Carol from prison

I need help. I am translating some poems, and this one gives me problems. I would be happy for any suggestions.

The poem was written in prison by Valeriu Gafencu. The photo below is taken in Jilava. To my knowledge, Gafencu was not imprisoned in Jilava.


Photo taken by Ioana Hasu


On the bank of the Trotush,

The Lord’s servants His yoke push,

And they sing, and push… and push…

Their singing is slow, silent

For their suffering is violent

And their hearts with tears vibrant.


In the humble servant’s heart

The Lord makes His manger: light

On this peaceful Christmas night.


From heavens it rains with lilies;

All of them His manger seizes,

Dew from flowers feels like breezes.


At the horizon, a small child

Looks at us, his gaze is wild:

In prison we are exiled.


But an angel comes to him.

Seeing that the child is dim,

He sings gracefully a hymn:


“Today, Christmas has arisen

Not in palace, but in prison,

For the Lord has been imprisoned.”


So the child from the far east

Comes to us, his soul released,

To rejoice in the great feast.


In Romanian now:



Pe malul Trotuşului

Cântă robii Domnului,

Înjugaţi la jugul Lui.


Dar cântarea lor e mută,

Că-i din suferinţă multă

Şi-i cu lacrimi împletită.


În inima robului,

Domnu-Şi face ieslea Lui,

În noaptea Crăciunului.


Flori de crin din ceruri plouă

Peste ieslea Lui cea nouă

Şi din flori picură rouă.


Stă un copilaş în zare

Şi priveşte cu mirare

La fereastra de-nchisoare.


Lângă micul copilaş

S-a oprit un îngeraş,

Ce-i şopteşte drăgălaş:


“Azi Crăciunul s-a mutat

Din palat la închisoare,

Unde-i Domnu-ntemniţat.”


Şi copilul cel din zare

A venit la închisoare

Să trăiască praznic mare.


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.
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