by Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889)
(A summary of the story)
The leaves rove in the autumn.
A cricket makes noise in a wood plank’s bottom,
A stormy wind rages on windows,
With a buzz, that goes on for ages.
And you sit by the fireplace.
You wait to fall asleep at your pace.
You shake suddenly because of a dream.
You hear steps on the corridor. Light is dim.
He is your lover. And he comes walking on the carpet,
So, he can hug you from your waist.
And he shall hold a mirror to your pretty face.
And you shall see yourself in it:
Dreamily, smiley and fit;
The moon rises like a blaze of fire over a hill.
It soon reddens the old forests and the remote castle.
Water streams, flow with a patter and reflect the sun’s rays.
The sad sound of a bell, reaches down the valleys.
Perched on a cliff are the buildings of the castle.
A sweating and muscular teenager climbs up on a grey stonewall.
He rests his knee and hand, when on one stone when on the next.
He has reached a roofed passage and broke the rusty net
And he tiptoed through the point where is a dark wall.
He stepped in the room of a stranger through a hall.
And through hanging flowers behind the lattices,
The moon radiates with gentle and bashful rays.
Where the rays reach, floorboards and walls are scribbled with chalk.
Where the rays don’t reach, it is outlined and coloured in with charcoal.
And above the floorboards a spider has weaved a thin, transparent mesh
Shaking, it glitters and seems that it might break.
Weighed down with a dash of powder from precious stones,
An emperor’s daughter sleeps behind a spider-web.
She’s stretched on a bed flooded by light.
Her highlighted features are neat and white as milk.
One can see through the slightly blue colour change, of her thin silk.
Here and there, her gown comes unbuttoned. And like through glass,
It reveals her pale nude body, which is the purity of a young woman.
Her spread out fair-hair is dispersed everywhere on pillows.
Below her hair, her temple’s veins gently pulsate like a dashing shade.
And her arched eyebrows skilfully join together her pale face.
Completing it with a single trait, it highlights it with refinement.
Her shut eyelids throb inside her eyeballs.
One of her arm hangs lazily over the bed’s edge knob.
Her bosoms come into bud because of her age’s warmth.
Her mouth is opened by the strength of her breath.
Smiling she moves her small and thin lips. And on her bed
Roses are spread, which are also sprinkled over her head.
The bold teenager rips open the mesh with his hand, when he gets nearer her.
She is covered with dust from precious stones.
The beauty’s pure feelings, which quenches his passion,
Isn’t big enough for the state of mind he is in.
He grabs the maiden with his hands. And he bends over her face.
He puts his hot mouth on her lips. He sighs through his nose.
And he takes off the precious ring form her little finger.
The bold without precedent teenager, wanders into the world again.
Next day she wonders why the strings of the spider-web are ruined.
And she sees in the mirror that her lips are blue and sucked.
She smiles and she stares with a sad face. She whispers to him her wish.
“Flying man with long blond hair, come and take me tonight.”
One shall form an opinion about maidens how one shall think fit.
But she looked like those in love with themselves.
And Narcissus seeing his face in the mirror of a pond,
He was the loved one, and also the lover with whom he wanted to take off.
And if it were possible, that one could see her,
When she looked with her big wild eyes in the mirror,
And when she distorted her small mouth, and she called herself by name…
She loved herself how she loved no one in this world.
Then with a glance, he uncovered her delusion.
She — a fair maiden— was so pretty. She reached this conclusion.
Hero you! Seizure of my brains, you! For a young mind,
You chose a proud hero with big eyes and thick hair.
What does she whisper in secret, when she gazes in awe
At her young tender looks from head to toe?
“Last night I had a lovely dream. A flying man had come.
And I nearly killed him as I held him tightly in my arm…
That’s way, when I stare at myself in the wall with a mirror,
Alone in the small room, I stretch my white arms in the light’s glare.
And like in a finely weaved dress, I do up my blond hair.
And I sight. I nearly feel I’m about to kiss my round shoulder.
And then, I go red in the face of shyness.
Why doesn’t the flying man chase me, so I can fall at his chest?
If I enjoy, my eyes… or if I soften my face with cosmetics,
These things make him happy. And these are also my ethics.
And I love myself because I am dear to him.
Mouth you! Learn your lesson. Don’t tell anyone on me.
Not even to him, when he is full of lust, and sneaky like a child,
Or when, he crawls in my bed.
And so, flying man comes to her bed each night.
She wakes up all of a sudden from sleep, at his kiss, in delight.
And then, when he turns towards the door to flee,
She stops him with her eye, and with a much humble plea.
'Oh, stay, stay at my place, you with gentle and loving speech,
Flying man with long blond hair, heartbroken shape; don’t leave!
And don’t you think that wandering aimlessly in this world, and lonely too,
You might find a young heart, which is in love only with you?
Oh, fading apparition, you! With your deep and sad stare,
The eye of your shape is kind — it makes you lucky, everywhere.
