by Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889)
My life’s craft, heavy of thoughts,
Next to death’s rock, broke into bits.
Pound in it the waves of time and smash
And with it, in cycles they clash.
And I died in peace on a wild coast.
Above my head, the moon comes out,
Crossing slowly Sahara’s desert,
And lighting a world that is quiet.
At midnight, one can see the bare desert.
The dead people’s magnificent caravan is under it.
They get up dressed in long veils. They stroll
Being headed for a mirage, which is their goal.
Truthfully: the mysterious silence
It shows a palace full of radiance.
And from the first window to the last, light gets in.
Its curtains looked like they were soaked in sun.
Out of the long and distant desert, the dried skeletons,
Come in line. With hundreds of caravans,
Beneath the beaming moon, at that moment,
The desert was dead to the world.
A line of them passes by, next to me.
In front of it, a cold breath I could see.
In long lines creep quietly, and creep again.
I count one. I count more than ten...
A phantom dismounts his mare.
He aims towards me his rough stare.
With a sad and irritable skeletal face,
He reaches with his thin hand greedily.
But I do not have any strength to move at least,
Since, I was without strength and deceased.
My eyelids were shut over my eyes,
Though, through them I could see the moon’ rays.
And the ghost in his shroud, which is faded and smooth,
He gets his mouth closer to my ear
And he tells me his long tale, faintly and slowly,
It flows like a stream into my mind, ceaselessly.
“There in the palace, a witch resides.
And if a man who is alive sees her, he dies.
And to those dead, mysterious delight:
She grants them life for a brief night.
So, you too, come and mount a skeleton horse
To see her opal palace shining like lighting, of course.
You follow our procession to her garden.
It has vegetation from warm climates.
I give you my shroud, to put it on your face,
And hide your cold eyes.
So at her tyrannical sweet stare,
You won’t melt away somewhere.
I mount and I leave. “I’m a ghost from stories.
I am a ghost amongst the ghosts
I raise my hand and I can see through it.
The better part of a sheer ghost looks at me.
Slowly all of them came close at hand,
And they crept around.
Flowers grew in bunches. The witch’s garden grinned.
And it turned dew from tree branches into wet.
We all go up on marble stairs, amid rows of masts,
The dead look for their mates.
Some are young, like the dead love,
And others like the priests, white beards they have.
But all, all of them are people’s remains.
And are scattered among groups of Bedouins.
They’ve went for walk in a burning desert with no limit
They have stumbled upon a bitter and cruel end.
They talk softly… like in sleep…
Words sound-like dry leaves that the wind piles up.
Or like the enchanted swish of waters,
As the pale moon, rises higher above the forests.
The line splits in two. A happy ghost appears
She moves to the back. She has red poppy flowers
In her dark hair; and with her eyes closed,
She waves at me with her hand.
I follow her into the high ceiling halls, in a rush.
Out of basins, live springs are just about to gush.
And nymphs’ effigies are alongside the wall.
Fine carvings shaped by a skilful chisel.
Around glossy walls, and golden pilasters
Everywhere there are pots with flowers.
From which, here grow ethereal rich black roses,
And there grow blue flowers.
Blue long curtains hang in the windows
I fall unconscious because of a cool scent.
The door of a room slowly opens.
And my amazed eye could see new miracles.
A painter decked out the ceiling walls and handrails,
With wonderful houries, and with fairy tales;
And from silver perfume burners, placed on oak tables,
Scents cover with blue smoke, the shape of paintings.
And amid the blue curtains, out of sight
Cosily and stunningly on a sofa to the right hand-side,
Was miraculously seated the queen of fairy-tales
Lighting the world of my thoughts.
She sets pearls on her knees.
And she smiles like in dreams.
She lazily stretches her bare legs, snowy white,
On a beautiful and smooth Persian carpet;
Her penetrating eyes, like two Arabic tales,
Looked like Queen Sheba’s eyes.
They have their gaze of soft shade
How king Solomon had them portrayed.
Although my gaze kills the human beings,
She smiles at me with her half-closed eyes.
Dead man that you are! Look at me,
Until your soul opens its eye to see!
At your grave you are on the brink of death.
It isn’t fate’s will for you to breathe your last breath.
And while you are in my company,
Let death’s veil fall from your cold eye!
Then kneeling I said in my mind:
“Oh sweet apparition! Hold my head in your hand.
Take the sad and cold veil off my face,
As I feel the beat of my revived heart.”
And the grey haze drops off my eye.
And new wonders, my shy eye can see.
Witch you! Since you unwind in front of me,
And with a smile on your lips, you listen to my story.
Then, the ancient’s porches had vanished instantly.
Big rooms, full of light from torches, were around me.
Instead of dead people, there were living beings full of joy.
They yell with laughter. And Bacchanalia they enjoy.
Odd creatures you, through which earlier light could glow!
Where are you now?
Those thousands scattered on the desert, they breathe.
And no one fears his or her death.
When they would have death for eternity,
They wouldn’t be happy with such intensity
By the love, by the life and by the folly,
As they are in this death: which is so lively.
Here you see a blond and fleshy gal.
Slowly, she lets her clothes fall.
As if she would come out of a warm tub.
She smiles. And she hangs around in a group.
Here, a dark gal idly spreads out in the arm of a guy,
Who’s like a hyena; he’s thirsty for joy.
From under his eyelashes with a dark wild eye,
He stares at her with envy.
And a gal, she is almost feasting her eye with lust
On an older soldier, who shows to her a wild distrust.
She rotates her fine waxy fingers
—In his white whiskers.
A laugh, a cheerful yell, much confusion
All at once, yell and no one listen.
Madly, insults are tender words.
And care turns into insults.
All love each other, and they say it loudly.
All turn their lives into a party.
The crowd is also full of clowns,
Of loose women, and laughing masks.
Whispers are heard only from corners.
There the lover asks with a gentle noise.
While his lover, with her mouth thirsty of a kiss,
She tackles him. And both are headed for bliss.
What is this crowd? — I ask myself now…
Perhaps it went mad, or the plague sets the law,
If with laughter, with love with jokes, and drinking bouts,
They hide the death and its nasty wounds.
No, answered then Scheherazade.
You cannot see them, as you should.
Their life is death’s dream. Now on death, they prey.
And death shall prey on them the next day.
What do you find here? Thousands of generations
Proud countries, or long gone little known nations
And on their ashes live... Who? Those.
The crowd interred in rows.
Death and life, is a two-side leaf.
As, death is the spring of life.
And in the region of impenetrable haze;
The river that flows on: life is.
The naked woman, who is dipped into pillows,
She spreads her charm to the onlookers’ eyes.
Since she is like the eternal life’s chi,
You wouldn’t think that she would ever die.
Your love is life for the civilization.
Her love is life over and over again.
If her will and yours will team up,
Then a new soul is born, with its whole makeup.
Comments about this poem (Allegorical Rhymes by Peter Mamara )
People who read Peter Mamara also read
Top 500 Poems
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Still I Rise
Edgar Allan Poe
William Ernest Henley
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings