi îngropa, cu gând cernit
In freamăt de pădure si izvoare
Şi iarba va ascunde-un oarecare
Tovarăş din trecutul mult jelit,

Atunci pădurea şi pârâul vor cânta,
Să v-amintească glasu-mi de-altă dată
Ecou din viaţa noastră fermecată,
Sau poate pasul meu ce-ar adăsta.

Rendered in Romanian by
Constantin Roman
London, October 2011
Copyright 2011 © Constantin ROMAN, Londra

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Poetry in Translation (XCVII): Gabriela Melinescu, “Birth of Constellations” (Ivirea Stelelor)

October 23rd, 2011 · No Comments · Diaspora, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations

[caption id="attachment_3546" align="aligncenter" width="132" caption="Gabriela Melinescu (b. 1942, Romania) Swedish Romanian Poet, Exile"][/caption]

Poetry in Translation (XCVII): Gabriela Melinescu, “Birth of Constellations” (Ivirea Stelelor)

Other people are born here, on Earth,
In a fresh scent of salt and milk.
The buds burst out biting the twigs,
With the silky movement of a serpent.

O, would I ever
Be reborn?
With dilated pupils, o, breeze of pain
With white clouds, will you pass over my face?

Would you, one evening, leave me again
Like a translucent bone on the hot sands
And fretting on the sky’s pavement, oh, Mater,
Would you ever remember our love?

In Româneşte de Constantin ROMAN
(Londra, Octombrie, 2011)
Copyright 2011 © Constantin ROMAN, Londra

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Romanian Literature in Exile (I): Rodica Iulian (France), b. Romania 1931

October 19th, 2011 · No Comments · Diaspora, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Uncategorized

Rodica Iulian’s novels, written in French, reflect the dilemma of the exile torn between her perceived ‘duty’ towards her native culture and the desire to establish new roots in its adoptive country. In the process of establishing herself as a writer in the West, she would reposition Romanian literature as part of the canon of European literature. In this context, Rodica Iulian’s novels reveal the misunderstandings between the Romanian perceptions and expectations of the newly experienced contacts with the French culture. (One of the above quotations is such an example, when, as late as 2001, one detects a whiff of the nightmares experienced some two decades earlier, by Iulian witnessing Ceausescu’s bulldozers, flattening the historical centre of Bucharest.)

Blouse Roumaine – An Anthology of Romanian Women

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Poetry in Translation (XCVI): Rodica Iuian, “Sculpted Head”

October 19th, 2011 · No Comments · Diaspora, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations

Sculpted Head:
Rodica IULIAN *b Romania,1931)


“He was handsome, the child-Caligula
He was serene the child-Caligula
He had a child-like smile
The child-Caligula.
I ought to have bought him a fair yearling
One hundred yearlings
For him to have a whole Senate of yearlings
To play with
And to let them be
Yearlings, true yearlings
Each and every one of them ridden
By the child-Caligula
The child-Caligula
Never Caligula – the adult.”

(Iulian, Rodica, Stained glass- Poems, page 28,
Translated by Constantin Roman)

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Poetry in Translation (XCV): Dylan Thomas: “The Hand that signed the Paper” – “Mâna ce-a pus pecetea”

October 17th, 2011 · No Comments · PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations

Mana ce-a pus pecetea

Mâna ce-a pus pecetea, a-nvins cetatea;
Cinci degete au drămuit suflarea,
Si decimând o fire, au sfârtecat o ţară;
Cinci prinţi, tăind un cap incoronat.

Un braţ de fier e prins de-o fiinţă suptă,
Crispate mâini se strâng pe frânte scuturi;
O pană pe raboj a stins o luptă
Ce-a stins in gât un murmur.

Dar mâna pe răboj are lingoare,
Lăcuste fac prăpăd si-i foame mare;
Dar mare-i mâna ce apasă ţara
Pecetea unui singur Domn.

Cinci prinţi sfidează orice-nduplecare
Cu aprigi ochi privind o viaţă frântă;
In cer sau pe pământ fără iertare;
Căci mâna n-are lacrimi ca să plângă.

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Why I love Shoreditch

October 17th, 2011 · No Comments · Diaspora, OPINION, PEOPLE

There are so many reasons why I love Shoreditch: the braggards, the hipsters, the charity mums, the Sunday flower market jaunters. Shoreditch is not just a pastiche; it is a living organism that with every day awakes, kicking and screaming to life, reminding the world of what a unique, if somewhat troublesome child it is.

