Tuesday 28 March 2023

Five Poems by Dimitrie Anghel - Translated by Ana Neagu


A Nibelung’s Dream

(published in Fantazii, 1909)

I dream of the piles of gold

Guarded in the cave below the Rhine

By Fafner, the abominable dragon,

And to you, Wothan, I place a shrine.


My heart aches for the treasure

And I must have it at any price

I’m driven by fatality

As Oedipus once was.


Show me the way to the hoard

On the seven strings of the lyre

O, Wothan, let a handful of gold

Fall in the shadoof of love.


Give to me the gold that kills

For long years weigh on my bones

Since I crave for the treasure

Like the dark Nibelungs. 



The Rainbow

How tricky the light is on the ridge;

In the bat of an eye,

A rainbow has laid a bridge

To link your home to mine.


And a crazy idea I have in view,

A poet’s mind can’t ditch

To venture up to you

On this colorful bridge.


My forehead bathing in the rays,

To the high sky I’d go

And then, just when you least expect,

At once, I’d knock at your bow.


But when I wanted to go up, the beautiful bridge

Collapsed; And now the clouds

Have drawn the curtain to the ridge:

God, what a crazy thing to dream.




You were singing a strange song from the North,

A soft melody that’s clear as ice;

And I was dreaming of how sweet life would have been

If only we had a house on the brink of a fjord.


Bright as marble from top to bottom,

It would be all white and reflected in water,

A mystery sitting under a snow cloak

Like an albatross nest rising on a rocky bluff.


The eternal silence from the poles would fence it,

Everything would seem frozen in time

Under sumptuous coats of white velour

And we would be the last envoys of life.


The great ships would circle it in terror

And solemn, in their place, on the calmness of our sea,

The glaciers would send their blue squadrons

Floating sailorless and flagless.


Thus my dream was, but with the last chord

All vanished in the night, but I didn’t tell you a thing,

And I piously kissed this tiny little hand

Which tore down a house on the brink of a fjord.




Sails spread, so they can have a chance,

Thus come the ships hurried by wind and cold,

But white ghosts emerge from the sea

And run across the high pier.


Mercurial and slender they run and howl,

Blocking the way to the harbour

And other ghosts rise to the phare in the tower

To ask for a dead man as a toll…


“The light, the light, let’s turn out the light…

And once the lamp’s dawn comes,

The queen will come forlorn carried by the sea,

The Obsidian queen…” and they are up there,


Mercurial and slender, step by step,

They climb to reach the fire star;

Yet the star turns its light on the ships,

And the ships can now cross safely.


They’re close and the horns are now howling

The heavy anchor is ready to fall

And all the darkness and storm

Were vanquished by one single star.



And if…

And if branches knock at the window (Eminescu)


And if the clouds gather

On blue and clear sky

It’s so I can tell my pain

And relieve my heart.


And if the woods are empty

And the moon won’t rise

It’s because from now on you won’t come,

E’en by the end of time.


And if branches knock

Now, as they did before,

It’s for from now on you’re forgotten

And your memory is gone.


And if my hand I send slipping

On the lyre’s stiff strings

It’s so I can cloud for a moment

My amaranthine sufferings.


And if I’m so empty

And nobody knows,

It’s for this was meant for me

And ‘tis how it meant to be.



Dimitrie Anghel (1872-1914) was a Romanian Symbolist poet, prose writer and translator. His first poem was published in 1890 in the literary magazine Contemporanul. He was part of the editorial board of Sămănătorul (1906-1908) and Cumpăna (1909-1910). In his lifetime, he published two poetry collections (În grădină – 1905; Fantazii – 1909) and several prose volumes, among which Fantome (1911), Oglinda fermecată (1912), Triumful vieții (1912). Many of his works were written in collaboration with the poet Ștefan Octavian Iosif, including: Legenda funigeilor (dramatic poem, 1907), Cometa (comedy, 1908) and Caleidoscopul lui A. Mirea (poetry volume, 1908).



Ana Neagu was born in August 1999 in Bucharest, Romania. At present, she is a student at the Literary Translation MA Program of the University of Bucharest. So far, her translations of poetry have been published in Romanian magazines, such as Scriptor, Alternanțe, Caiete silvane, Actualitatea literară or Revista Română pentru Literatură și Artă. She’s currently working on numerous translation projects, including five collections of translations of poems by Mimi Khalvati, John Mole, Anne Clarke, Caroline Carver and Dimitrie Anghel.

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