Rinduieli, de Marin Sorescu
La noi muierea pupa mâna bărbatului
Back home cocksuckersiii kiss the hand of the man,
Până mai adineauri – zicea Marin al lui Pătru,
Şi din dumneata nu-l scotea niciodată,
And never referred him other than "you"vi
Îi făcea trei, patru copii, dar nu îndrăznea să-i zică tu,
She'd give him three, four children but never dared give him thou,
Cele mai mândre, care se ambiţionau, nu-i ziceau nicicum.
The proudest ones, that made a point of it, didn't reference him at all.
Femeia are socotelile ei, ea să ţină de coada cârpătorului,
Woman has her own pointsvii, she's to hold the end of the cutting board
Să ţină oala de mănuşă, la foc, să stea ciucită la vatră
To hold the pot by the glove, to kneel before the fire
Şi să lase politica – de asta ne ocupăm noi, asta e pentru oameni –
Not to mingle in politics, that is for human beingsviii
Femeia, ce ştie femeia?
Woman, what's woman know ?
Ea să şteargă sticla lămpii, să alinieze clondirele pe corlată,
She's to wipe the glass of the lamp, to allign bottles against the stove
Să fie toate drepte, aşa să tragi cu aţa,
So they're all straight, like threaded
Să te tragă, să-ţi pună ventuzele şi să nu-ţi iasă din vorbă
To massage you, to place leeches, and to not go out of your word.
Că ce ştie ea?
Because what does she know ?
Înainte n-o prea vedeai la faţă, că purta maramă,
Afore you barely saw her face, for she wore maramaix
Zăvelca lungă, acolo, abia-i sclipeau gleznele,
And long clothes, her ankles barely sparkling through
Dar o ghiceai pe-a frumoasă – şi-o furai, domnule,
But you could guess the beauty - and you'd steal her, mister
O luai pe cal, şi-o făceai muierea ta, era o dulceaţă,
You'd take her on your horse and you made her your cocksucker, it was a sorbetx
Dar acum pe cine să furi? Uitaţi-vă-n jur, pe cine să furi?
But today, whom to steal ? Look around, whom's worth it ?
Altfel era viaţa, mai tacticoasă, umblai în cămaşă lungă până
Otherwise the flow of life then, more considerate, you'd go about in a long shirt until
Spre douăzeci de ani, că ziceau că eşti copil, la douăzeci de ani
Closing in on twenty years, they held you for a child, at twenty still
Îmbrăcai izmenele, te-ncingeai cu brâul şi plecai după fete,
Then you'd take on the breeches and go out for girls
Le încântai din fluier.
You charmed them with the flute
Nu mai sunt rânduielile alea, treierai cu caii,
There are no longer those rules, you threshed with horses
Vedeai cum se suceşte lanţul pe steajăr, la urmă-ntorceai caii,
You saw how the chain turns on the wooden guard, then turned the horses
Rămânea jos grâul ca aurul. Aveai stupi, oi,
Wheat left below like gold. You had bees, sheep
Beai câte-un putinei de lapte bătut şi te ştergeai la gură cu mâtca,
You'd drink a barrel of buttermilk, wipe your mouth
Mâncai un geac de brânză, coceai floricele,
Eat a chunk of cheese, bake popcorn
Nici mălaiul nu mai e
Ground corn isn't
Aşa de dulce, când îl spoia mama cu cocă
As sweet anymore, when mother painted it in dough
Şi făcea pe deasupra flori cu lingura ,
And made above flowers with the spoon
După aia îl băga-n ţest.
Then she'd stick it in the Dutch ovenxi
Zăbicul are alt gust.
The cornbreadxii has a different taste.
Şi vitele parcă sunt mai proaste, că ţin minte
And the cattle is dumber, for I remember
Când se ducea mama să mulgă vacile în obor,
When mother went to milk the cows in the cattleyard
Viţeii, care stăteau aleşi în curte, cum o vedeau cu oala în mână
The calves, picked out into the other yard, as soon as they saw her with the pot in hand
Săreau, se gudurau pe lângă ea.
Jumping, begging around her
Ştiţi că şi anul acesta Prica iar mi-a rămas stearpă?
You know that this year Prica again was left barren ?
Şi vitele sunt mai proaste, ascultaţi-mă pe mine.
Cattle is dumber, believe me
Poţi să discuţi cu femeia lucrurile astea? Că nu poţi.
Can you talk of this with the woman ? For you can't
Nici copii nu mai face ca lumea,
Nor children does she make properly anymore
Să-ţi umple casa, să te simţi om,
To fill your house, so you could feel a man
Una-două îi leapădă, zice că a râvnit la varză acră şi n-a
Găsit la repezeală şi i-a lepădat,
Find any quickly and so she dropped
Ori c-a râvnit la cireşe iarna, şi de unde să ia, şi s-a stârpit,
Or that she yearned for cherries in the winter, and there being none to find, she was extinguished
Bazaconii – nu vor să dea-n greu,
Bullshit - they don't want to fall heavy
De-aia s-a-mpuţinat lumea.
Which is why the world's growing thin
Înainte când veneau turcii pe-aici cine-i lua la palme? – câte zece-doisprezece
Back when, the Turks came here, who'd grab them by the scruff - ten-twelve
Săreau din câte-un copac pe turc, lui Baba Novac pe-aici îi plăcea
Jumping out of the tree per Turk, Baba Novacxv here liked
Să se bată cu ei, de ne lăuda şi Mihai Viteazul:
To fight them, even Michael the Bravexvi lauded us
„Daţi mă, băga-i-aş la ududoi, să mai stea şi pe-acasă.”
