Twilight of Thoughts: Poetry and Graphics

Twilight of Thoughts: Poetry and Graphics

by Stefan Munteanu


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The book of poetry, which I have entitled: "Twilight of Thoughts" is a selection of Stefan Munteanu's poetry of the exile. It contains, so far, 122 poems which I have translated into English. I also have 99 illustrations, part of the graphic art of Stefan Munteanu. I want to represent the artist from the point of view of two arts he practiced and expressed himself through. His poetry expresses his deep feelings for his wife, family, native culture, life with all its challenges (behind the iron curtain), the uprooting, a self-exile from the Communist regime he wanted to escape, the travel across the world to find the dreams of his youth (the American West), and the slow descent into his kind of inner withdrawal due to the difficulties he encountered in trying to grow new roots in Los Angeles, California.

His artistic expression is unique, but his observations and feelings, though personal, speak to all. This collection of poems as well as his illustrations offer a special intellectual experience for both natives and immigrants in any part of the world. The book contributes to a better understanding of life on our planet where movement of people, coming together of cultures, values, ways of communication and essential contributions should never be ignored as they make the matter of our lives in a global world. Sensitivity to the beauty of life, the reflection of a meaningful passing through it, the making of dignified though painful decisions assist varied people in self-examination, in understanding and valuing each moment they have among fellow humans on earth, even if on such a journey some may pay the utmost price. The courage to say what you believe to be true, to allow your thoughts and actions to materialize in art that definitely enriches others' lives is a gift that has to be shared. That is why I spent three years in conscientious efforts to render in English the uniqueness of Stefan Munteanu's poetry.

I am sure that people who understand that literature is not just a companion to our lives but a translator of our sometimes inexpressible feelings will be happy to have this book. I am sure the academic world anywhere will savor it, the laborer who crossed the world for a free and dignified life will recognize and relive his/her own experience with every line, or will understand what happened behind the iron curtain and thus feel happier that he/she did not have to pass through it. Understanding each other and making room for different forms of art and expression is our hope for a peaceful, cooperative, progressive and unified society of the future.

I have big hopes for this book of translation, and look forward to making it the favored companion for many English readers. It is my joy to open this door of communication for the Anglophone speakers into the feelings and perceptions of a Romanian artist.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467041607
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 03/12/2012
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.59(d)

Read an Excerpt

Twilight of Thoughts

By Stefan Munteanu


Copyright © 2012 Monica Maria Grecu
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4670-4160-7

Chapter One



have written
    the way ...
    ... a peasant digs
    ... a woman gives birth
    ... an old man prays

    I have written,
    exactly as
    others breathe,

    I have lost
    the oxygen
    from my pen.

    I had to leave,
    in search of oxygen,

    in another world ...

    The Weird Sisters

    My weird sisters were snows
    White, blue, violet, some grayish—all ghostly transparent.
    In a rush they left their ice cold kiss on my forehead
    and thus marked, I treaded through life,
    hiding from the sun, from the sand, and hot waters,
    destined to love the blue lights of cold,
    the white drunkenness of the snowstorms
    and the immense crystal desert,
    where helpless houses fight with their electric stilettos.
    I met frozen glances set there by the snow weird sisters.
    I met castaways on the colorless oceans
    and I met dying armies under freezing daggers
    and very far, ghosts with stagnant blood.
    I could not give them but the warmth of my smile,
    that never freezes, not even when I force it
    to wave at starboard.
    I was on my way to find the princess, who
    was predestined to be mine far in the kingdom
    of the Emperor White, the one who dies once a
    year in a chlorophylian drunkenness;
    I knew that my smile's flame was just a
    migrating votive light through the
    white thickets of the Princess White's soul.


    With a gladius I tailored a slice of sky.
    I ploughed it over night,
    I sowed thoughts in it
    tiny ...
    With drops of ambrosia I watered it
    and through the fingers' sieve
    I passed the cosmic dust.

    In the morning, exhausted, I descended
    on asphalt paths,
    bought a tram ticket,
    like everyone else,
    and signed in somewhere:
    John Doe.

    Who would have believed
    that I owned the earth?!

    The Poetry

    Splintered lightning
    In the circulation of dwarfed planets,
    Through the continent of dreamy trees,
    Through the gardens of electric lianas,
    Through the halls with blinding mirrors,
    Through corridors pulverized with thoughts,
    Through the secret chambers of memory
    Where could take place
    The general rehearsal of the fire
    That will carbonize the landscape.

    The Violet Snows

    The air doors barely moved
    Letting her pass in her walk
    on the harpsichord,
    scattering prints on an undulate,
    page of tranquility ...
    She leaves you with the ice of a kiss
    That started to burn during the colorful travels
    and unseen, she departs to join her sisters,
    who live in the cells of a fairy tale.
    And as they were quadruples, you mixed them up
    and loosing your way through a veil,
    within which you were supposed to find the path
    to the orange cube, you miss
    the little concert of the woods.
    It so happened that the cotton carriage already passed by
    and you went in search of it, though its servants could built
    you in alive;
    you ran far away, there where
    the sky rivers pour themselves into an envelope,
    and you barely escaped the shipwreck
    among the ivory icebergs ...
    Restless, you often left in search for her
    with your sharpened ear to the movement
    of the air doors ...


