Five Poems from A Cry in the Snow by Stella Vinitchi Radulescu

Translated from the French by Luke Hankins.

 

adagio

 

a sound rises    a whiteness
from the region of the heart

autumn of slow breath      stiff
bones of light

the fires in the garden have died down
: cities of the past

sleeping cities

I was afraid of vowels      their paleness
beneath the moon

the nighthorses moving away

at a trot
no

it’s not a word not yet      this vapour
escaping the mouth


 

ghost of a day

 

come forward, then           black night’s feet
silver mouth

a statue also dies
ghost of a day
work of a sleeping god

your furtive lover’s gesture
caught in the web of the gaze          the spider

and its cross

celestial linens on the unmade bed

: light

that appears rumpled


 

children of the fog

 

children of the fog
dense fog of those eyes    gazes
intersecting
the paths of meteors

sons and daughters of the forbidden blue
years stained
black with forgetfulness

the dearest of my sisters    life
at the entrance to the garden
where grow blooming bodies and beatific moons

rose     rosemary


 

the earth begins

 

the earth begins one distant afternoon
with the breast’s
ochre colour
the transparent milk that flows and the mouth
that takes pleasure in it

with the memory of another land
which has just left us

the fear of losing             it the breast withdrawn
the milk dried up

look—the earth is beginning
today
and ends with me as I wait      you’d call it
a withered place

pinched between two fingers of silence


 

the earth begins (2)

 

the earth begins on the smooth page     taut belly
exposed to the knife

an incision makes the red flow     I touch the words
roll them hide them in my pockets

I erase their borders
I invent sleepful mornings

towards which dreams set out with slow steps like camels
and disappear

far away in the desert of the hours

 

 

Stella Vinitchi Radulescu was born in Romania and left the country permanently in 1983, at the height of the communist regime. She holds a Ph.D. in French Language & Literature and has taught French at Loyola University and Northwestern University. Writing poetry in three languages, she has published numerous books in the United States, France, Belgium, and Romania. Radulescu’s French books have received several awards, including the Grand Prix de Poésie Henri-Noël Villard, the Prix Amélie Murat, and the Grand Prix de la Francophonie.

 

Luke Hankins (b. 1984) attended the Indiana University M.F.A. in Creative Writing program, where he held the Yusef Komunyakaa Fellowship in Poetry. His first collection of poems, Weak Devotions, was published by Wipf & Stock Publishers in 2011. He is also the author of a collection of essays, The Work of Creation: Selected Prose (Wipf & Stock, 2016) and the editor of Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets (Wipf & Stock, 2012). His poems, essays, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous publications, including 32 Poems, American Literary Review, The Collagist, Image, Linebreak, New England Review, Pleiades, Poetry International, World Literature Today, and The Writer’s Chronicle, as well as on the American Public Media radio program “On Being.”

 

These poems are published by permission of Seagull BooksUn cri dans la neige by Stella Vinitchi Radulescu © Éditions du Cygne (Paris), 2009. Journal aux yeux fermés by Stella Vinitchi Radulescu. © Éditions du Gril (Belgium), 2010. English translation © Luke Hankins, 2018.

Published on March 4, 2019.

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