Magda Crneci


A sea of flames

Requiem in a Classical Style


A sea of flames


Sometimes I see finding myself on the streets among the crowds

in the absence of any drug except the solar light or in trams

narcotized by the mass of warm and moist bodies or before the amber

Subway exits

pouring out fields of anonymous bright faces

I see suddenly I see that we are flames

flickering flames twisted by the wind

long glowing cones plaited with thin rays

small red white golden flames

gliding through bus-stations, windows and stores

flame upon flame in a fiery sea stirring burning quickened drops

flowing on sidewalks, rising in elevators

staccato flickers against the evening sky.

these clothes these shoes these uniforms of sex

and flesh which interrupt the ocean of fire

which separate me from all of you and from yourself

twin sister world

coagulated fire intensity at a standstill o, world flimsy backdrop

soaring buildings and highways and subways

airports and movie theaters and civilizations

over the living flames that we are covering our incandescence

One day at one certain moment they will crumble will dissolve

will disappear like a cloud of vapor and dust

swept away by one single unique hand evaporated

like the pale molecules of a spectral hallucinogenic gas

and we`ll become I see it I see-

in the clammy hospital beds in the waiting rooms

of the railroad stations in the doctor`s offices

there where I recognize myself ageless and illimitable in

strange and young girls in soldiers and office workers,

in the crowds oozing like an electric lava over the streets

at noon hour-

we`ll be one single Body vast pulsating with one composite

Face a brilliant overflowing rustling everywhere in space

one Heart endlessly throbbing one Mouth

all-speaking one infinite Hearing one immensurable Eye

starring silently at itself we`ll be one Blood

irrigating the void with its arteries and veins

drawing a fantastical silhouette over the darkness

one simultaneous Dream

in the unique single Brain pouring one cresting wave

of light unfolding from its ghostly cocoon one Illumination

and one shared Death

When all of us everyone at once our faces upwards flickering flames

in a sea of flames all laughing roaring in laughter we`ll drink at the same time

its bittersweet infinite chloroform

full of stars planets visions fallen below quietly burning;

all absorbed in the ultimate Thought immense deserted isolated

gazing with melancholy into space into itself an infinitesimal point

a larva a pupa in bloom a small and white child

tumbling through the void like a small and white universe

ready to start over to be born once more and to smile

for this world ends not in a book

this world ends in a Thought.

translated by Adam J. Sorkin with the poet



Requiem in a Classical Style

For those who died in Bucharest, December 1989


With a drop of blood, innocent bright liquid,

  could a putrid, slumbering sea of marrow be purified?

Could only one body, mine, inscribed crosswise upon you,

  cure your sickness, o homeland?


And a thousand bodies, young boys, young girls,

  thrown into the starry vault of your mouth, your greedy belly,

your bloated memory, could they satisfy your hunger?


Let me be the solitary seed for a redemptive and young matter,

  Let me become the flowering field for an unknown, invincible plant,

Would that we were myriad of unconsumed pyres to light your darkness?

  Could a shower of love, a downpour, save a land?

A cataract, a flood, a billowing sea of blood?

  Could your corpse be reanimated by a sea of blood?



Should I be the one to defy you, to accuse, to curse,

  the first to cast the stone at your face, in reproach and hatred?

Should I be the one to crucify you one more time-

  you, so often cut and wounded, stoned, nailed up, disfigured?


Should I set fire to your ever multiplied, ever burning pyre?

  to this famished destiny that devours you, should I add a blasphemy,

Never to be satisfied with hunting you, through all eternity?


If I do not burn together with you, then it would be in vain

  for the tormented light of your body to illuminate the dark.

If I do not crucify myself with you, mocked and martyred within you,

  then your endless sacrifice would be in vain.


If I do not love you, then it is myself I do not love.

  Alienated and festering, I would vanish into the corrupt world.

If we do not love each other, who or what could bring this sad land

  back from the dead, this blood, these bitter words?



Come once more, vast suffering woman, unconsoled,

  follow in the wake of your martyrs, young girls, young boys,

those who have not yet become weary, who have not fallen asleep,

  who have not run away, and who will never forget anything.


Come, o homeland, before your dead and your living,

  to bathe yourself in the clean dust of their feet,

to purify yourself in their endless suffering.


You will be created anew. In each of us. You will be forgiven once more.

  Reborn. A virgin. How many times? Again and again.

Ocean of old marrow, chaotic magma, greedy ravenous mud

  spread everywhere, through hamlets and recesses, fields and towns,


You will engulf us, you will again swallow us into you-

  luminous tide of blood, loving lava of fire,

your powerful current will wash us into the final delta of our silence:


where out of eternity

new worlds

new worlds

unborn children

and your Ideal Form

dreamed once again

are forged

for all Eternity.

translated by Adam J. Sorkin with the poet    



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