But for all the reasons I love Shoreditch, there is truly only one that pins my heart to a hoarding on Great Eastern Street, announcing to the passing crowds of out-of-town commuters and lorry drivers alike that this is the place of my soul; and that is the sprayed up, pasted-over and fucked-up walls of the hallowed triangle and its periphery.
For as many years as I have worked in the area, and eventually come to live in, I have been inspired to document the activities of each and every ne’er do well that sees fit to climb out of bed at a god-forsaken hour and crawl through the darkened back streets and passages for the sake of their art, for ‘as the city sleeps, the walls they weep’.

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Poetry in English (XCIV): Constantin ROMAN – “Ode to a British Chicken”

October 13th, 2011 · No Comments · Diaspora, OPINION, Poetry

Poetry in English (XCIV): Constantin ROMAN – “Ode to a British Chicken”

Ode to a British Chicken

My British Chicken,
I’m truly smitten
‘cause, if you vanished
I ‘d be really lost.

I‘d rather have you roasted,
As without you
My Menu, on the spot,
Will soon be tossed.

My ever-present chick,
You’re inexpendable
My gas ring will be pining
Without you

And British Gas,
For sure, will be insolvent,
As its best client,
Now will go to pass.

My dearest fowl
You got a life in prison
With all your sisters, without rhyme or reason,
All jam packed cheek by jowl.

In batteries you are now a statistic,
Industrial gulag, which puts to shame
A number rather more characteristic
Of Soviet era, at its grimmest game.

My dearest Supermarket, I’m addicted
To buy for ever all your tasteless junk,
As my dependency is now to be predicted
A boring number of a faceless skunk.

Your sheer manipulation, so disgusting,
Is flying in the face of common sense.
Blindfolded crowds are being hold to ransom,
Automatons with limbs, but without brains..

In my despair I’ll try to be more vocal
But am afraid, as being middle-class,
I will be deemed to fart above my station
And turn my reputation to an ass.

Copyright © Constantin ROMAN
London, October 2011

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Romanian Musings on Bela Bartok’s Memorial in London SW7

October 10th, 2011 · No Comments · Art Exhibitions, Diaspora, OPINION, PEOPLE, Reviews, Uncategorized

Bela Bartok was born in the Romanian Banat region, at Sannicolau Mare, the son of a Hungarian father and a Serbian Mother. As one would expect of a sensitive child born in this ethnic mosaic of the Habsburg Empire, young Bartok like his central European contemporary composers, drew his inspiration from the rich ethnic music of Central Europe: the composer’s “Romanian Dances” have long been included in the International musical repertoire and in the memory of the cognoscenti, compositions which reflect indirectly the international currency of Romanian compositions, the same pool from which Georges Enesco or Valentin Lipatti have drawn their inspiration.
The life of Hungarian sculptor Imre Varga (b. 1923) reflects, as one would expect, the historical and political meanders of his country, during the 20th century. By comparison, this presents many commonalities with his Romanian counterparts, who showed an equal enthusiasm at adapting to changing political circumstances, first during the right-wing nationalist dictatorship, followed by an anti-Stalinist war in the East, on the side of Germany, only to heap praise on a “liberating” Soviet Army and finally to end up as a member of the European Union: not exactly an easy sailing, during stormy times, when many contemporary artists either wrecked their careers, or chose instead to take the heavy road of exile, as was the case of our subject, whose memorial has just been erected in South Kensington.

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Ganduri Romanesti despre Bella Bartok la Londra

October 9th, 2011 · No Comments · Art Exhibitions, Diaspora, OPINION, PEOPLE, Uncategorized

Dezvelirea statuii compozitorului Maghiar Bella Bartok in cartierul South Kensigton din Sudvestul Londrei reprezinta o recunoastere in plus, nu numai a celebrului compozitor de talie universala, dar si un exemplu de promovare inteligenta a valorilor nationale in lume. Acest act ofera un moment de reflectie si poate comparativ cu modul Romanesc de promovare a valorilor nationale, pe plan international, de cumetriile Institutului Cultural Roman, Bucuresti.

Ei, o sa ma intrebati, poate, “ce are sula cu prefectura”? ce legatura aleatorica ar exista intre aceste idei, intre astfel de paralele si implicit de indemnuri?

