Nichita Stănescu – The Poet

Today is his birthday. He would have been 85 years old.

Nichita, The Poet, loved.

He walked on the path of transcendence – words transcending the words.

“Wheel with a Single Spoke and Other Poems” – translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter
Archipelago Books, 2012

From a review of the book “Wheel with a Single Spoke and Other Poems” by Andrew Seguin:

“This excerpt from the early poem “In Praise of People” displays Stănescu’s efforts at considering perspectives beyond human consciousness, which he pursues in many poems. It also offers a hint of his worldview. People, like stones, birds and air, are one of the universe’s many elements. Each is interchangeable and considers the other on its own terms. Yet Stănescu still celebrates people for what sets them apart: the imagination. It is what allows him to envision the paradox of “wings ingrown” that retain their airy functionality, driving his consciousness to transcend its limitations. Cotter’s choice of “ingrown” here is remarkable—not only does it chime with “wings,” but it heightens the action of the image: a word so often associated in English with toenails instead evokes flight.

From the point of view of stones,
the sun is a falling stone,
people are a tender pressure . . .
They are motion added to motion
and light you can see, from the sun.

From the point of view of air,
the sun is air full of birds,
wing beating on wing.
People are birds never before seen,
with wings ingrown
that beat, hover, glide,
within an air more pure: thought.

From “A Few General Statements on Speed”:

The speed of existence of a stone
is slower than the speed of existence
of a horse.

But the stone sees the sun and stars
while the horse sees the fields and grass.

To those made of flesh and bone
I say:
You only see what surrounds you.
Ideas are a kind of stone,
so contemplate.

To those made of wood and other durable materials
I say:
Shatter!
Rot!
If you have seen the whole,
fill yourselves with flesh
so you may see the part.

nichita_stanescu1

Image source: https://yorick.ro/cantec-de-primavara-de-nichita-stanescu/

 

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