By Nina Cassian

ISBN-10: 0393338924

ISBN-13: 9780393338928

Spanning approximately sixty years, those poems—both new English compositions and Nina Cassian's translations of her paintings in Romanian—blend her gallows humor with an engagement with the human adventure.

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Extra resources for Continuum: Poems

Sample text

One can imagine what this man, marked by the gods to write the Fables, could have done with all those animals in movement, some urged and lashed on, others hunted and brought to bay, all beside themselves, the hounds belling, the huntsmen galloping and winding their horns. He would have invented the conversations and thoughts of these actors; and the re­ marks made by the winged creatures, safely watching from their trees, would by a very natural artifice have informed us of the events of the day.

Knowing that heroes always run directly toward their ruin, they try to mislead this one and to make him miss his appointment with death. They oppose to the Fates the most beautiful verses in the world: Les nymphes, de qui I'ceil voit Ies choses futures. Vavaietttfait Sgarer en des routes obscures. Le son des cars se perd par un charme inconnu The Fates care nothing for poetry, without which, how- THE AKT O P P O E T B Y ever, their very name would long since have dropped out of the dictionary of usage.

He bestows his own silence on them, which they turn into a kind of symphony. He is faithful to nothing but the pleasures of the day (but THERE THE ART OF POETRY on condition that they yield of themselves and that he does not have to pursue them or use force to hold them), and his destiny would seem to be fulfilled in drawing out by a silken thread the sweetness of each moment: delicately deriving from it endless hours. There is no easier comparison with this dreamer than the lazy cloud that holds his gaze: that gentle drift across the sky insensibly diverts him from himself, from his wife and child; it bears him toward forgetfulness of his own affairs, relieves him from all consequences, absolves him from all plans, for it is vain to try to outstrip the very breeze that bears you; even vainer, perhaps, to claim responsibility for the movements of a mist.

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Continuum: Poems by Nina Cassian


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