This mid-June Sunday brings a well-deserved morning sun, after a pretty frightening Saturday evening (for me, haha) of thunder and lightning. The sky today is baby-blue, with strokes of white in the shape of clouds. It’s still kind of silent on the street, but I can sense how it slowly wakes up. Windows opening wide, birds flying from one roof to another, voices of children waiting for their breakfast echoing around, carried by the soft wind. A time of peacefulness.
And here we are, on our second Sunday through our journey. It’s a beautiful day outside and I’m glad that I’ve seen a lot of people take time to reconnect with nature this weekend.
In this Sunday Poem second edition, we’re celebrating a great Romanian poet, Vasile Alecsandri (1821 – 1890), well-known for being a pioneer in writing pastels.
Pastels are not only a concept used in painting, but also a form of poetry in Romanian literature, that has started being acknowledged like this when V. Alecsandri started publishing his poems in a collection called “Pastels”, that spread around many years, from 1868 to 1879.
A pastel, from a literary point of view, is a lyrical poem, that describes scenery from nature, landscapes or natural phenomena. Mr. Alecsandri was mainly inspired by the rural landscape, presenting the bucolic life in the countryside, from a nature inspired perspective. His verses are still a point of reference in Romanian literature when it comes to the extraordinary relationship between the Poet and nature, between human senses and the gifts of nature, throughout every season.
I hope you find inspiration in these following verses and enjoy the read.
A merciless young rascal is the Wind. His chief delight
Is to worry ships at sea with savage storms by day and night,
Like a dog-wolf harrying sheep, he chases clouds and scatters showers,
Lays the stately oak-trees low, and snaps the stems of fragile flowers.
A brand he whirls aloft and drops among the farmer’s gear,
Chuckling to see the flames consume the produce of a year ;
Then swoops down on a group of girls — deranges all their dresses,
Tears off their silken ‘kerchiefs, and their snowy necks caresses.
In all four quarters of the globe he blusters and he raves,
Upsetting, pagan-like, the crosses set o’er Christian graves; —
Pursued by curses of the dead, through brake and bush he tries
To dash, all reckless of the thorns that tear him as he flies.
His abode is in the forest. There arrived, his mother dear
Bathes his hurts in milk, and chides him, shedding many a bitter tear,
“Weep no more, my mammy sweet,” he cries, ” I know that I have sinned —
But when I kiss their pretty eyes, the girls all love the wind ! “
(This poem was translated by William Beatty-Kingston)
Here is the original Romanian version:
Vântul e copil zburdalnic, fără milă, nici mustrare,
Care împinge-n rea furtună toate vasele pe mare,
Şi, ca lupul după turme, se alungă după nori,
Şi doboară stejari falnici şi desfoaie blânde flori.
Vântul fură o scânteie şi-n girezi el o aruncă,
Privind cum se pierde rodul unui an întreg de muncă,
Apoi merge la copile ce culeg laur de in
Şi râzând le despleteşte, dezmierzând albul lor sân.
În tuspatru părţi a lumii turbat vântul se tot duce,
Ca păgânul pe mormânturi răsunând creştina cruce,
Şi de-a morilor blesteme alungat, fuge nebun
Printre tufe înţepătoare şi nuiele de alun.
Iar când el se-ntoarce în codri, mama lui ce-l tot boceşte
Zile-ntregi îl scaldă-n lapte şi de răni îl lecuieşte…
– „Nu mai plânge, măiculiţă! zice el, aşa cum sânt,
Când sărut ochii lor veseli, se dau fetele în vânt!”
See you next Sunday, beautiful souls.