Monday, November 29, 2010

A poem by Nichita Stănescu in translation

"Stained Glass Window" is the English translation of the poem "Vitraliu" by Nichita Stănescu.

             Stained Glass Window

                                        by  Nichita Stanescu (1933-1983)

Your shadow, bumping into walls
breaks into colored shards again.
Oh, and this is why you’ve seen me in the street
picking up its squared stones.

To sew it back together inside the midnight hour
I’ll fold them gently over your window -
green, blue, yellow and red -
mounted on the helmet of  lead lines.

When you’ll awake, harlequins of colored glass
glued to panes, will filter the sun through their see-through skins,
and let it slide,
half-filled with rays, into your arms. 


Le poème "Vitraliu" (Vitrail) par Nichita Stănescu – traduit en français. 


                                       par   Nichita Stanescu (1933-1983)

Ton ombre, s’écrasant contre les murs
se gare de nouveau dans des petits tessons.
Oh, c’est la raison pour laquelle tu m’as vu
dans la rue ramassant des cailloux taillés en carreaux.

Je vais la refaire, tard dans la nuit
sur tes fenêtres, en les posant avec soin
verts, bleus, jaunes et rouges
en heaume, entre les grilles de plomb.

Quand tu te réveilleras, des arlequins en vitre colorié,
cloués aux hublots, vont filtrer à travers eux-mêmes
le soleil qui tombera dans tes bras,
à moitié plié, entre deux rayons.  


Translated by Irina© 2010


John Hayes said...

A beautiful poem in its own right!

Conrad DiDiodato said...


I'm divided between two interpretations of this remarkable poem, namely, as a celebration of new love (lover restored to his lover's arms) or lament for one's that been destroyed, reduced to an fleeing shadow. The "colored shards" image is very effective.

I can't read the original Romanian text but I can't help feeling you've captured that powerful, purposely ambivalent sense of "colored shards" on which the piece's lyrical beauty depends.There's something in this that reminds me of Miklós Radnóti

Thanks for introducing me to Nichita Stănescu.

Irina said...

Thank you John...Nichita Stanescu's poetry is a magical experience.

Irina said...

Conrad – what a wonderful insight!
You are right that the deliberate ambivalence of the poem is intriguing – a nagging question that makes us want to re-read it. I don’t know what the answer is… the poem’s mystery is impenetrable.

This poem is also supremely musical and the metaphor of the harlequins stages a surprising emotional roller coaster at the end.

Nichita Stănescu’s poetry was much admired in my youth. Interestingly enough, younger cohorts of readers (in their teens, twenties and thirties today) can’t seem to get enough of this poetry either.

There must be a reason for it.

Conrad DiDiodato said...


yes, the music of the piece is also capture in translation.

And am I surprised that the young are reviving Stănescu? Not at all. The young are the future of poetry: not the academics who complain in order to get tenure.
Poets must write for future readers.

Popular Posts