Marin Sorescu Poems

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My cat washes
with her left paw,
there will be another war.

The Sacred Flame

Throw a few more logs
on to the sun,
in a few billion years,
they say, it will
go out.


The chicken I bought last night,
Returned to life,
Laid the biggest egg in the world,
And was awarded the Nobel Prize.

The phenomenal egg
Was passed from hand to hand,
In a few weeks had gone all round the earth,
And round the sun
In 365 days.

The hen received who knows how much hard currency,
Assessed in buckets of grain
Which she couldn't manage to eat

Because she was invited everywhere,
Gave lectures, granted interviews,
Was photographed.

Very often reporters insisted
That I too should pose
Beside her.
And so, having served art
Throughout my life,
All of a sudden I've attained to fame
As a poultry breeder.

Fountains in the sea

Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough.
Cunning life keeps asking for more and then a drop more.
Our ankles are weighted with lead, we delve under the wave.
We bend to our spades, we survive the force of the gusher.

Our bodies fountain with sweat in the deeps of the sea,
Our forehead aches and holds like a sunken prow.
We are out of breath, divining the heart of the geyser,
Constellations are bobbing like corks above on the swell.

Earth is a waterwheel, the buckets go up and go down,
But to keep the whole aqueous architecture standing its ground
We must make a ring with our bodies and dance out a round
On the dreamt eye of water, the dreamt eye of water, the dreamt eye of water.

Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough.
Come rain, come thunder, come deluged dams washed away,
Our thirst is unquenchable. A cloud in the water's a siren.
We become two shades, deliquescent, drowning in song.

My love, under the tall sky of hope
Our love and our love alone
Keeps dowsing for water.
Sinking the well of each other, digging together.
Each one the other's phantom limb in the sea.

Getting Used to Your Name

After you've learned to walk,
Tell one thing from another,
Your first care as a child
Is to get used to your name.
What is it?
They keep asking you.
You hesitate, stammer,
And when you start to give a fluent answer
Your name's no longer a problem.

When you start to forget your name,
It's very serious.
But don't despair,
An interval will set in.

And soon after your death,
When the mist rises from your eyes,
And you begin to find your way
In the everlasting darkness,
Your first care (long forgotten,
Long since buried with you)
Is to get used to your name.
You're called — just as arbitrarily —
Dandelion, cowslip, cornel,
Blackbird, chaffinch, turtle dove,
Costmary, zephyr — or all these together.
And when you nod, to show you've got it,
Everything's all right:
The earth, almost round, may spin
Like a top among stars.


All the museums are afraid of me,
Because each time I spend a whole day
In front of a painting
The next day they announce
The painting's disappeared.

Every night I'm caught stealing
In another part of the world,
But I don't even care
About the bullets hissing toward my ear,
And the police dogs who are onto
The smell of my tracks,
Better than lovers who know
The perfume of their mistress.

I talk to the canvases that put my life in danger,
Hang them from clouds and trees,
Step back for some perspective.
You can easily engage the Italian masters in conversation.

What noise of colors!
And hence I'm caught
Very quickly with them,
Seen and heard from a distance
As if I had a parrot in my arms.

The hardest to steal is Rembrandt:
Stretch a hand out, there's darkness —
The terror seizes you, his men don't have bodies,
Just closed eyes in dark cellars.

Van Gogh's canvases are insane,
They whirl and roll their heads,
And you have to hold on tight
With both hands,
They're sucked by a force from the moon.

I don't know why, Breughel makes me want to cry.
He wasn't any older than me,
But they called him the old man
Because he knew it all when he died.

I try to learn from him too
But can't stop my tears
From flowing over the gold frames
When I run off with The Four Seasons under my armpits.

As I was saying, every night
I steal one painting
With enviable dexterity.
But the road's very long

So I'm caught in the end
And get home late at night
Tired and torn to shreds by dogs
Holding a cheap imitation in my hands.

Pure Conversation with a Chinese Character

I'm trying to spell out a state of amazement,
A sweet dilation, the sway of spirit,
That only finds room in your shape.
They say that
Transposed in our alphabet
A Chinese sentence can turn into
A series of one and the same conjunction.
For instance: "And and. And and and. And and and and."
This is a genuine transcription of the beautiful poem
"The Dance of the Yangtze River Valley
And the Yangtze River."

Well, how many miracles, how many Chinese miracles,
Have I missed this time?
Too shrunk within the heart of Europe,
Stuck to Greek reason,
Spoiled by syllogism,
And born too late for the Far East!

No one gave me a silk scroll as a present
At the time of the Han dynasty,
Much less during the coming ones.
My feet didn't develop corns on the silk road,
My shadow didn't pass on the winding way
To take the desert oases in its arms.
I never wrapped my shoulders
In the wavy mantle of the Yellow River.

In 120 B.C.
I didn't show myself — idiot! —
At the Music Chamber.
What melodies I could have heard!
My ear, a shell devoid of the sea's roar,
Missed the treasure of sounds
Invading north to south.
Would I have still remained
With so many uncertainties?

I was late to the contest of impromptu poems
And didn't make libations to the Muse
Along with Wang Xizhi.
I wish I'd seen how they spelled
"The literary spirit and the dragon engravings."
Humble observer, hidden in a fold of time,
I wish I could participate unseen
In the painting of the world's first landscape.
It would have included me no doubt
As an accident on the horizon,
A leaf on the sky's water.
I wish I'd been a judge when the names were checked
Or, lazily lying in the Doctrine of the Great Vehicle,
I wish I'd wandered beyond nature's limits,
And been struck by the sensation of a universal vacuum.

I wonder if
The five rice measures
Would have finally revealed
The vital principle.

Can't you say anything,
Beautifully written character?
The Great Wall fits into you
Like the moon in a cacoon.
Open the silk door a moment
And let this state of amazement in —
Include this lotus flower
In your closed-circuit breath.

Why are you so silent,
When you used to tell me about all these things?


Oh you saints,
Let me enter your society,
If only as a statistician.

You're old,
Perhaps the years are
Getting you down by now,
Laying themselves over you
In layers of color.

Just let me take care
Of your dirty work in
All the nooks and crannies.

For example I could
Swallow light
At the Last Supper
And exhale your halos
After the devotionals.

From time to time,
At a distance of half a wall,
I could
Form my hands into a horn
And shout,
Now for the believers,
Now for the unbelievers
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Perpetuum Mobile

Between people's
and their realization
there is always
a greater drop
than in the highest
of waterfalls.

This potential gradient
can be exploited
if we build a sort of
power station above it.

The energy it supplies,
even if we use it only
to light our cigarettes,
is something
for while one is smoking
one can very seriously
think up
ideals even crazier.

The Sea Shell

I have hidden inside a sea shell
but forgotten in which.

Now daily I dive,
filtering the sea through my fingers,
to find myself.
Sometimes I think
a giant fish has swallowed me.
Looking for it everywhere I want to make sure
it will get me completely.

The sea-bed attracts me, and
I'm repelled by millions
of sea shells that all look alike.
Help, I am one of them.
If only I knew, which.

How often I've gone straight up
to one of them, saying: That's me.
Only, when I prised it open
it was empty.