Magda Isanos - Poetry
From the chest smelling of aroma and must
Grandma took a dress she wore when young
It is so thin and itís as light as dust,
As if out of nothing it had sprung.
So sadly rustles the dress of silk white,
Its ruffles unweave like misty lace,
And delicate figures, in a shower of light,
Like in old times, are waltzing with grace.
She sees again her very first ball,
She recognizes her maiden dress,
Touching the cold silk she trembles all,
Filled with sadness by its soft caress.
More and more, she bends her tired brow,
So bent is grandma in her old shawlÖ
The beautiful dancer, where is she now
To glide again in her dress at the ball ?
Her feet, delicate and small,
Her clear eyes, and her smile bright,
How come they are dead, all,
In her bent body, where is her light?
And then I heard the dead silk answering,
Or maybe it was grandma in her old shawl;
No, they arenít dead, they keep on dancing,
Always in other dresses, at the first ball.
AT THE EDGE OF THE GRAVEYARD
At the edge of the graveyard,
Next to grandfather, thereís a place for me
To forget all when the winter is hard,
When the nights are long to keep him company.
Inside the warm earth Iíd feel so fine
And my body Iíd turn to grass
To feed poor cattle as they pass,
That mercy for me they will pine
On judgment day. Iíll no more know
What I was and scattered in my new state
Even your memory will slowly goÖ
Blinded, my decaying eyes abate
With eternity, Iíll rest content.
By blooming dandelions Iíll be anointed,
Iíll neither rejoice, nor will I lament
That the earth is black above my head.
But rain will slowly permeate Ė
And wash from my bones the sins within Ė
And like hidden roots, anticipate,
Iíll forsee beautiful days again
and Iíll grow into a flower bright,
the image of my former youth so fair,
to be blown by wind and burned by sunlight,
hoping to be pinned in a young girlís hair.
And the mother of God came. (A blue so fair
Was her gown as in the icon .)
She took from the table a cup and moved on
To our left side and gave a drink to a soldier there.
Then a seat further down she took
With her head slightly bent.
Surrounded by a halo, as in a book,
She sat thoughtfully, intent.
I donít know who said to me
ďítis but a dream you seeÖĒ
The angels arrived late in the night.
They sat watching in a row,
Leaing on spears with golden ponts so bright.
Their thick wings suffocated us so .
ďDid your angel come ?Ē sometimes Iíd ask.
Then suddenly I saw it shinning,
At the legs of the bed, to the ceiling
In light of its wings the room did bask.
They didnít sparkle:their sapphire shrouds,
Old soldiers and peaceful crowds.
They were flying when morning came,
Leaving a blue stripe on the window pane.
DEAR GOD, IíVE NOT FINISHED YET !
Dear God, Iíve not finished yet
The song you sang me when we met.
Donít send me angels of fire and ice
Every evening, sometimes twice.
I cannot leave. The trees wishper to me so;
The flowers stand in my way and wonít let me go.
About this Iíve started a song these days,
A poem of naive wonder and praise.
I wanted to leave for people my spirit
As bread at a wayside when they stop for a minute,
To be their pasture, orchard, and sky.
For all those with whom I have no tie
And donít know me, I desire
To be a votive light, pure fire.
I searched in the grass and clover
For secrets hidden from all. Moreover
I was looking in the well, the pond, and seas,
And I was listening Ė endlessly Ė under the fir treesÖ
Then the angels came and called me.
Dear God, I canít leave, Iíve not finished,yet! Canít you see?
Open the cage and put to fly free
My impatient songs.
I HAVE TO LEAVE THIS NIGHT
I have to leave this night
Or tomorrow. An angel so very bright
Will come to my bed and say
Get up, donít delay.
Dear angel, leave me in this world
Furl your windy wings
And look ! :
Everything is in blossom and growing.
Let me cast my shadow around,
On waving waters, on the ground,
to pick up flowers and make a wreathÖ
See !, I donít ask for many miracles.
Take a branch and turn it into a woman,
Bring her before your God to stay;
she will answer innocently
about my whole life.
MY CHILD, DONíT LOOK FOR ME
My child, donít look for me !
Everything will tell you about me.
After Iíll no longer be,
Donít say: ď for my mother, itís too late ď
You should know Iíll be laughing in flowers
And many times Iíll surround
together with clouds and rain, the yard
where I spent my afternoon days.
If you are in pain, call me in the evenings,
And Iíll come near your heart,
Even if I must sail through the sky
And sea with my wings.
Donít be afraid of my changed face
Donít say: ďMother never looked like this!Ē
Youíll recognize the voice of my stories
in the trees in front of the windows.
From many signs youíll understand itís me
When I come near your bed
And make the air cool,
Bringing down all the stairs,
You will know itís mother by the peace Iíll bring to you
And by the way everything keeps silent-
If you are in pain or worry for tomorrow-
You will recognize me
By the smell of fruits and bread.
You will recognize me and smile in your sleep.
I, when seeing the sun rise
Dread of becoming dew and die
Iíll take my angels and fly.
I want, my soul, to get rid of you
and live a life like trees in valleys
with flowers instead of your thoughts,
a life without evil or good.
Far away in a mountain forest
when all the birds will have a funí
to wake up with the sun on my face
and the skyís tears on my cheeks
and rainís loose hair to wash away
my dusty ancient grief,
out of which I tore my roots
and the nights to give me star ear-rings.
The staring full moon I want to hang
upon the branch like a nest.
To fill myself of rays and vitality
for I to ever grow above the other.
Then I Ďll make strong strings
out of my branches and I shall play
just for the joy that I exist;
and the forest will gather around me.
Translations by MARIANA POPESCU