November 26, 2022

Lucian Blaga (Romania) 1895-1961

Lucian Blaga  (Romania)



Born in Lancrăm, Transylvania into the family of a Romanian Orthodox priest, Lucian Blaga was educated in German with a philosophical focus, including the teachings of Lessing, Nietzsche and Bergson. After graduating from the seminary, Blaga attended the University of Vienna, studying philosophy and biology.

     A year later, in 1919, he published his first collection of poetry, Poemele luminii (Poems of Light), and soon became one of the founders of the journal Gîndirea, which was to become one of the most innovative magazines in Romania before the War. Two years later he published another collection, Pasii profetului (In the Footsteps of the Prophet), followed by dramas and, in 1924, another collection of poetry, În marea trecere (In the Great Passage).

     During this same period Blaga began his career as a journalist and diplomat, serving as press attaché in Vienna beginning in 1932 and later as ambassador to Portugal. In 1939 he returned to Romania to become professor of philosophy at the University of Cluj. During this period he became a member of the Romanian Academy and wrote important philosophical writings that would later make up the Trilogia culturii, which, along with Trilogia cunoaşterii and Trilogia valorilor, outlined in which he outlined methods for exploring what he described as "ultimate reality" and a new cultural theory in which he tied culture to the expression of a metaphysics. Late in the 1930s and early 1940s Blaga published his last two collections of poetry, including La curţile dorului (At the Court of Yearning) and Nebănuitele trepte.

     Blaga continued publishing and translating the works of Goethe and Schelling until his death in 1961.


This site hosts a large selection of Blaga's poetry in Romanian, with links to numerous other

Romanian poets:




Poemele luminii (1919); Pasii profetului (1921); În marea trecere (1924); Lauda somnului (1929); La cumpăna apelor (1933); La curţile dorului (1938); Nebănuitele trepte (1943); Opere [5 volumes] (1974-1977).




Poems of Light, translated by Roy MacGregor-Hastie, Don Eulert, Stefan Avadanei and Mikhail Borgdan (Bucharest: Minerva, 1975); Poezii/Poems, edited by Michael Taub and translated by Alfred Margul-Sperber (Bucharest: Minerva, 1981/Chapel Hill: Department of Romance Languages, University of North Carolina, 1983); At the Court of Yearning, translated and introduced by Andrei Codrescu (Columbus: Ohio State University Press/A Sandstone Book, 1989).




A Man Bends over the Edge


I bend over the edge:

is it the sea

or my poor thought?


My soul falls deeply

slipping like a ring

from a finger weakened by fever.

Come, end, sprinkle ash on things.

There is no longer a path.

No longer am I haunted by a call.

Come, end.


I raise myself slightly from the earth

on one elbow

to listen.

Water beats against a shore.

Nothing else, nothing,



Translated from the Romanian by Andrei Codrescu


(from În marea trecere, 1924)




Heraclitus by the Lake


The paths come together by the green waters.

Silences crowd there, inhuman and abandoned.

Hush, dog, sniffing the wind with your nose!

Don't chase away the memories that come

to bury themselves, crying in their own ashes.


Leaning on a tree stump I try to guess my fate

from the palm of an autumn leaf.

Time, which way do you go

when you take a shortcut?


My steps echo in shadow

like rotten fruit

falling from an unseen tree.

O the stream's voice is sore with age!


Each movement of the hand

is one more doubt.

Sorrows call in the secret

ground below.


I throw thorns into the lake:

I am undone in the ripples.



Translated from the Romanian by Andrei Codrescu


(from În marea trecere, 1924)




The Magic Bird

Molded in gold by C. Brancusi



High-signed Orion blesses you

in the sudden wind.

A tear shedding above you

its high and holy geometry.


You lived once on a sea bottom

and circled closely the solar fire.

Your cry sounded from floating forests

over the first waters.


Are you a bird? A traveling bell?

Or a creature, an earless jug perhaps?

A golden song spinning

above our fear of dead riddles?


