Traced Through Mud

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Heartbreaking Paintings and Poems from Communist Prisons in Romania — I

*

Prison Warder

by

Sergiu MANDINESCU

A muffled night

a bottomless abyss

a peacock’s cry

that never goes amiss.

Great panthers watching in the night

and tigers ready for the pounce,

the pythons flawlessly advance

a path so trite.

The shadow’s silence so profound

fills to the brim the darkest mind –

a jungle full of beasts of any kind,

but human soul is nowhere to be found!

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Glory

by

Radu Budisteanu

Blessed be suffering

which brings man out of a flat groove –

swift sling hurled at a Goliath,

tree in which knowledge is born.

Blessed be suffering.

Without it, good earth would be clay,

the heart would not catch the murmur of a tear

and sin would not know what contrition is.

Blessed be suffering.

If there were not death, would there be love?

Value is given to all by separation,

fruit in the hidden furrow of the passing rays.

Blessed be suffering,

its breast a resting place, a caress upon the brow,

the strong altar screen of the sense let it be,

archway through which alone desire passes.

Blessed be suffering

fruit of the hidden furrow of a passing ray

soul with large embracing arms

like an all enveloping mantle.


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Unwritten Letters

by

Radu Gyr

Our life often lies hidden

in a humble corner of paradise,

in letters which were never sent us

by a hand that never wrote them.

We know not what we’d have the pages say,

what unwritten love song

but the hand which does not write us,

at all times we hold in a dream.

And the phrases that do not come,

in memory’s eye become ever dearer

and that hand which gave me light

as blossom upon my heart I hold.

And thus through the door crack,

we watch with unquenchable longing

for letters that were never sent

by a hand that did not write them.


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Birthday wishes

by

Radu Gyr

For your birthday

I don’t know what

To bring you as a gift.

Bruised upon my bones

My skin only do I have.

Since I have pulled in harness,

Since I have sighed in yoke,

All that was plenteous

Has melted away as snow.

The owls hoot,

the darkness deepens;

The nails on my hands

Grow long for retribution…

grow you,too,

My timid voice,

Grow as a djinn,

Grow as a great bird;

Gather in your flight

And bring to the assailant

The crying of orphans,

The suffocating voice of mothers

Drowned in tears, the mourning of the homeless.

Hate of the whole country

Rise up, now!

Master your curses,

Doom this day!

Curse it with fire and brimstone

For the savage beast

That is bore,

Over the horizon to rise

And with his horns

The world to overthrow.

O my mild voice,

Grow strong, little by little,

As a spring grows

In volume, increasing,

As down the mountains it falls.

Become a sickle;upon his brown

Bludgeon the beast!

O my voice, grow! From the forest swell

Out of the felled woods,

Out of the deserted villages,

Out of the dried-up oil-wells,

Grow out of golden grain

That is taken over the foreign roads,

Grow out of the ruins,

Sound from the depths of prison dungeons,

There where rots in chains

All that stands firm in the land

And is about to die…

Out of gaunt and livid beings

Arise, open eagle’s wings;

Soar over the foe –

Dirty bloodsuckers!

Fly over frontiers

Which have not yet been stolen,

Pass cities and villages

Where in the dead of night

Whispered Christian prayers

Can still be heard

Cross as best you can

The endless steppes

And the sad waters;

Over forests and towns

Look for and follow paths

Traced through mud.

Go far!

Fly as the genii in the legends

Until you come to

Imperial courts

Without royal faces,

Barbaric monasteries

Without altars,

Without God.

Rise, O myvoice,

Lift yourself

Upon wings of fire

In heavenly heat,

And fall back as a tunderbolt!

Blast the citadel

of the beast’s den!

Seed of his seed destroy!

In the land and in eternity,

A word of execration

Let his name be!

Let perish in the mold

All which he stole!

His dust and ashes

Let the earth swallow!

May my unbounded hate

Burn up Satan,

Ana’s* brother!

Thunder blast him!

In scum putrify him!

O heaven,

On his birthday,

Satan’s birthday –

Ana’s* brother –

What offering have you

Sent him, John Doe?

*Ana – Ana Pauker , born in Romania, lived in Russia , an intimate friend of Stalin, an all-powerful one in Romania until the postumous fall of Stalin.

 


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One comment on “Traced Through Mud

  1. Hi! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your blog posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that
    go over the same subjects? Thanks for your time!

    Like

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