Hit them boys, may I see them low in the valley, let them spend more time at home
Dar discută astea cu Maria Bălii – uite-o că vine – toată ziua prin odăi – să vezi ce zice,
But talk of this with Mary of Balea - here she comes - all day among walls, see what she says
Că ea a stat toată viaţa cu fundu’ pe cămaşă degeaba şi nici tabla
She's sat a lifetime butt on shirt for no gain and not even
Înmulţirii n-o ştie.
The multiplication table's unfamiliar to her
– Mărie, cât fac fă, nouă ori opt? Care e, fă, capitala Portugaliei?
Mary, what's nine times eight ? What's the capital of Portugal, bishxvii ?
– Însoară-te, mă, Târziule, şi nu mai lozi aci, cu copiii,
Marry, yo, Lately, stop derping about here with the children
Că ai şi-nceput să iei culoarea cerii.
For you're already taking the color of beeswaxxviii
– Păi găseşte-mi tu una, care să-mi placă şi să-mi pupe mâna la comandă,
Find me one yourself, that I like and willing to kiss my hand on command
Că acum o iau.
I'll take her right now
– În nădejdea aia, vezi să nu te pupe moartea rece.
In this hope, mind that Death not kiss you cold.
Nea Marin al lui Moşu Pătru se apropia bine de cincizeci de ani,
Mr. Marin son of Old Manxix Peter was closing in on fifty years
Dar nu se hotăra să se-nsoare, toate aveau câte-un cusur,
But couldn't make his mind to marry, all had a flaw
Era poreclit Târziu, dar numai Maria Bălii îndrăznea să-i spună în faţă,
His nickname was Lately, but only Mary of Balea dared say it to his face
Deştept, iscoditor, cunoştea bine ce-a fost înainte pe la noi,
Smart, inquisitive, well versed in the things of yore
Avea parcă alt puls, dat cu o sută de ani în urmă,
He had almost a different heartbeat, given a century prior
Lăcrima sec pentru stricarea rânduielilor şi după cum citise el în
He cried without tears for the breaking of the orders and as he had read in
Norii de la cornul Caprii, nu era de-a bună.
The clouds of the Goat Horn, it wasn't boding wellxx
Se-ntoarce lumea cu curu-n sus şi se scufundă pământul.
The world is turning upside down and the earth sinks
Casa lor bătrână, de moşneni domoli şi aşezaţi,
Their old house, of calm and settled freeholders
Intra încet în pământ.
Slowly sunk into the ground———
- Rind means row. Rinduieli denotes the preconstitutional normative body governing a society, a body politic made of tradition matter and preserved orally. [↩]
- Somewhat askew, awkward Romanian poet, novelist, playwright and painter. Debuted with a volume of parodies (Alone Among Poets) in '64, ended up with an incandescent following filling stadiums like for Morrison. "I'm not a smoker for which reason I can't quit smoking, I'm not a writer for which reason I can't quit writing." Ill with cirrhosis and hepatitis, he had the decency to die from a coronary like important people. [↩]
- English is a retarded language. The available synonyms for "woman" are "daughter, girl, mother, she, wife, aunt, gentlewoman, girlfriend, grandmother, matron, niece, spouse" and tedious bullshit like that. Romanian has femeie, which is the plain gender indication, working exactly like woman does in English, including "Woman, mind your house!", "Femeie, vezi-ti de casa!" and then muiere, which is used here, likely a cognate of muie, which means both face and the act of fellatio.
You need better words, yo, and to get better words you need better lifestyles. [↩]
- Apparently "feminism" "having destroyed" "a better, older order" is hardly a novel trope. Older than they think, older than dirt, who knows. [↩]
- Romanian has a male equivalent for Mary, Maria-Marin, just like English sports John-Joan say. Furthermore, traditional Romanian society references people's identities much in the way Spanish or Russian creates names. X of Y's. [↩]
- As you perhaps know, you is the polite form, except English managed to lose thou and with it the T-V distinction. [↩]
- Points of pride, points of being held accountable, callings if you will. [↩]
- As in men, from manhood. As opposed to women. [↩]
- A square headcover, it works in a manner very similar to the arab shayla - which, by the way, is in no way specifically muslim. The mother of Jesus wears a very similar thing in most catholic depictions, it was simply female head dress for most of both white and semitic cultural history - of which major, notable, important and perennial tradition the United States is a very minor, very insignificant part. [↩]
- Literally, "a sweetness", but this figurative mistake works better. [↩]
- Apparently it's not that Dutch, what can I say. [↩]
- It literally is dense cornbread fried in oil in a special pig iron/clay small box. [↩]
- Theory being that pregnant woman's yearnings, if unsatisfied, will negatively impact the child. This theory was popular, as a trivial but perhaps effectual means for the enslaved sex to achieve a modicum of power in revanche, and for being popular it was efficient to the degree it even ended up codified - for instance in Napoleon's time no merchant could prosecute a pregnant woman for eating whatever of his wares she may have eaten. [↩]
- Sour cabagge is a delight, I still relish it to this day. Basically cabagge pickled in salt over a few Autumn months. [↩]
- Famous Romanian medieval general. [↩]
- First guy to unite the Romanian principalities, 1601. [↩]
- Fa is exactly that, old Romanian bish. [↩]
- Reference to death and decay. [↩]
- This is a title, in the context used, reaching old age being an achievement for the peasantry. [↩]
- Apparently this "impending doom" belief of the displeased conservative is also an old trope. [↩]