This part of modern romanian history is mainly unknown to the general public – Aiud, Pitesti, Baia Sprie are the names that to most don’t mean anything. Nevertheless for the entire romanian nation these terrible prisons were the places where it won the spiritual warfare against the communist regime. The proof is right here, just read this poem written by Radu Gyr. But before that, maybe you would like to know something about him – the man whom Ioan Ianolide called: a mountain of suffering, dignity and disperation.
Radu Gyr is a great poet, who sang in his poetry the suffering of an entire generation. He composed thousands of poems without writing a single one of them. He memorized them. Why? Because he spent most of his adult life in prison. He did prison in 4-5 stages. Only in 1955-58 he had a window of liberty. It was a period when communist regime was enforcing itself with authority and there was one enemy left – the peasants. They were dealt with by means of collectivization . The protest against actions of dicatorial regime was expressed in poems by Radu Gyr who was the first victim of the regime and was subsequently imprisoned for expressing his opinion. Out of 20 years he spent in prison, for 1 year he stayed with his hands and feet shackled waiting the death sentence to be executed.
This is the first poem of him that I would like to share with you:
Matanii (in christian orthodox practice matanii means prostrations)
Lord, out of humility
make a golden bridge, a high bridge,
and out of tears a covering
as upon a soft warm bed.
Out of unjust blows,
honey and wine,
out of defeat, ladders and steps,
and from falls, an alpine climb.
Out of poison in the jug
make perfumes that do not fade.
Out of each wound,
a censer, incense rising to heaven.
Out of any disaster
or of any disaster
or dusk extinguished in the breast,
O Lord, make a blue bird
and vouchsafe a smile, O So Wise.
Translated by mother Alexandra (Ileana, Princess of Romania)