I live in hunger, by Valeriu Gafencu

This is another poem by Valeriu Gafencu that I translated into English. Even if you do not speak Romanian, you may want to listen to how the nuns from the Diaconesti Monastery in Romania sing it:

I am not happy with the translation (and it is one of my favorite poems), but I publish it here in hope that I may get some suggestions.

I live in hunger

by Valeriu Gafencu

I live in hunger, in great joy I live
a joy as a divine lily in Heaven.
The chalice of the flower’s always open
and filled with living water and with tears.
The flower’s chalice is the kingdom I live.

When  evil ones abuse and denigrate me,
My body burning with their boiling hatred,
The chalice of the tears, oh, how sacred,
Renews my soul all dry and slaggy.
I am embraced with Jesus Christ’s great mercy.

I bleed under the cross that presses me;
My body’s crooked, and I am quite helpless.  
From time to time an angel comes and blesses
and fills my soul with faith. No longer weary,
the triumph I approach: Jesus wins in me.

The sunshine rains on me in secret, ardent.
To drink from living water Jesus gives me.
The seed thrown in the tomb again can live
with its life fully dressed in wedding garment.
I live in hunger, in great joy I live.

Under the flame of burning love–my mantle,
I wait from dawn to night to be your conquest.
Even in night I call on you, head fallen on my chest:
Jesus, Jesus!
I slowly die, just like a candle. 

Here it is in Romanian as well, as it appears in Ioan Ianolide’s Intoarcerea la Hristos:


Traiesc flamând, traiesc o bucurie
frumoasa ca un crin din Paradis. 
 Potirul florii e mereu deschis 
si-i plin cu lacrimi si cu apa vie.
Potirul florii e o-mparatie.

Când raii ma defaima si ma-njura
si-n clocot de mânie ura-si varsa,
potirul lacrimilor se revarsa
si-mi primeneste sufletul de zgura.
Atunci Iisus de mine mult se-ndura.

Sub crucea grea ce ma apasa sânger,
cu trupu-ncovoiat de neputinta.
Din când în când, din cer coboar-un înger
si sufletul mi-l umple cu credinta.
M-apropii tot mai mult de biruinta.

Ma ploua-n taina razele de soare,
m-adapa Iisus cu apa vie,
grauntele zvârlit în groapa-nvie,
cu viata îmbracata-n sarbatoare:
Traiesc flamând, traiesc o bucurie.

Sub flacara iubirii arzatoare,
din zori de zi si pâna-n noapte-astept.
Te chem si noaptea, ghemuit cu capu-n piept:
Iisuse, Iisuse!
Incet ma mistui, ca o lumânare.  


About Tavi's Corner

Blogging on ancient philosophy, communist persecution in Romania (including deportation to Siberia), and Orthodox Christianity. I've translated books from Romanian to English, and I also write about them from time to time.
This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to I live in hunger, by Valeriu Gafencu

  1. Enjoyed this. Thank you.


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