ROMANIAN ASTROHUMANISM (VIII)
THREE POETICAL COSMOGONIES
An article by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
Design (including the summer sky photo) by Gabriel Ivanescu
I am Alpha and Omega, Principle and Finish,
And the interval belongs to the free volition.
I made a whole from the atom and I gave it properties,
I imposed sympathy between things
And my divine laws connected them.
I united matter and mind through wedding…
-Ion Heliade Radulescu
(from Mihaida, XIXth century)-
as a discipline studying the creation and evolution of the Universe,
and as a branch disputed by religion, philosophy and astronomy,
has also inspired many poets from all over the world.
In his book,
“Cosmic Vision in Romanian Poetry” (Junimea Publishing House, Iasi, 1982),
Professor Al. Dima proposes three significant poetical cosmogonies
in the XIXth century.
I shall reproduce them below as a short collection,
in my English translation (without rhythm and rhyme, unfortunately),
with some comments about the authors.
Ion Heliade Radulescu (1802-1872)
was a Romanian important and complex literary personality.
Between 1836 and 1869 he conceived a long series of poetic cycles
entitled “Anatolida”, and including the “Hymn of Creation”
with the following cosmogonic excerpt.
You said: Let there be light! And here I am, Creator,
I filled the Universe like an aura around You,
And the Spirit of life passes upon waters,
Jumping and conceiving - the germs of the chaos
Awaiting Your voice to life and wedding.
Inert, vague and cold matter begins to move,
The light rises like a lightning in the abyss,
The creative light
With order and equilibrium appearing in the chaos.
And named me Firmament,
And my name is the sky,
The boundless content of Your omni-potency.
Although Vasile Rugina was a poet rather unknown,
he has left over time the following cosmogonic twinkle in his poem
“To the Year 1871”:
When all had neither name nor life,
When all was lost in the abyss and time was a witness,
When the Earth was born like a child,
I casually saw time swinging in space
And watching the boundless desert.
In the night of eternity, it watched the obscurity valley,
In which all of the worlds disappear and are forgotten.
Eternity anchored its boat in advance,
Being clenched in the endless ocean.
It spins fibres that connect worlds in untouched spaces
… And time says nothing about that…
It is interesting that he published this poem
in the “Calendar of Romania for 1871 ACE”,
edited by a great cultural-literary personality,
Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu (1838-1907),
whose opera includes a poem entitled “God”,
which was published in “Revista Noua” (New Magazine) in 1894
and also contains a cosmogonic excerpt:
Nature, firmaments, solar systems,
All things are in them and among them,
Developing themselves from moving points,
From moving points starting from God.
Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889)
is considered the Romanian national poet.
Even if he knew the naturalist ideas of Charles Darwin,
he remained an adept of creationist evolution,
being ironic in a poem (From Berlin to Potsdam)
written when he was a student in Germany:
Father Darwin says that
A man is a monkey.
I have traces of monkey,
But my girlfriend Millie… traces of cat!
In 1881 he wrote a fascinating cycle of five “Epistles”,
the first of them including a cosmogonic excerpt
inspired by the “Hymn of Creation” of “Rig-Veda”.
Unfortunately, the charm of the verses cannot be reproduced
by my modest translation:
In the beginning, when there was neither being nor non-being,
When all was a default of life and wish,
When nothing did hide, although all was hidden,
When, penetrated by self, the non-penetrated rested…
Was a precipice? A chasm? Was a large mass of waters?
There was neither comprehensive world nor mind to understand,
Because it was a darkness like a sea without beams,
But neither something visible nor eye to watch…
The shadow of the things did not begin to open,
And eternal peace was the master, made up with self.
But, suddenly, a primordial and lonely point moves,
Making the mother from the chaos, and it becoming the father.
That point of motion, much smaller than a berry of foam,
Is the boundless master over the edges of the world.
From then on, the eternal murk opens itself into streaks.
From then on, the world, sun, moon and elements rise.
From then on, colonies of lost worlds
Arrive from hoar valleys on unknown ways,
And, in luminous clusters springing from the infinite,
They are attracted to life by a boundless longing.
As this theme is so generous,
I thing my humble approach deserves to be enriched with a diamond
written by the greatest Romanian poet of the XXth century,
Lucian Blaga (1895-1961),
in his poem The Light (Poems of the Light, 1919):
The naught lied in agony
when the impenetrable,
floating alone in the darkness,
gave a sign:
let there be light.
A sea and a crazy storm of light
appeared in a moment,
it was a thirst for sin and love,
for adventures, for passions,
a thirst for world and sun.
From cosmogony to love?
Another excerpt of the same poem by Lucian Blaga
would be an ideal final:
The light that I feel invading
my chest when I see you, wonderful woman,
is perhaps the last drop of the light
created in the first day.
© 2007 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)