Perpetuum Mobile

By Marin Sorescu 1936–1996 Marin Sorescu

Translated By Michael Hamburger

Between people’s
and their realization
there is always
a greater drop
than in the highest
of waterfalls.

This potential gradient
can be exploited
if we build a sort of
power station above it.

The energy it supplies,
even if we use it only
to light our cigarettes,
is something
for while one is smoking
one can very seriously
think up
ideals even crazier.

“Perpetuum Mobile” from Selected Poems by Marin Sorescu, translated by Michael Hamburger. Published in 1983 by Bloodaxe Books.

Source: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 1983)

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Poet Marin Sorescu 1936–1996

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Sciences

Poetic Terms Free Verse


In 1964 the Romanian government relaxed its censorship policies, signaling a new openness to free expression. The nation's poets heeded that signal, and Romanian poetry experienced a striking revival. Poet and playwright Marin Sorescu is perhaps one of the most popular figures to emerge from Romanian literary culture in the years since.

Sorescu writes in a plainspoken, down-to-earth style spiced with sly humor. He responds to . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Sciences

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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