    ... they get lost on the page;
    under them runs a field,
    with dimmed whispers,
    with sunken, fearful faces,
    nourished in silence
    with rains of pain.
    A wiped off tear,
    remains twisted
    into a smile. And seldom
    comes as a gift ...


    The linden tree in a strait jacket
    among asphalt snakes,
    the sky tilted on one side,
    to let the light run into the streets,
    and us, cut by glass, in incorrect copies;
    a merry man, drinking from foreign glasses
    hangs on to chairs,
    the grave men shook their heads;
    the linden tree shuddered,
    the sky closed up,
    The light froze,
    Silence kneeled,
    alone, the merry poet smiled
    winking to Eminescu Mihail.


    The window takes in the hill,
    a few palm trees,
    and a bite of the ocean ...

    but I still cannot reach
    the fantastic shore
    (the enchanted island,
    where lime trees grow caressed by electric poles)

    The window brings the hill back
    plugs in the lonely palm trees,
    fills in the ocean,

    it closes up

    and watches my pen ...
    (at its second suicidal attempt)

    City's Veins

    The passers-by's lamps are blinking tired,
    ashes fall over the hills,
    we stand at the gates of empty pages
    to enter the citadel of smoke,
    but ...
    somebody knocks outside
    and we come back, dizzy,
    to open the door for the neighbor;
    We start,
    a window in heaven's house was slammed
    (because of a negligent, apprentice angel,
    about what we were ready to say).


    The elders,
    behind bars of books
    whitewashed flowers;
    time measured in sound,
    a spirit, napping, in front of an open fire.
    a clew plaiting realities;
    suspension dots from a snowstorm
    under the sign of an infinite spiral;
    much too old ...


    In the streets, men lighted candles
    So that Jesus may pass, at night,
    From church through their clothes,
    Through their ribcages
    To exit through their lips, and go
    On the thin line between irises and the evening star.

    Policemen scratch their heads under their caps:

    "Let him go; lately, it's not forbidden,
    But he's not allowed to speak to anyone.
    He comes from abroad, has no passport
    And, generally, this mystical story is suspicious!"

    The pierced hands
    Have opened a door in the air,
    Through which, in drops, the gathered
    Words run, uttered by everybody in the streets.

    The leather clad people tell each other:

    "It is a demobilizing song,
    It could compromise Marxism!"

    Jesus went through hospitals, orphanages,
    Prisons, and behind him, appeared,
    In the dry eyes, distant oases.
    Very many activists, smartly dressed,
    Copied lists with those present
    At this dubious meeting.

    Jesus sent them a cablegram
    Written in stardust. They photographed it
    And took it to the Investigation Office.
    They called the specialists to translate it.

    It said: "Peace be with you!"
    They felt insulted in their profession
    Or principles.


    An arrow
    Thrusts itself into the sky
    pulling behind
    a box
    firmly bound are
    the keys
    of the gates
    to the Impossible Heights.


    The moment
    began during the afternoon hours
    I was present
    the boulevard, the mountains, a few clouds,
    a bench (where she sat down)
    the sky (neutral, but there, as always, in such circumstances),
    and the blades of grass (totally absent, unaware of what
    was going on).
    I greeted her, and then set down beside her;
    I kept silent for few hours
    (that were cramping themselves between the beginning and
    the end of the moment)
    In between,
    somebody else began a conversation
    and took her along with him.
    I was left only with the end of the moment,
    when she smiled at me.

    Nothing else happened for years,
    till she came to take it back.
    It was too late, though;
    I had collected piles of particles around
    and regardless of how much I looked for it
    it was impossible to find again
    the moment ...

    The Wooden Gate

    ... through which sap passes
    in the shape of a girl
    with delicate slender legs:
    it stopped to set the twigs
    of the nest where a poor fragile, grammar booklet
    was placed,
    losing the letters from its mouths.
    The sap ran, as a river
    through a bed of turned stones.
    It stopped somewhere,
    in the shape of a woman;
    she gathers twigs for a nest
    where she'll place a memory book.
    And maybe it'll grow huge,
    it will press hard
    and leaves will give in,
    allowing her to slide down.

    Where could the wooden gate be now?


    It was too late ...
    to pick up the phone, dial a number at random,
    to hear a silky voice
    (its rustle or tear at the beheading of sound)
    and on its cord to climb into the castle
    of a thousand pages,
    up to the epilogue,
    the place where I should meet her
    and then, watch
    the axe fall on the stump
    in the execution square
    so that only the leaves would be left around,
    bewitched by the wind.
    Then another number,
    another voice hidden into the tower,
    and escalations under the abundance of stars,
    till somebody
    knocked with two skeletal fingers
    at my forehead
    and calls me to sign in, my presence
    in the firemen's book, firemen
    sent to extinguish the juvenile fires.

    It is too late now
    to pick up the phone
    beyond the Ocean
    and beyond memories.


Excerpted from Twilight of Thoughts by Stefan Munteanu Copyright © 2012 by Monica Maria Grecu . Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


To Mioara Poems....................41
Political and Exile Poems....................133
Mother Country....................225

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