The country is poor
these are the days of want

Human fiber has been worn to the barren warp
we have lived through deepest historical fear
experienced highest historical ecstasy
been stripped of all that’s gone before
—the phantom of tomorrow, a wayward kite torn loose
from its string, lost without a trace

We have piled burden after burden on our backs
raised a sign above our lives
lived through hopelessness as vast as hope
soul and body had to be laid aside
in blind indecipherable forms
for seven years seventy-seven
and a myriad more beyond reckoning
as far as the most remote threshold of darkness
just this side of a new morning

Now for a moment we must sit in silence
in the manner of our ancestors
before any departure

Translated from the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin with the poet