Two Poems, by Nina Cassian

Two Poems
~Nina Cassian

 

 

Purity

 

Amazing solitude.

Only me and my cigarette,

and this tiny dragonfly

painted in Moldavian monastery blue.

 

Nothing threatens me,

not even the sun.

The sky is an immense cloud

made of mother-of-pearl.

The lake is an immense cloud

made of mother-of-pearl.

I am the mermaid of the lake.

– I am an infinite melody

like the murmur of the rain.

 

And I am clean,

like the poem I’m writing.

 

 

A  Withered  Rose

 

A withered rose is a withered rose

is a withered rose.

Its head bows in mourning,

it sheds pink petals

like enormous tears.

 

My head also contemplates the floor

where nothing grows.

 

 

 

Nina Cassian, poet, born in Romania in 1924, has published over sixty books, including works of fiction and children’s books. She is also a composer and translator (notably of three Shakespeare plays), and was a journalist and film critic. Since 1985 she has lived in New York City, having remained in the West for fear of reprisals in the then communist Romania of Ceauşescu. Her work is now published again in Romania. Her selected poems in translation Life Sentence (Anvil 1990; new edition 1998) confirmed her worldwide reputation. In the US, her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, New England Review, and American Poetry Review. Continuum (Norton 2009) is her latest collection.

 

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