June 27, 2012

Testament, by Tudor Arghezi

45 years after his death, Tudor Arghezi poetic manifesto "Testament" remains relevant to Romanian Poetry (of course, is my opinion) .

Tudor Arghezi (21 May 1880 — 14 July 1967) was an important figure of Romanian literature and poetry of the 20th century, his real name being Ion N. Theodorescu.

He was elected a Member of the Romanian Academy in 1955 and he received the "Herder Prize" in 1965 (prize dedicated to recognition of scientific, art and literature contribution of people from Central and Southeastern Europe)

Tudor Arghezi - Cuvinte Potrivite CD - Carte
Tudor Arghezi - Cuvinte Potrivite CD - Carte
"One's who thinks himself and pokes the light/ Cel ce gandeste singur si scormone lumina (one of his poems)" works are abundant of powerful and shocking expressions, primitive words and unusual Romanian language patterns. My teacher's (from college) favorite expression was "Arghezi's Opera was revolutionary for its era, with connections between the growth and the decay of Romanian language, promoting and reestablishing the aesthetic of grotesque".

Over the years, I was impressed by his works published in  "Fitting Words/ Cuvinte Potrivite", "Flowers of Mildew/ Flori de Mucigai" "The Black Gate/ Poarta Neagra" "1907- Landscapes / Peisaje", "Leaves / Frunze" or "Weeds/ Buruieni".

"Man and Man / Om cu Om" can share knowledge, so it is a great pleasure to share its verses with English readers, too.

 " Testament (Wisdom Poem)"

I will bestow to you, after my death,
Only a name inscribed on a book,
In the rebellious evening which descends
From my ancestors, 
Through creeks and deep ravines
Climbed by my forefathers on their hands and feet
Challenges which await you, young follower of them,
My book is a bridge ladder across to you, my son.

Nourish and cherish this landmark,
It is the first charter you have had,
From slaves with sheep's fur coats
betrayed by bones spilled into my soul. 

That we could change now, for the first time,
The spud into a pen, and the furrow into an inkpot,
The ancestors gathered, among oxens,
The sudor of hundreds years of work.
Out of their language with cattle callings 
I was weaving fitting words
And the cradle for youth masters.
And they were kneaded for thousands of weeks,
Until I've turned them into verses and icons
From rags I've made rosebuds and wreaths of flowers
The spilled venom I've turned to honey
Letting its strength flow into my thoughts.
I've taken the shame and purring slightly
I've made it to invite or to swear injuries.
I've taken the ashes of the people dead 
And I've turned it into a God of stone,
High boundary, with two worlds at the edges
Guarding over the summit of your duty. 
Our dull and bitter ache
I've piled it on a violin
Whose sound heard by the master
Made him dance like a stumbling goat.

Out of wounds, mildews and slinging mud
I've raised new and priceless beauties.
The whip endured is returning as words
And is redeeming slowly and punitive
The heritage of everyone's misdeeds.
It is the branch which growing upwards
The obscure darkness of the forest,
Bearing on top, warts and all,
The fruit of pain and sorrow from our past.

Lying down slowly across the sofabed
The princess is suffering into my deed.
Letters of fire and letters forged ahead
Are paired together into my book
Like an assembly of soldering iron and pliers.
The Slave has written, the Lord is reading
Without knowing that I have dug
Into the feelings buried beneath my ancestors' anger.

 Tudor Arghezi postal stamp , timbru postal
Tudor Arghezi - courtesy of wikipedia

Nu-ti voi lasa drept bunuri, dupa moarte,
Decat un nume adunat pe o carte,
In seara razvratita care vine
De la strabunii mei pana la tine,
Prin rapi si gropi adanci
Suite de batranii mei pe branci
Si care, tanar, sa le urci te-asteapta
Cartea mea-i, fiule, o treapta.

Aseaz-o cu credinta capatai.
Ea e hrisovul vostru cel dintai.
Al robilor cu saricile, pline
De osemintele varsate-n mine.

Ca sa schimbam, acum, intaia oara
Sapa-n condei si brazda-n calimara
Batranii au adunat, printre plavani,
Sudoarea muncii sutelor de ani.
Din graiul lor cu-ndemnuri pentru vite
Eu am ivit cuvinte potrivite
Si leagane urmasilor stapani.
Si, framantate mii de saptamani
Le-am prefecut in versuri si-n icoane,
Facui din zdrente muguri si coroane.
Veninul strans l-am preschimbat in miere,
Lasand intreaga dulcea lui putere
Am luat ocara, si torcand usure
Am pus-o cand sa-mbie, cand sa-njure.
Am luat cenusa mortilor din vatra
Si am facut-o Dumnezeu de piatra,
Hotar inalt, cu doua lumi pe poale,
Pazind in piscul datoriei tale.

Durerea noastra surda si amara
O gramadii pe-o singura vioara,
Pe care ascultand-o, a jucat
Stapanul, ca un tap injunghiat.
Din bube, mucegaiuri si noroi
Iscat-am frumuseti si preturi noi.
Biciul rabdat se-ntoarce in cuvinte
Si izbaveste-ncet pedepsitor
Odrasla vie-a crimei tuturor.
E-ndreptatirea ramurei obscure
Iesita la lumina din padure
Si dand in varf, ca un ciorchin de negi
Rodul durerii de vecii întregi.

Intinsa lenesa pe canapea,
Domnita sufera in cartea mea.
Slova de foc si slova faurita
Imparechiate-n carte se marita,
Ca fierul cald imbratisat in cleste.
Robul a scris-o, Domnul o citeste,
Far-a cunoaste ca-n adancul ei
Zace mania bunilor mei.


Stefan Bolea said...

Cine a tradus poezia "Testament"? Vreau sa mentionez traducatorul intr-un articol.

Gabs said...

Traducerea aceasta nu este de buna calitate.. Greoi de înțeles si contine erori gramaticale si stilistice