The Shadow

Back to the days when just about the only way for us to hope to “speak out” or “get a message out there” was folk music. It was after all these years that these lyrics suddenly hit home and revealed what I think they were really about, although we have always enjoyed their beauty and deep-sounding tone, as it were. Lyrics speaking of pain and suffering in a muffled voice; hurting hopelessness; souls like “shadows”, all but deprived of their wholeness of Being/Love, save for a tiny sparkle of divinity, which only keeps them aching; in a closed, hopeless world where faith is but a fallen Mast and there is so much “bad” and “yes” around, that paradoxically, it all gets turned upside down into “good” and “no” – a strange play of denial leading to yet more longing – for the true freedom – and God. Lyrics rife with the Ultimate and Eternal symbols. I’ve tried to do my best to translate/adapt this poem according to what I feel is its true underlying purport, stuck as we were under communism as under a glass dome. The capital letters are mine. To me, all that was yesterday.

*

“Umbra” – The Shadow

This shadow, which You have planted into my soul —

It is with a sense of compassion and sad wonder

That I shall carry within me, always…

That I shall carry within me, always.

*

Then, one day – a day like any other,

When I am faced with the most difficult moment of my life,

I shall mark it in old calendars:

The Sunday of my body…

The Sunday of my body.

*

(Chorus/bis)

Quivering waves run through me –

And I have no need of them.

I ask you, shadow,

Please, turn back into Being.

*

Hungry for the complete Love

In these times of somber twilights,

Every time dawn unfastens the night’s cloak,

I will contend myself with nothing but a shadow…

I will contend myself with nothing but a shadow.

*

And my soul is asking you another thing —

You, toppled Mast, which keeps drawing me towards you,

You, dear and quiet shadow — :

Please, tuck your scarf around your neck… ok?

Please, tuck your scarf around your neck… ok?

*

(Chorus/bis)

Quivering waves run through me –

And I have no need of them.

I ask you, shadow,

Please, turn back into Being.

*

A shadow closes itself within me;

A shadow passed through me.

Everything is so bad, that it’s good,

There is so much “yes” around, that it’s “no”,

There is so much “yes” around, that it’s “no”.

*

Bacovia* steps out of his usual poetic self

And laughs with “ou” and “ch”.                    (= “ouch”!! pretty sarcastic…)

What keeps me alive is a shadow

And that shadow is You…

And that shadow is You.

*

(Chorus/bis)

Quivering waves run through me –

And I have no need of them.

I ask you, shadow,

Please, turn back into Being.

*

* George Bacovia (1881-1957) – Romanian poet known for his poems that celebrate sadness and melancholy. To have him go “ouch!” is both unusual and sarcastic for him – the point being that even he would have had enough.

2 thoughts on “The Shadow

  1. Sarah says:

    This is such a beautiful post… I think Im going to copy and post it dorectly onto mine to share it becuase really, it should be shared with the whole world. Will link it of course to here. Wow, what a wonderful way you have with words and your translation is really excellent. Such talent you have. Bravo!

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