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.
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Read an Excerpt
Twilight of Thoughts
By Stefan Munteanu
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Monica Maria Grecu
All right reserved.
I have written
the way ...
... a peasant digs
... a woman gives birth
... an old man prays
I have written,
I have lost
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
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:
Who would have believed
that I owned the earth?!
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,
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,
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)
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,
somebody knocks outside
and we come back, dizzy,
to open the door for the neighbor;
a window in heaven's house was slammed
(because of a negligent, apprentice angel,
about what we were ready to say).
behind bars of books
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
Thrusts itself into the sky
firmly bound are
of the gates
to the Impossible Heights.
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)
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
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,
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