ROMANIAN ASTROHUMANISM (XII)

POETICAL MOON

 

Essay by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe

Design by Gabriel Ivanescu

 

.

 

Up there, on the mountain peak,

 

The fir tree of the fir trees grows.

 

It is so great and fluffed

 

That has filled the whole sky:

 

The Sun among its cones,

 

The Moon among its branches,

 

And many thousands of stars

 

Among its twigs.

 

-from a Romanian old carol,

collected by Romulus Vulcanescu (1912-1999)-

 

Let’s take the Earth’s happy satellite from the cosmic tree

in order to be sung by great Romanian (romantic and modern) poets

before the Second World War

(in a collection translated by me without rhythm and rhyme).

 

 

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Grigore Asachi (1788-1869),

 

a cultural champion of his times, preferred a proto SF vision:

 

Through a high learning,

On the way of the thunder,

I see a round carriage

Climbing right to the Moon.

 

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Other authors preferred classical plasticity:

 

The night empress in her foggy chariot

Climbs up and makes white the forehead of the horizon.

-Costache Stamati (1786-1869)-

 

Oh you, cold mistress of the Sun,

Oh moon, raising from waves and entering the black night

To lighten the extensive element.

-Dimitrie Bolintineanu (1825-1872)-

 

The moon rises like a fire orange…

-Mihail Kogalniceanu (1817-1891,

the Prime-Minister who declared Romania’s independence in 1877)-

 

The sky put on itself a black vestment.

The yellowish moon cheekily swims.

-Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu (1836-1907)-

 

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Grigore Alexandrescu (1810-1885) offered a larger palette:

 

Ruby globe, giving motion and life to the night…

The silver moon

Making white the valley grass

Comes out, surrounded

By the stars of her court.

I look at the horizon which stuffs with torches,

The silent moon appears to inspire

Religious thoughts to Apollo’s sons.

 

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The same about Vasile Alecsandri (1821-1890),

nicknamed “a king of poetry” by his contemporaries:

 

The boat believes in the bosom of the sea,

The moon believes in the foggy chariot of the night.

The queen of the stars slowly and calmly steps

With a sweet and attractive smile of light.

It’s strange that the poets, lovers and nightingales

have so many proclivities to the moon.

 

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And the Romanian national poet, Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889),

seemed to be quite fond of the moon:

 

The moon appears in azure fields,

Filling them with her triumphal eye.

The stars harness to the chariot of the blond moon.

The moon slowly floats in the sky.

She is a young and blond queen

In a blue, constellated mantle.

Cold, but luminous, like a heavenly meditation in a clear thinking,

the pale and silver moon rises.

The moon, a round and fat brood-hen,

Goes on the sky’s soft and blue air, leaving

Golden traces shining as stars.

The moon is the silver shield of the sky.

The sacred face of the full moon

Raises her splendid disc into the empire of lights

And gilds the azure waves of the proud sea.

The moon opens the entrance gate to our world

And raises thousands of thoughts after we blow out the candle.

The moon appears whole, she raises so blond,

And creates a path of flame from shore to shore.

 

In 1881, Mihai Eminescu wrote in his “Epistle I”

the most famous Romanian verses dedicated to the Moon:

 

You moon, master of the sea, sliding along the canopy,

Giving life to thoughts, and darkening sufferings;

Thousands of deserts sparkle under your virgin light,

And so many forests hide twinkles of water in shadows!

Your mastery traverses so many thousands of waves,

When you float on the moving solitude of the seas!

You see so many bloomed shores, palaces and fortresses,

Which are penetrated by your charm!

You slowly pervade thousands of windows,

Watching thoughtfully so many foreheads full of thoughts!

You see a king making plans about the globe for a century,

While a poor man hardly thinks of the day of tomorrow.

Even if they receive different notches from the gamble of the destiny,

They all are possessed by your beam and the genius of death.     

 

And also Mihai Eminescu has left another unforgettable stanza:

 

Over the nocturnal magic,

The proud moon raises her flight.

All is dream and harmony.

Good night!

 

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Other poets tried to imagine a friendly satellite:

 

The moon spins her silver in thousands of beams

As a cobweb from the skies to the Earth.

-Alexandru Macedonski (1854-1920)-

 

The clear moon from the heights

Smiled to the fortune.

-Panait Cerna (1881-1913)-

 

…the silver cake of the moon…

-Octavian Goga (1881-1938)-

 

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For Ion Pillat (1891-1945),

 

The moon over the hills bent itself as the bow of a hunter…

 

On another occasion, the same poet asks himself:

 

How is the country of light

Which the moon dreams?

 

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For Adrian Maniu (1891-1968), 

the moon inspires a lot of other visions:

 

a spot of blood

a dead head on a silver velvety pillow

an arm of a lyre

a parenthesis opened to the infinite…

 

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But the most astronomical Romanian poem about the moon,

“Eternal Peace”

(inspired from the universal descriptions

of the famous French popularizer of astronomy, Camille Flammarion),

was written and published in March 1908 by Alexandru Anestin

in the magazine Orion (edited by his brother Victor Anestin):

 

An eternal, happy and mortuary silence:

All is numb with the cold spirit of death;

The rigid majesty of basaltic rocks

Triumphantly raises and loses into the heights.

 

Desert, desert and grief! The enormous craters

Monstrously open their gigantic mouths.

But there is no lava strongly boiling

And superbly, tumultuously springing.

 

On the abrupt crests, on the terrible peaks,

Neither water nor grass, neither tree nor flower,

And no eagles with sharp beaks

Defying the great sun with their flashing eyes.

 

No tree shades the arid immensity,

The zephyr does not breeze its sweet murmur,

No drop of water mirrors in the dry seas,

But just a void without clouds and blue.

 

Timid twilights and pink auroras

Don’t bathe the ethereal horizon,

And vast, multicolored rainbows

Don’t shine to embrace, as a scarf, the lunar mausoleum.

 

Did ghosts, life, sleep, love

Perturb that magnificent peace

Through endless time that eternally flows

In those large and icy deserts?

 

There are long days in which

Giants of granite radiate fever of fire.

There are colossal nights, which put funerary togas

On the globe tortured by frost.

 

Above, the black and velvety canopy

With cohorts of stars that fascinatingly shine

As tears of sapphire continually watching

The immense cemetery.

 

A triumphant princess dominating through constellations,

The giant moon calmly and sacredly sparkles,

Carrying waters, beings, yearnings

And all unrests from the tragic Earth.

 

The Moon solemnly advances through abysses,

A glacial phantom, a magician of blanks

That gloriously and symbolically glints in death,

Placed in the infinite sarcophagus.

 

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And finally, other verses about the moon,

written by three Romanian brilliant poets of the XXth century:

 

A hoot to the off-centre moon,

A lift to the quince

Or at least to the pomegranate:

A hoot to the zodiac.

-Ion Barbu (1895-1961)-

 

It is so much silence around

that I think I hear the moonbeams

hitting the windowpanes.

-Lucian Blaga (1895-1961)-

 

The Moon seems to be a sigh,

An unknown continent.

-George Bacovia (1881-1957)-

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

-Al. Dima, “Cosmic Vision in Romanian Poetry”,

Junimea, Iasi (Romania), 1982

-Ion Holban, “Sun, Moon, and Evening Star”,

Hyperion, Chisinau (Moldavian Republic), 1991

-Orion magazine collection 1907-1912

-various Romanian poetry anthologies


© 2007 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)