Living in the dark the tales

you play ghostly reed pipes

to those who drink sleep

from black subterranean poppies.


The light in your green eyes is

phosphorus peeled from old bones.

Listening to wordless revelation

you are lost in flight in celestial grass.


You guess profound mysteries

under the hewn domes of your afternoons.

Soar on endlessly

but do not reveal to us what you see.


Translated from the Romanian by Andrei Codrescu



(from Lauda somnului, 1929)




Old City


Night. The hours turn

without urging.

Be still—clock hands


on the ultimate sign.


Creatures of sleep

crawl under gates—

red dogs and trouble.

On the streets—tall and thin

the rain walks on stilts.


Old weary wind between walls

shakes dirt and iron gates.

Countrymen from bygone times

flash up a moment and vanish.


The black tower stands its ground

counting the years of defeat.

Be still—the stone saint

just extinguished his halo.


Translated from the Romanian by Andrei Codrescu



(from Lauda somnului, 1929)



Enchanted Mountain


I enter the mountain: a stone gate quietly shuts.

Dream and bridges fly me up.

What violet lakes! What vital time!

The gold fox barks from the ferns.


Holy beasts lick my hands: strange,

under a spell, they stalk with eyes turned within.

Buzzing through the sleep of crystals

the bees of death fly. And the years. The years.


Translated from the Romanian by Andrei Codrescu


(from La cumpana apelor, 1933)





Divine Touch


What apparition! Ah, what light!

A white star fell into the garden,


Unexpected, unsought. Luck,

arrow, flower, fire.


In the high grass, in the wide silk,

it fell from the house of time.


A star came back to our world.

My hands bear its scar.


Translated from the Romanian by Andrei Codrescu


(from La cumpana apelor, 1933)



At the Court of Yearning


Our vigils: flour sifters.

Time passes through—

white dust in our hair.

Rainbows catch fire still:

we wait. We await

the solitary hour

to share in the green

kingdom, the sunlit heaven.


We are still:

wooden spoons forgotten

in the gruel of long days.


We are the guests on the parch

of the new light

at the court of yearning,

neighbors of the sky.


We wait to catch a glimpse

through gold columns

of teh age of fire—

our daughters come out

to crown the doorways with laurel.


Now and then a tear springs up

to bury itself painlessly in the cheek—

who knows what pallid star it feeds?


Translated from the Romanian by Andrei Codrescu


(from La curtile dorului, 1938)






The tree starts. March echoes.

The bees gather and mix in their combs

awakening, honey, and wax.


Unsure between two borders,

its veins reaching under seven fields,

my tree, my chosen one, sleeps,

dragon of the horizon.


My tree.

The wind shakes it, March echoes.

The powers join together

to relieve it of the weight of its being,

to raise it from sleep, from its divine state.


From the height of the mountain

who sifts to cover it with so much light?


Like tears—the buds overwhelm it.

Sun, sun, why did you wake him?


Translated from the Romanian by Andrei Codrescu


(from La curtile dorului, 1938)




Magic Sunrise


This is the way it was, the way it will be always.

I wait with my flower of flames in my hand.

Disturbing my greatly exaggerated weeks

the moon powerfully rises.


An earthquake shakes the midnight spheres.

In space—river, shadows, towers, hooves.

The hieratic star liturgically undresses the country.


Up there in the light how fragile the mountain!

The gods' cities crumble in the eyes of children

like old silk.

How holy matter is,

all sound to the ear!



Translated from the Romanian by Andrei Codrescu



(from Nebanuitele trepte, 1943)





"A Man Bends over the Edge," "Heraclitus by the Lake," "The Magic Bird," "Old City," "Enchanted Mountain," "Divine Touch," "At the Court of Yearning," "Awakening," and "Magic Sunrise"

Reprinted from At the Court of Yearning, trans. with an Introduction by Andrei Codrescu (Columbus: Ohio State University Press/A Sandstone Book, 1989). Copyright ©1989 by the Ohio State University Press. Reprinted by permission of the Ohio State University Press.

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