Bella Bartok si George Enescu
Fara a ma pierde in explicatii alambicate, doar in cateva randuri, ar trebui sa amintim ca Bella Bartok s-a nascut in Banatul Romanesc, la Sannicolau Mare, ditr-un tata maghiar si o mama de etnie Sarba. Cum este si firesc, pentru un tanar cu evidente sensibilitati fata de mediul in care s-a nascut, Bartok s-a inspirat, asa cum au facut-o contemporanii si predecesorii sai din sec XIX, din fondul muzicii etnice din Sudestul Europei: “Dansurile Romanesti” ale compozitorului au intrat de mult in repertoriul mondial si implicit in memoria si sensibilitatea publicului civilizat si avizat, sensibilitate care reflecta indirect valorile muzicii Romanesti – aceeasi sursa din care s-au inspirat si contemporanii sai, George Enescu sau Dinu Lipatti.

Este poate semnificativ ca atat Bartok cat si Enescu s-au exilat din cauza schimbarilor politice survenite ca urmare al celui de al doilea razboi mondial: Bartok s-a destzarat datorita fascizarii Ungariei lui Horthy, ca sa se stabileasca in Statele Unite, unde, in ciuda asistentei financiare si artistice primite, si-a trait cu dificultate exilul, unde a murit dupa cinci ani. In aceasta perioada de destzarare a compus doar doua lucrari: Concertul pentru Orchestra si o sonata de vioara pentru Yehudi Menuhin – violonistul care a fost scolit de Enescu…
George Enescu, impreuna cu sotia lui si-au parasit tara dupa razboi, ca sa-si traiasca ultimii ani de viata la Paris, intr-o perioada intunecata a diasporei romanesti. Aceasta din urma a fost bantuita de recriminari, suspiciuni, lovituri sub centura si contraziceri – cu efecte inevitabile negative. Aici, in Parisul postbelic, bratul omniprezent al simpatizantilor francezi ai Stalinismului, cat si coada sobolanului securist au fost proactive, asa cum au suferit, din experienta proprie, Monica Lovinescu, Eugene Ionesco, Virgil Gheorghiu, Horia Vintila, s.a., indurand persecutia impinsa pana chiar la procesul vrajitaorelor.
Poate ar fi interesant de a reflecta mai adanc asupra efectului exilului asupra acestor compozitori contemporani, Bartok si Enescu.

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Poetry in Translation (XCII & XCIII): – Tomas Tranströmer, Nobel Prize 2011

October 8th, 2011 · No Comments · PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations, Uncategorized

[caption id="attachment_3397" align="aligncenter" width="262" caption="Tomas Tranströmer (n. 1931, Suedia, Premiul Nobel 2011 pentru Literaturà"][/caption]
Premiul Nobel pentru Literatura, 2011 – Tomas Tranströmer (n. 1931, Suedia)

Dupà Moarte
de Tomas Tranströmer (n. 1931, Suedia)

Cândva a fost o ràbufnire
lasând în urmà o dârà lungà, ca o coadà de cometà.
Ramânem închişi in casà. Pe televizor imaginile devin şterse.
Picàturi de apà încremenesc pe fire de telefon.

Sub raze de iarnà, încà mai poţi aluneca uşor cu sania,
printre copacii care-au pàstrat doar doua frunze,
ca nişte pagini rupte din anuarul telefonic.,
nişte nume încremenite de frig.

Poate este de necrezut sà-ţi auzi bàtaia inimii
Dar pe undeva, umbra, poate ar fi mai aevea dacât trupul.
Samuraiul ràmâne doar o copie ştearsà
faţà de platoşa lui de balaur, cu solzi negri .

In Româneşte de Constantin ROMAN
(Londra, Octombrie, 2011)

Copyright © 2011 Constantin ROMAN

[gallery]
Pereche
Tomas Tranströmer (n. 1931, Suedia)
(Premiul Nobel pentru Literatura, 2011)

Ei sting lumina, dar becul ràmâne încà, pentru o clipà,
incandescent, înainte ca sà se dizolve, ca o pastilà,
într-un pahar de întuneric. Apoi o ràbufnire.
Pereţii hotelului zboarà in întunericul cerului.
Zvâcnirile lor au devenit mai tandre, si au adormit,
Dar gândurile lor làuntrice se împreuneazà
Ca doua dâre de acuarelà care se contopesc
şi curg laolaltà pe pagina umedà, de caiet, al unui şcolar.
E întuneric si liniste. Dar cetatea s-a apropiat mai mult
în noaptea asta. Cu obloanele trase. Casele s-au adunat.
Imbulziţi, stau de veghe, lipiţi,
o droaie de oameni, cu feţe oarbe.

In Româneşte de Constantin ROMAN
(Londra, Octombrie, 2011)
Copyright 2011 © Constantin ROMAN

[caption id="attachment_3407" align="aligncenter" width="320" caption="Tomas Tranströmer (B. 1931, Sweden) Nobel Prize for Poetry 2011"][/caption]

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