He sits next to her. And he holds her by her waist.
She speaks confidently heated words.
He says: You with your eye full of rebellion, and which is so intense,
Oh, whisper to me sweet nonsense words, yet full of sense.
Life’s golden dream is like a thunderbolt, like a flash.
And I dream it, when I feel your round arm with my palm. So I hurry
When you put your head to my chest
And you count my heart’s beats, with their murmur,
When, I kiss with passion your white and smooth shoulder.
I draw a breath into my being, when your breathe.
Our hearts exalt with a sweet unhappiness, with desire.
You lean your face on my hot cheek and you sigh. Then you feel lost.
And you tie your soft and blond hair around my neck.
You half close your eyes. You offer me a kiss.
Then I feel happy to the top limit.
Woman you… I mumble… Don’t you see I can’t find a name for you?
And I can’t tell you straight away how… oh, how dear you’re to me.
They whisper, they tell each other a lot. They don’t know where to start.
They cover each one’s mouth in turn, when they quench their heart’s thirst.
One in each other’s arms, they shake and they kiss each other. They have fun.
Only their eyes are chatty, but each one’s tongue is without words.
For the moment, she covers her red of shyness face, with her hand.
She hides her eyes in tears, and in her hair — which is like an adornment.
She became white as wax. Her face is red like an apple.
And she’s so thin that one can cut her with a hair-thread.
And you fold your blond hair next to your crying eye.
You have a heart without hope and a soul overwhelmed by thought.
All day you sigh at the window. You don’t say a word.
You lift your eyelashes. And your soul lifts off to God.
Watching how a skylark drifts on a clear sky,
You like to tell the skylark to take a message to your guy.
But it flies… And you lay down. You have a cheerless and wandering eye.
You have your mouth open, with a painful muscle spasm.
Don’t drain your young eyes. These are sweet twins of two dazzling stars.
Don’t forget that the puzzle is in the tears of a weeping eye.
Stars fall from the sky like silver droplets once in a while.
And tears surround your fine blue eye.
And if all tears shall drip, your eye shall be gloomy and empty.
Touring the heights with your eye, you wouldn’t be able to see
The night of the stars, of the moon, and the mirror of a river,
Which is not like the dark and empty night in a tomb, that makes one shiver.
And now and then, your shed tears suit you.
And then, how will I see you, if you drain the whole spring?
Your blush rushes forward through it nicely, like the colour of a rose.
And it spreads through the bluish-white of your slender cheeks and your nose.
And then your eye’s blue gloom diminishes.
It vanishes easily, when you shed tears.
Who is silly to burn a rare stone in hot charcoal?
And wipe out for no reason its eternal sparkle?
You burn your eye and your beauty… their sweet dark colour says goodbye.
And you don’t even know what the world looses. Don’t cry don’t cry!
Oh, king you, with knots in your tangled beard.
You have chaff and dust instead of grey matter, in your head.
You old king with no brains! Do you like being alone?
With a cigar stuck in your teeth, you sigh for your daughter. She’s gone.
So, you can count white timber-floorboards on the porch.
So poor you turned out to be, when once you were so rich,
Since, you exiled her so far away from her close relatives.
She shall give birth to a prince in a fairly small abode.
You send envoys to look for her to no avail.
No one shall find the place where she hides behind a veil.
Grey is the autumn dusk.
The cold water drops its swellings’ flow within the stones,
At the dam, beyond the ponds…
And a breeze blows and gets rid of the dry leaves
Throughout the forest which, softly sighs…
And the forest, the wonderful forest wraps all its leaves with snow.
It lets its undergrowth to be lit by the face of the moon.
The nature is sad. And the frightened wind splits some tree branches.
And the lonely spring makes noise with its pounding-waves.
Who comes close to the brooks, down to the forest’s trails?
It is a young man with a quick eye. He watches at the lengthy valley.
You flying man with dark long hair, seven years had passed since you left.
And you forgot about the fate of your young woman.
And a little boy was walking barefoot on a crop-free meadow.
He was trying to mind a flock of ducklings — which were quite a few.
“Good day to you boy! ” “Young stranger, I wish to you the same! ”
“What’s your name boy? ” “Like my father’s… Colin is my name.
If I ask my mother: “whose son am I.” My mum tells me from time to time:
“Flying man is your father. And Colin is his name.”
When he hears the boy, only he knows his mood.
Since the kid with the ducklings was indeed his child.
Then he enters in the cabin. And at one side of the table
A kerosene lamp is, which even to light a broken pot isn’t able.
In a dark oven, two loafs of bread bake in the charcoals. Below a wooden roof-beam
There is a slipper. The other one is behind the door’s rim.
An old and wrecked grinding mill was placed awkwardly in the dust.
A cat combs its ear. And it sits still next to the fireplace, in a spot.
Below the smoked icon of a saint with a mitre on his head,
It’s a votive light that burns with a light as small as a poppy seed.
