FROM “CLOCK WITHOUT HOURS” (2016)

by Ana Blandiana

White on White

I write in white on white

Though I know nobody

Can read it,

Not even myself,

When I’ve forgotten what I wrote.

Good is always

Hard to understand –

It’s easier to accept a blunder

Up in heaven

Than a noble human sacrifice.

I insist on writing

In white on white

Even if they tell me

To use bright

Letters at least,

When I sketch out olive boughs

Or boring

Good deeds.

However,

Here and now

I’ve just one color that contains

All the rest and I

Write in white on white

In vain.

Times

Before the past

Was the past perfect

And before

The past perfect

Was another past that                        

Had no start                            

But was lived by heart.

After the future

The future perfect comes

And after that, the threat

Of another future yet

Which, out of fear,

No one dares to imagine,

As though they believed

It could really be.

Only this moment,

In which you fall away

Eroded by each second,

Exists in this urgent now

With a present to come,

Inside of which hides

The abyss of another present time

Somewhere beyond today.

Nostalgia for Paradise

Evil, like a seed of the world,

Hidden inside a fruit

In the hermetic gardens

Of paradise,

Continues even now

To clone as in a trance

Infinite forests of trees

Of Good and Evil

As though

It couldn’t cease

To be amazed

By so many mindless victories,

While it arrogantly offers,

In every piece of fruit,

Another chance for its own defeat,

Which it overcomes

Each and every time.

And So on and So on

I only dream about myself.

Though I’m several other characters

Who terrify each other,

I know that I am always I,

Always willing to dream of this same self.

And even if I wake up

I know it’s only a dream

Of waking up

And I can hardly wait to dream that I’m asleep

To be able to dream that I’m dreaming.

How marvelous it is, this game of being myself!

A game without an end!

Because the end

Will also be something I dream and              

So on and so on and so on . . .

Pause in Writing

Great pauses in writing,

Like some bizarre lull

Interrupted from time to time

By intense peals of laughter

Of a crying beast,

Unarticulated sounds

My human ear

Can find no

Meanings for

And it doesn’t know if it’s deaf         

Or if the voice dictating before

Refuses to speak any more

And it feels that the howl in the wild

Is the only expression there is,

Which

I don’t know how

To write down.

Heretic

Heretic,

That is, prefers to truth

His much more wavering

Vain and human traits,

He doesn’t even pay a greater

Praise to gods

Than the amazing

Similarity

With ourselves.

My soul of the hereafter

Has always been that way:

Much more frightened of eternity

Than of death.

From Mirrors

Do not replace me,

Don’t put somebody else

In my place,

Someone you consider to be me

And you permit

In vain

To wear my words.

Have mercy on my words

If you have no mercy on me,

Don’t make me disappear

In the face of a stranger

Who shamelessly bears

My name

Without even trying to be who I am

As though

She never had known me.

Don’t make believe

That I am I, but changed,

Don’t humiliate me by

Erasing me from mirrors

And leaving me only in photographs.

Translated from Romanian by Paul Scott Derrick and Viorica Patea