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Poetry in Translation (LXXV)”: Constantin ROMAN – “In Memoriam Smaranda BRAESCU”, Pioneer Pilot, Parachutist and anti-Communist Fighter (1887-1948)

September 22nd, 2010 · No Comments · PEOPLE, Poetry, Translations

Smaranda Braescu, World Champion at Parachute jumping, Pioneer Aviator, WWII Pilot


(English version by Constantin Roman)

SMARANDA, where are you?

Your pilot wings have taken to the skies

To lift you like a feather in your plane

Across the Ocean you have got from all

A hero’s welcome hailing you to fame.

But you refused all glitter and all gold

And chose instead returning to your nest

In the Carpathians a Squadron White you set

Your homeland to defend from mountain  crests

Against invaders from the East and West.

But soon corrupt elections cut your breath

And like your ancestors you took your case

Protesting at an outcome so unfair

And so the wrath of Gods brought you Despair –

A Fugitive to stay until the End.

As you conspired to reveal the Truth

You carried on your fight from underground

Your noble Creed which steeled a life so brave

When suddenly Fate would  curtail your youth

To bury you, deep, in an unknown grave.

No family or friends were there to grieve

To light a candle at a stranger’s quest

No Requiems were sung by bearded priests

When your remains at night were laid to rest

And no hushed souls would know whom to bereave.

But your example was not all in vain

As History again moved on its Wheel

And five decades of sorrows passed us by

We finally are Free to sing your name

And honour you, at last, the best we can.

Copyright Constantin ROMAN

London, September, 2010

(from the volume: “Random Poems”)

Extract from: “Blouse Roumaine – the Unsung Voices of Romanian Women”

She was the first female Romanian pilot, the European skydiving champion in October 2, 1931, skydiving from a record height of 6,000 m, landing in the Bărăgan Plain, the world champion in 1932 with a jump of 7200 m near Sacramento, California, and set a record crossing the Mediterranean Sea. In the States she was offered lucrative contracts at Hollywood (for stunt jumps) but she recoiled in horror and went back to Romania. She stopped over in Rome where she got a heros’ welcome and had an audience with the Pope who wanted to find out what it feels like up in the sky…

With the advent of WWII, Smaranda Bràescu enrolled with other women pilots in the ‘White Squadron’, active on the Eastern front, where Romania was trying to retrieve from the Soviets the provinces taken by Russia as a result of the Hitler-Stalin Pact. After 1944, Bràescu joined the 13th squadron, which was fighting the Germans on the Western front, first in Transylvania, then in Hungary (Nyiregyhaza, Miskolc) and Czechoslovakia (Rimaska Sabota, Trencin and Piestany). Although a war hero Smaranda Bràescu soon fell foul of the communist puppet régime which was installed in Romania by Stalin’s armies. She protested to the United Nations about the legality of the 1946 elections and her letter of protest to the Allied Command in Romania fell into the hands of a Russian general. Thereafter Smaranda Bràescu became a pariah and had to join the underground resistance in order to escape imprisonment and certain death. She operated under an assumed name, first from a convent and then as an anti-communist resistance fighter. She died of cancer at the age of 51, and was buried in Cluj, under her assumed name of Maria Popescu, in a grave on which her merits and real identity could not be spelled out. The people who helped her were hounded out and given long prison sentences, including the doctors who looked after her in hospital.

Smaranda Braescu, Romanian Pioneer Pilot and World Champion at Parachute Jumping

In Memoriam Smaranda Braescu
Constantin ROMAN

Smaranda, unde esti?
Te-ai avantat in zboruri printre nori
Din ceruri coborat-ai ca un fulg
Peste Ocean, cantata indelung
Urale ti-au adus de sarbatori.

N-ai vrut onoruri si nici bani mai multi
Cinstit-ai vrut sa stai printre Romani
Si te-ai intors atunci la noi in munti…
Cu “Escadrila Alba” ai rapus
Dusmani din Rasarit si din Apus.

In ’46 cand s-au masluit
Alegerile suflul ti-au taiat
Ca bunii tai cu jalba in protap
Mai-marilor de-atuncea te-ai jelit
Dar soarta ta fugar-ai fost sa fii.

Din talcul vietii tale ti-a fost dat
Sa nu renunti la lupta nici de cum
Cu fruntea-n sus sa mergi pe-acelasi drum
Cand boala floarea vietii ti-a curmat
Si-n groapa zaci sub nume de-mprumut.

N-au fost nici popi, nici rude, nici parinti
O candela sa-ti puna pe mormant
Nici vesnici pomeniri, pomeni sau sfinti
Nu s-au aflat s-aline trupul tau
De cine-ai fost sa sufle vre-un cuvant.

Dar pilda ta n-a fost intr-un zadar
Acum ca roata vietii s-a rotit
Si patru zeci de ani trecut-au, chiar
O strada cu-al tau nume in sfarsit
Te va slavi atata cum mai stim.

Copyright: Constantin ROMAN
Londra, Mai, 2006

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