Death Of The Deer [author: Nicolae Labiş; Translation: Octavian Cocos] Poem by Octavian Cocos

Death Of The Deer [author: Nicolae Labiş; Translation: Octavian Cocos]

The drought has destroyed everything, all around.
The sun has now melted and flown on the ground.
All that's left is the bare sky, which burns really hot.
From the wells, all the buckets draw black mud a lot.
And above the pale forests rise often bright flames,
Dancing wildly and playing satanic dark games.

I follow my father uphill through the scrub
I'm scratched by the fir trees, my body they rub.
We start our hunting of goats once again
On the mounts of our dearest Carpathian chain.
The thirst is oppressing. I see when I walk
How boil water droplets somewhere on a rock.
With head on my shoulder I seem to advance
On a huge, foreign planet, where I've fallen by chance.

We're waiting in silence, not far from a spring
Its waters are tinkling, we clearly can hear.
When the sun goes to sleep and moon climbs on a string
Then will come one by one
To drink water, the deer.

I'm thirsty, but my father is stopping me to cry
Intoxicating water, you're tossing, then you pause!
Thirst links me with the being that is about to die,
Despite the ancient customs and the laws.

A withered rustling stirs the peaceful vale
The evening in the universe expands
Blood smears the dark horizon, I barely can inhale
And on my chest I've wiped my bloody hands.

Ferns burn like on an altar, it's sublime,
And all the stars are blinking in the breeze,
Oh, how I wish you didn't come this time
You, charming victim from among the trees!

She comes out jumping, stops, ready to fly,
And looks around, there's no one on the grass,
Then her thin nostrils on the water lie
Making small ripples, which seem made of brass.

In her wet eyes a light is gleaming, pale,
She'll die and she will suffer; yes, I know,
I think I'm living in that fairy tale
With a sweet lady turned into a doe.
The moonlight now is starting to expand
It rains on her with cherry blossoms, white,
Oh, how I wish for once my father's hand
To miss the target in this summer night!

But the deep vales have rumbled and fallen on her knees,
She lifts her head astonished towards the stars that shine
Then plunges back; the waters begin to move with ease
And beads roll on the surface - black, transient and fine.
A blue bird in a hurry comes out of a big tree,
The life of the poor deer has quickly gone away
Like migratory birds, which when the autumn comes
Leave their beloved nests deserted, sad and gray.
Stumbling over the stones I go to close her eyes,
Which by the horns are guarded and they have lost their heat
I shudder and turn white when father comes around
And laughs and he is happy and says: - Now we have meat!

I'm thirsty and my father is waving me to drink.
Intoxicating water, you're tossing, then you pause!
I feel connected to the being who can't blink,
Because she died despite the customs and the laws...
But all the laws are useless and we cannot comply
When life in us is feeble, when we may even die.
And customs and the mercy we've left them in the past,
Because my sis is hungry, and sick, and breathes her last.

I gaze my father's rifle and smoke is coming out
There is no wind, however, the leaves dance in the drought!
Dad lights a fire quickly and I can see his smile,
The woods have changed so much in a short while!
I'm not aware, my hand has snatched with ease
A bell-flower, which tinkles in the breeze...
Then dad takes off a stick like a short spear
The kidneys and the heart of the poor dear.

What? I am very hungry! I'd like to live, but, Oh...
Forgive me, please, my lady - my fair and charming doe!
I'm sleepy. Woods are gloomy, the fire gives us heat!
I cry. What thinks my father? I eat and cry. I eat!

Nicolae Labiş is a Romanian poet
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