We recently had a somewhat unusual encounter. Through our on going search for some stories and legends surrounding the bison in our much loved, local village Armenis, we heard of a man we should go meet. As we walked into the old man’s backyard, I had a feeling that we found the person we were looking for. He spoke in an unusual voice, soft and high pitched and was obviously unaware of time as he didn’t rush to fit his thoughts into words. So with a lot of patience, we sat in his room and listened. He was a story teller, through and through. One, who was best left to talk. Marking the intense moments with a fist slamming on to the table and raising his eyebrows. Or talking even softer in the more emotional parts of the story about his life. We broke our silence to ask about the poems he has written. So he got out a big book from his shelves and heaved it onto the table. In it were all the poems he has written, neatly glued onto paper that has already turned yellow over the years. Oana went through them and stopped surprised at one of them. “Pe Urme De Zimbru” – “ On the Trail of the Bison” dated 1973. She read it out loud and quickly asked him about the story behind it. He said he was inspired to write it, after seeing a bison. We looked at each other and pulled down our eyebrows. “But there were no Bison in the wild in Romania in the 70s” we asked confused and distressed. Have we gone around telling people that the last wild bison was killed 200 years ago in romania. And now we hear this may not be true? So how, we wondered, could he have seen a bison? He smiled, paused and said it was a vision that came to him. A vision about love. And he insisted to clear up a point, again, slow and full of drama: “The poet in this poem is the bison, not Iosif Caraiman”
This poem is about love, symbolised by the bison – as far as I understand. Unfortunately my Rumanian is so poor that I do not understand it and I am told by various people that the translation is very difficult. So we invite all rumanian speaking readers, to give it their best shot and help share this poem with the english speaking community. Just leave a comment under this post or write and share your interpretation and translation on our Rewilding Romania Facebookpage (https://www.facebook.com/RewildingRomania?fref=ts)
Here is the poem, if you struggle to read it through the photo:
La rugul cu frunza rara Nici o pasara nu-nsara, Doar iubita stiu ca vine Sa se cînte dupa mine. M-as întoarce înapoi – Vremea-i Iunga între noi, M-as lua dupa patima – Vremea mi se clatina Si spre tara nimanui Duce umbra zimbrului. La umbra cu frunza rara Arde lumina de ceara Iar pe muntele de piatra Urma veche mi se-arata, Si pe urma, înseuat, Calul meu îngenuncheat.
Thanks a lot and stay tuned!
by Georg Messerer