Fountains in the sea

By Marin Sorescu 1936–1996 Marin Sorescu

Translated By Seamus Heaney and Ioana Russell-Gebbett

Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough.
Cunning life keeps asking for more and then a drop more.
Our ankles are weighted with lead, we delve under the wave.
We bend to our spades, we survive the force of the gusher.

Our bodies fountain with sweat in the deeps of the sea,
Our forehead aches and holds like a sunken prow.
We are out of breath, divining the heart of the geyser,
Constellations are bobbing like corks above on the swell.

Earth is a waterwheel, the buckets go up and go down,
But to keep the whole aqueous architecture standing its ground
We must make a ring with our bodies and dance out a round
On the dreamt eye of water, the dreamt eye of water, the dreamt eye of water.

Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough.
Come rain, come thunder, come deluged dams washed away,
Our thirst is unquenchable. A cloud in the water’s a siren.
We become two shades, deliquescent, drowning in song.

My love, under the tall sky of hope
Our love and our love alone
Keeps dowsing for water.
Sinking the well of each other, digging together.
Each one the other’s phantom limb in the sea.

“Fountains in the sea” from The Biggest Egg in the World by Marin Sorescu. Published by Bloodaxe Books in 1987. Used by permission of Bloodaxe Books.

Source: The Biggest Egg in the World (Bloodaxe Books, 1987)

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Poet Marin Sorescu 1936–1996

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

Subjects Relationships, Nature, Love, The Body, Romantic Love, Desire

Biography

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 Relationships, Nature, Love, The Body, Romantic Love, Desire

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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