Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Marin Sorescu: "Descent"

When you are ill you weigh more.
Your head sinks into the pillow,
Your bed curves in the middle,
Your body drops like a meteorite.
“He’s so heavy,” say the relatives,
They turn you on the other side
And nod meaningfully. “He weighs like the dead.”

The earth feels its prey
And concentrates upon you
Its colossal force of attraction.
The iron in you hungers to go down.
The gold in you hungers to go down.
The gravitation of the whole world has its eyes on you
And pulls you down with unseen ropes…

You look like the bell the peasants
Take down before their exodus, burying it very deep,
Marvelling at the sight of the bell digging its grave,
Eagerly biting the dust.

You are all lead
And unto yourself
You have become exceedingly all-important,
Surrounded by endless mystery.

"Descent" by Marin Sorescu, from Hands Behind My Back: Selected Poems.  Translated from the Romanian by Gabriela Dragnea, Stuart Friebert and Adriana Varga. © Oberlin College Press, 1991.

Art credit: Detail of "Imprint from George's Head on His Pillow," by Tim Marlow (originally color).

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