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Poetry in Translation (CCCLXIV), Constantin OPRIŞAN (1921, co. BACĂU- 1959, JILAVA Political Prison, BUCHAREST, ROMANIA): “Vesperală”, “Vespers”

November 19th, 2015 · 1 Comment · Communist Prisons, Famous People, History, PEOPLE, Poetry, POLITICAL DETENTION / DISSENT, quotations, Translations

Poetry in Translation (CCCLXIV), Constantin OPRIŞAN (1921,co. BACĂU – 1959, JILAVA Political Prison, BUCHAREST, ROMANIA): “Vesperală”, “Vespers”

Communist prison @ Galatz, Romania

Communist prison @ Galatz, Romania


(1921, Co. Bacău, Romania – 1959, Jilava political prison, Bucharest, Romania)

Cânta singuraticul flaut,
Pe vânt alerga elegia.
Cu vântul, cu cântul te caut,
Maria, Maria, Maria!

Şi frunza cânta în dumbravă,
Şi-n freamăt pierea armonia.
Şi inima-mi cântă, bolnavă,
Maria, Maria, Maria!

Şi vântul, şi cântul, şi inima-mi frântă,
Şi toamna, şi frunza-şi trăiau agonia.
Tăcere… Un flaut mai cântă:
Maria, Maria, Maria!

* * * * * * *

Martyrs of Romania's Communist Prisons

Martyrs of Romania’s Communist Prisons


A lonely flute is singing,
The elegy’s blown off the road.
And yet, it is you I am seeking,
Oh, Mary – the Mother of God!

As tree leaves are carried asunder,
They lose the colour they’ve got.
My singing heart does flounder,
Oh, Mary – the Mother of God!

The battered Soul is breaking,
Like tree leaves on Golgotha’s road.
As a prayer, a lone flute is singing,
Oh, Mary – the Mother of God!

Rendered in English by Constantin ROMAN, London,
© 2015 Copyright Constantin ROMAN

Constantin OPRISAN - Martyr of Romania's Communist Prisons

Constantin OPRISA – Martyr of Romania’s Communist Prisons

SHORT BIO: Constantin (aka Costache) Oprișan (b. 1921 – d. June 1958, Jilava political prison, Buchareșt) was born on 16 March 1921, in Oncești, county Bacău, Moldavia. He read Philosophy under Professor Martin Heidegger, in Germany, following which he enrolled as a student of Philosophy and Literature at Cluj University.
As an active opponent of the Communist regime imposed by the Soviet occupation of Romania, at the closure of WWII, Costache Oprișan is arrested in 1951 and condemned to twenty five years of hard labour. He is first an inmate of the infamous Pitesti prison, where he undergoes a so-called regime of ”re-education”, with the result of enduring the worst punishment ever perpetrated by the infamous torturer, Ion Turcanu. As this was not enough, Oprișan is transferred to another prison, of savage reputation, Gherla, where he contracts tuberculosis and is confined to the Văcărești prison hospital. In 1958 he is transferred to the extermination unit of Casinca, at Jilava prison, near Bucharest, where he spends his last days in a windowless, damp cell, with water pouring down the walls. His cellmates learned by heart his poems, which he recited from memory, as they were never written, in conditions where pen and paper were unheard of.
Costache Oprișan died in June 1959, aged 37, less than a year after arriving at Jilava, his body thrown into an unmarked, communal grave.
Oprisan’s poems, which were part of an oral mythology, were finally collated and published in 2009, forty years after his death, and twenty years after the demise of Ceauşescu’s Communist dictatorship.


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