Dried basil and mint lay on the icon’s small sill.
These fill the dark abode with a minty smell.
On the smeared clay oven and on walls —which are out of shape—
The clever boy had sketched little pigs with swirled tails
Which he outlined recently with sticks instead of hoofs
The way it should suit a little pig that looks properly.
In the little window, instead of glass, it’s an animal bladder.
Dull and yellow creases formed throughout it.
She lies with her face towards the window.
The young single mother sleeps on a timber bed.
He sadly sighs, and he sits next to her. He touches her head.
Sighing, he caresses her thoughtfully. He loves her. He’s mad about her.
He lowers his mouth to her ear. And he calls her softly by name.
She raises sleepily the long veil of her eyelashes.
Seems to her she dreams. And she looks at him…
She likes to smile, but she’s not sure. She likes to scream, but she doesn’t dare.
He lifts her from her bed. And he holds her to his chest.
Her heart throbs. Her life seems to end in this love quest.
She doesn’t even say a word. She stares in disbelief.
She just laughs, with her eyes in tears, scared of any feeling.
Then, she rolls his hair on her thin white finger.
She hides her red face on his gentle chest of a groom.
He, like a naughty boy, pushes it down slowly after untangling it.
He kisses her right on her head, on her soft blond hair.
And he lifts her chin. And he looks first in her eye, which is full of tears.
They cover each other’s mouth in turn, quenching their thirst with it.
If you cross the rusty forest, you can see clearly from afar.
And the great sound of the old forests you can hear.
The grass seems white as snow, there near the springs.
And a blue wet flower quivers. And onto the sweet smelling air, it clings.
It looks as if even the everlasting tree trunks, have souls under their bark.
They sigh through the twigs with the delight of a crunch, in the national park.
And in the old forest’s amazing dim light,
You see full down-streams, shimmer on stones at this site,
And flow with busy waves; and to flowers they softly sigh,
When out of the little sloped plateau, they flow in a sweet way.
They spill with bubbles on the stones in the backwoods,
Where, the moon’s twin rests in whirlpools of streams.
Little blue butterflies and one thousand bees, swarm in shiny swarms,
And gather nectar all around from flowers and from trees.
The annoying gathering of a large number of flies,
It fills the summer air with perfume, and its coolness increases.
Next to a lake that splashes softly and bit by bit,
You see a feast, set at a table with candles fully lit.
Since from the world’s four cardinal points, queens and kings,
Many a prince charming with blond hair, dragons with tough scales and rings,
Astrologers and Pep-the-jester on their side,
They all came to the wedding, to see and cherish the kind bride.
Look at the king, the father of the groom. He leans on a high armchair.
On his head, he wears a crown. He has combed his beard and his hair.
He sits on feather pillows with the sceptre in his hand. He’s ill at ease and neat,
While butlers shield him with branches from tiny flies and stifling heat…
Now you see how Colin the groom, comes out the forest.
He holds in his hand, the sweet bride’s hand, and his crest.
Her white wedding dress’ train, it rustle on dry leafs, and she sighs.
Her face is apple red, and by a feeling of good luck, moist are her eyes.
Her soft blond hair falls on her revealing shoulders.
It falls down her arm, just about to touch the ground’s leaves.
She carries herself in style, and gets there fast.
She has blue flowers in her hair. She wears on her brow a tiny spot.
The bride’s father-in-law invites the brilliant Sun — the one giving the bride away,
So at the head of the table he can stay.
And his consort, the great Moon will sit to the other side.
And all are seated at the table in accordance with age and rank’s etiquette.
The violins sound easy on the ear and the guitar accompanies.
But what noise is heard? It’s a hum like buzzing bees.
All look amazed, and they don’t know where it comes from.
Until they see that crossing a cobweb bridge is a swarm.
Ants move across. And big sacks of flour they carry.
To bake for the wedding: cakes and bread rolls in a hurry.
And the bees bring honey and tiny gold dust,
So the master goldsmith — the wood mite — can cast earrings out of it.
Look! The entire wedding party gets there. A tiny cricket is best man.
Fleas with tiny steel horseshoes jump in front of him,
A big-bellied humble bee wearing a velvet outfit,
Tired, he sings slowly, like the priests, a chant with slow beat.
Locusts, pulling a hazel shell, shake the bridge.
With its twisted feelers, a groom-butterfly sits in it, like in a carriage.
Butterflies in large number and of many sorts, follow in a row,
All are light hearted. All are witty and full of charm. And fireflies glow.
Mosquitoes come as a music band, also beetles and tree beetles.
And the cheerful bride waits for them at the back of the door.
And on the royal table jumps a clever speaker, which is a cricket.
It stands on two legs. It bows. And it clatters the spikes of its feet.
It coughs. It buttons its coat full of strings. And from its heart it says:
“Forgive us my lords! So we can start our wedding, next to yours.'
(1876, November the 1st)
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Comments about this poem (COLIN by Peter Mamara )
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