From the Roumanian of P. CERNA
Translated by Leon Feraru

Lo, slowly creeps the night. I cannot sleep!
I cannot sleep! The sun of yesterday
Has left a trembling ray
That flickers, penetrating eyes and soul so deep!
I cannot close my burning lids, the beams
Have filled my heart, poor heart, with dreams.

As in a church, when solemn vespers call
And one by one the tapers turn its night
Into a mellow, golden, holy light,
So on my soul mild radiances fall . . .
And visions come and go in rapid flight . . .
And memory is beginning to unveil
Of love and youth and hope a fairy tale:

Once on a time. . . at twilight. . . on the road. . . and still. . .
And only two, with steps so light, with hearts athrill,
Gliding beneath the poplar trees, discreet and wise,
Gazed at each other, passionately near,
That each could see, ah, strangely clear
In the other's eyes.

And when she coyly drooped her eyelids, he
Kissed her cold lips, persistent like a bee
Sucking the honeysuckle it beguiles,
Until her lips bloomed blossoms of sweet smiles.
Again he kissed her lips, yielding no sound,
Feeling their fruit-like flesh, soft, fragrant, round,
And then he kissed her eyes, wishing them bliss,
And only glow for him that gave this kiss.

And then? It was not dream, but storm
That deeply shakes, so wild, so warm!
Blind, happy, in ecstatic state,
They were the conquerors of fate.
More kisses on their lips began to swarm . . .
They had no heart their savor to recall,
Nor did they dare to count them all.

O soul, my soul, sing, shout, ring out alarming!
Thine is the fairy tale, thou art Prince Charming,
And the Fair Princess of thy dreams divine
Is thine forever, ever thine . . .
O soul, my soul, sing, shout, ring out alarming!
Hereafter thou shalt not err lonely,
Searching the stars with tearful eyes,
O soul, Now thou art song and flame and burning coal,
Immortal like the stars and ardor only . . .
O soul, my soul, sing, shout, ring out alarming!
Hereafter thoughts of death be not thy mate,
Nothing from Her, my soul, doth separate.
With but a smile, a word uttered with mirth,
She gave thy pains the everlasting shades,
She offered life the tunes of the mermaids,
She tinged with fairy tales the entire earth . . .
O soul, my soul, sing, shout, ring out alarming!

At parting her soft whisper spelt: "To-morrow!"
But my hands held her hands, with warmth, with sorrow
Then in vast silence Echo followed, frail,
With silver warblings of the nightingale.
"To-morrow" now re-echoes loud and runs,
Hurries the planets, moves around the suns;
"To-morrow" and "to-morrow" and "to-morrow" fill
The air, the skies, the night with joyful thrill.

O night, disperse thy shadows, retire thee
On thy path of eternity!
Were I to hold the tempest's mighty wings,
Rise to the heavens afar
Blow out star after star
With stormy flutterings,
To quicken the arrival of that "morrow!"

. . . But dawn is blushing: now felicity
Gilding the peaks, the pines, the bluebelled slope,
With rays of sun and dreams approaches me,
Bathes me in daylight and in streams of hope.
Would that I were a god this moment, know
That I would soothe the world's eternal woe,
That I would hush the sobs, banish distress.
Celestial would be my gift of song
To those that wept once on a time of wrong;
My song would herald the new happiness . . .

Be strong my heart! Behold thy happiness . . .

Wikipedia: Panait Cerna