Mihai Ursachi


 The March to the Stars


In the Altamira cave

I inscribed, among scenes from the hunt

and ritual formulas, the feverish glow of the fire.

I drew in ochre the great line

of my march to the stars.


In seventy thousand tongues, now long dead

and forgotten for all eternity, availing myself of nearly as many words

as there are stars in the sky (words lost till the end of time but nonetheless

surviving like embers under the warm ashes of memory), I proclaimed,

I communicated, to friends, to enemies, to women and children,

in seriousness or in jest, in the instant of love

or just before dying, between two wars waged

at the interval of one thousand years, I yelled, I whispered,

among a thousand other things,

I flung forth, sowing them in the void, the living words

of my march to the stars.


If you were digging here in this very place or in any other,

from the tropics to the poles, you would find buried beneath the dust

of obscure or glittering civilizations, you would find the signs

inscribed in cuneiform or hieroglyphic, on clay tablets or on slabs

of diorite, on papyruses

or on vellum scraped clean thirty times

in order to write the same story in a new alphabet,

you would find massy steel spheres holding microfilms

in a more universal digitized language, and material proofs,

small objects that speak about me and about the great story

of my march to the stars.


At Hiroshima, I was in a public sauna hidden in the mist of a steam bath

when the finis mundi came to pass;  an instant before

I’d said to myself:  my march to the stars is continuing,

because the warm dust of Terra, flung outward

many myriads of light-centuries, every speck lost in the extragalactic

void, in the worlds of Anti-Being, carries within it the seeds, the glory

of my march to the stars.


In the heart of the great Logos I endure in Being, like

an immortal kernel:  my heart

is my march to the stars.  A boundless yearning,

from everywhere, from everywhere; from everywhere I go on, in pursuit

of my march to the stars.



                                                                        translated by  Adam J. Sorkin and the poet


 Another Eleven Ways of Speaking the Silence

“You have imagined death, o man, for the sole purpose of overcoming it!”  Thus they always speak, those who are alive.


Being truly ridiculous is just a penny easier to come by than being sublime.  Human privileges . . .


Between the two of us, who will die?  You who don’t know, o tree, or I who know too well?


The resignation of the stones not to exist . . .  Memory, memory, memory.


Tree, your life is 5000 years, mine a mere instant.  But I was conscious of you, even though you had no consciousness of me.


In each stone, a heart.  And the raindrop that is going to bore through it—in the course of countless eras—is the arrow predestined for it.  You, man, you have a heart and a teardrop.


Poetry, the memory of the stone . . .


To be ridiculous means to be worth laughing at.  Only we can be ridiculous—and only we, sublime.  Laugh at me, tree, laugh, laugh at me, stone!  I hear cries of derision from the totality of the Cosmos, laughing at the human species.


Poetry, the gales of laughter of the great Logos . . .


And these eyes will bear with them the world’s image, and the image itself into the world.  And thousands of myriads of eyes, like the stars that sink in the sea.  Once upon a time a long time from now, the world will become image.


Arrow boring through the Aeon, the immense stone, Diamond . . .  Is poetry your name?



                                                                        translated by Adam J. Sorkin and the poet



respiro@2000-2004 All rights reserved