Mircea Ivanescu





you mustn’t tell stories in poetry—i read
this advice to a young poet—so i won’t tell
how she’d awaken very early in the morning and, sitting up in bed,
wait to catch her breath, her face hidden in her hands—
i won’t say anything about her weary look
that made her shoulders droop before the mirror, when
slowly she combed her hair.  i won’t confess my fears
beside her estranged face, turned away from me.
i won’t walk anywhere with my lines in my hands as if holding a mirror
to reflect those mornings with their pale gray light
just before dawn. poetry mustn’t be representation,
a succession of images—so it’s written. poetry
must be inward speech.  thus, should i
be speaking again about her drowned face, her gasps
for breath?  but that would be only my way of speaking
about her face, about her freeze-frame movements fixed
between layers of turbid regret, of thoughts solely mine,
about her image—it would be only a mask, an image—
while she—her true self, what about that?


Translated from the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin with Lidia Vianu

Copyright © 2004 Mircea Ivanescu.  All Rights Reserved.


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