-astropoem by Zigmund Tauberg
text, photos and English translations by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
design by Florin Alexandru Stancu-

In 21 March 2013,
on the International Poetry Day,
I had the chance to catch an extraordinary image with
Maria Labis, Zigmund Tauberg and Mihail Gramescu,
during the meeting of a literary circle in Bucharest.

Maria Labis just recited, as no one, the masterpiece of his illustrious brother
Nicolae Labis (1935-1956),
The Dead of the Deer,
which begins with an astral sequence:

Drought killed any waft of wind,
The sun melted and flowed on Earth.

Mihail Gramescu was probably the most interesting (and poetic) Romanian sf writer
after the death of Vladimir Colin (1921-1981).
Unfortunately, he died in 2014 when he was only 63…
Since in 2013 he edited a collective anthology of Romanian fantastic poetry
(Cerul de Jos / The Lower Sky, Virtualia Publishing House, Bucharest),
I chose from it the stanza below (my translation),
from Mihai Gramescu’s poem entitled just The Lower Sky:

The White Star stretches elongations in the void,
A complicated network of solar winds -
Limbs and vaults with avid arms of plasma
Filling the universe with brightness.

Zigmund Tauberg (born in 1927) is
the oldest international master of astropoetry in work.
He was a teacher of mathematics and popularizer of astronomy till 1990s.
After his retirement,
he founded one of the most respected Bucharestian literary circles in the 2000s
and became a pillar of the astropoetry / cosmopoetry movement
of the Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy (SARM),
and even a national laureate for astropoetry a few years ago.

In 8 June 2014 I visited Zigmund Tauberg,
who wanted to give me his last book of poems,
in which astropoetry was finely represented.
So I went to his district, Dristor, built in the interbellic time.

The jewel of this district is a church with external paintings,
named after Saint Fanurie (an old Geek saint),
which was founded in the 1940s.
It was a pleasure for me to admire it,
with its paintings representing saints among the stars
(culminating with Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Paraskeva)
under the light of the sunset and the appearance of the Moon.
Over the entrance,
a special painting really amazed me for its astral symbolism:
the Sun, a few stars, and the Earth supported by 3 Olympic circles…

Inside the church,
other astral representations…

And a last external look…

Then, armed with both elements (real sky and human reflections),
I dared to meet Zigmund Tauberg,
who was eager to show me his Universe.

And he began with a new mathematical astropoem…

-by Zigmund Tauberg
(English translation by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe)-

I explain you, here, my problem,
and perhaps you will understand my dilemma.

Even if things have a given measure,
it is known that their shadow depends on the Sun.
On the way in which the sunbeam is inclined,
the shadow may be littler or greater.

But my case is inverse,
functionally I am little or great,
but my shadow never changes
its length.

If the tangent is a beam of light which,
more or less, inclines,
my shadow measures a unity
which is… fix.

So finally I greet you,
exp (x).

(ZT Note:
This is about the geometrical propriety of the fact that the derivate
of the function (exp) x is also (exp) x
and in any point the subtangent (metaphorically named “shadow”)
has always the value 1.)


Epistolă Funcţională
-de Zigmund Tauberg-

Supun atenţiei voastre, aici, a mea problemă
Şi poate veţi pricepe, acum, a mea dilemă.

Chiar dacă lucrurile au o măsură dată,
Se ştie c-a lor umbră se schimbă după soare.
De felul cum e raza de soare înclinată,
Umbra poate fi mică sau poate fi mai mare.

La mine este invers,
Eu funcţional sunt mică, sau mare altădată,
Dar umbra mea nu-şi schimbă
lungimea niciodată.

Dacă tangenta este o rază de lumină
Şi cât de mult sau de puţin se-nclină,
Ori cât ar fi de mică, ori cât ar fi de mare,
A mea umbră măsoară… o unitate fix.

Închei dar, salutare.
Cu stimă
e la x.

(Notă ZT:
Este vorba de proprietatea geometrică a faptului că derivata
funcţiei e la x este tot e la x şi anume că în orice punct, subtangenta
(numită aici în mod metaforic „umbră”) are întotdeauna
valoarea 1.)

Then he told me about the improved variant of his work
on the origin of the Universe,
from which he read for me an excerpt about the speed of light:

“After the theory of relativity,
the speed of light in the void would be the limit speed,
although a superior limit of the speed does not have a logical support.
More, in the last time, scientists assert that
the superluminic speeds have been put in evidence.
The question is if there is a kind of resistance for the advance
which makes the touch and outrun of the speed of light very difficult.
If so, what does it produce that resistance?
Is the void really void?”

After a short break,
Zigmund Tauberg continued:

“The theory of ether fell a long time ago,
and today more scientists talk about dark matter.
If this is responsible for that resistance, then, at the overrun of the speed of light,
a luminous bang should appear,
similar to the bang which appears at the overrun of the speed of sound…”

After I left the charming teacher
I thought that sometimes the people’s mind can comprehend the Universe.
If so,
Nicolae Labis’ mind comprehended the Sun
into a hot boulder of ice,
Mihail Gramescu’s mind transformed astronomic stars
into fantasy stars,
Zigmund Tauberg’s mind comprehended the speed of light
into mathematical experiences…
and my mind transformed the Moon
into a cross of light.


© 2014 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)