Simona-Grazia Dima


Simona-Grazia Dima








The heroes with faces burned

were moving forward, pillars of salt,

towards that imponderable sun,

towards the invisible spring,

whose bud was slipping out of hands,

was fleeing and becoming an age.

And the moan of the heroes was digging tunnels

in the rocks of the future.

In one of their sighs

entire tribes were contained,

who had time to wander in the desert

and on lakes, to catch miraculous birds

and fish, to set up tents

and take them down,

to build cities,

to help each other in a friendly way

and destroy each other in intrigues,

to dream and multiply

in intricate and cruel

love stories;

they had time …






Do not tempt me, invading richness,

with your hills of myrrh and sandalwood;

leave my children undisturbed;

do not set your traps

of a deep ruddy colour before them.

There are houses in ruin; there are desolate walls

that know how to live happily,

listening to how time ties the threads,

without urging the dream to follow its tracks;

give up for once, you febrile richness,

your greedy eagle flight;

do not pass by this place,

with your jolting carts of flowers;

you, false richness, do not tempt me,

with your thunders and your hail,

which cannot bring abundance,

and your hurried troops, with eyes fixed on the ground –

false abundance, uproar of larvae,

a terrible noise among the blind germs swarming.

Do not look for distance so fanatically;

let the self-sufficient ones sleep,

and leave me my light hand

uncorrupted by dreaming,

rich in itself as the leaf in the knowledge of water;

lay out just a few lines, clearly,

just as the wave is written by the sea,

and go, renew yourself in the earth.






A touch –

between those who love each other –

The mind gently lying down on the ground

dares not disturb the clods;

the soil is afraid not to hurt

its white, slender legs,

veined with light –

They go in together,

fearing for the wellness and strength of the other,

into the great love.






The soil is made

to keep living,

on visible lines,

in an unknown trade,

the art of the sea, watched in the deep

by a fallen angel,

trying, with his violet mouth,

to sip the child skating

freely above,

on rivers flowing through deltas towards the sea,

ever more scattered, looser,

on the bottom of the ocean;

only later, secretly,

with those of the child

over the waters


they will unite,







You are flying fast, luminously,

over the upset landscape,

submerged under the lava which

richness uncontrollably generates,

along with whirlwinds of smoke.

What a torture it seems to be,

the flames rising backwards,

sealing the source of desire

with slag and brambles.

But the end was well thought out –

the silver body is flashing in silence,

blowing cooling steam.

And a fern shades its interior,

a boat sailing quietly

on gentle, sheltered waters –

how well everything was written;

the cramped joints of the landscape

are smoothed into the gold tendons

of the flawless story,

a tall ark with ivory pillars,

under which that calm body consents

quietly, whispering…

air and convoys of birds…






There is no crossing place

except through the heart of mixture,

through the fiery honeycomb gurgling and

melting the limbs.

Between the threads of a wise spider’s web

with a golden body,

you make your way

shovelling with your wings,

towards the clouds of a gentle heart.

There is no other crossing place;

walking leaves seaweed and smoke on the skin

and the lustre of the depths,

while the memory of places will follow you

even after they have been left behind,

while now you are swimming in other hearts,

in other waves.






When you sit half asleep at night,

you will suddenly see the geometry of things

breathing lightly, a spongy sea star,

with finely ragged edges,

like wings of animals

recreating themselves at the bottom of the water.

In vain you will try to scream,

weep or rejoice;

it will keep throbbing,

without hearing you,

the night will gag you

and it will be completely different

from how you thought –

an animal smiling in the waves,

raising its head towards remote shores,

as if sniffing out the cardinal points –

then is the time when your geometry

comes back to you from childhood,

wandering over the waters like a fish made of light,

and you shudder, bitten by a sturgeon;

you see yourself minutely climbing

the shining steps,

now brave and victorious,

now hesitating with your hand raised,

melting, a submerged salt pillar,

and letting things scatter through your fingers

in whirlwinds of petals and golden tides –

you wonder that you do not yet see any loss,

now all have gathered, gently,

a swarm of pollen stationary on a stone,

bathed in the maths of the sea, the true maths,

when, over the waves, the calculations continue,

and mathematicians discover its core

only in dreams or in death,

after maths has fulfilled itself, entirely and richly.

Then things come out, obediently, from between the hills of sand,

so happy in themselves, with their foreheads deepened into spheres.

Fear not; among them there are silent spaces,

from which hawks and eagles are springing

with radiant faces,

turned silently

towards you.






Ancient and gentle mountain,

keep us hidden weeds,

in your forest girdle,

us, the vassals of poetry;

leave our foreheads shining

with brilliant ashes,

in the wind of rebirth,

which roars under branches,

with our eyes fixed

on the rays arising

from the eyes of the masters.

You do not leave us at any moment,

but you keep changing our place,

so we could make the organ of the forest play,

while we are transfigured by the intersecting currents –

we are wandering from storey to storey,

with the never-fading

bouquet in hand,

emerging younger and younger

from among the changing organ registers.






The little beings are advancing, swinging

in the bright night,

through the rays, crossed by strands of rain;

they are flying with their faces sometimes in the light, sometimes in the abundance of raindrops;

they are surrounding the place and entering further into the night.

Their round eyes, imbued with light and water,

catch a glimpse of a being

which is born nebulously before their eyes;

they are circling it tremulously,

watching it grow in blasts of rain and rays,

until its marble core can be seen,

like a skeleton in the foggy flesh.

When life’s inchoate essence

(a breeze of the world renewed),

flutters over the domains,

the house with its walls of stone and wheat appears

out of night’s lands;

the little beings watch it further

from the rain, from the light,

until it no longer changes,

it no longer moves,

but grows amidst delicate laughter,

always in the middle,

close by, unknown.






The thing is alone and asleep;

gently I took it out from its veils

and I saw its roots

as they tied themselves to other things around,

silently, golden silk flashing in melodious

nets, so that I could draw it out

and put it round my neck, like a string of beads,

a soft stone among the others.






The thing does not run towards anyone;

it raises its bread in the wild room,

where a sign is seen blinking

blue in the smoke of the wine

and that is you.

There is always desert in front and behind,

but somebody driven by love

comes on a leafy road,

towards the young thing, the tamer of fear,

standing fresh in the soul of the harvest,

among doves and waves of grain –

he who has sent his signs

before being known,

he who strikes his guest

with the lightning of abundance

from the ocean of his nameless power,

bestowing it in a whisper.




Translated from Romanian by

Adriana Ioana Nacu, Martin Potter and Simona-Grazia Dima














Simona-Grazia Dima is a poet, essayist, literary critic and translator born in Timişoara, the city of the 1989 Romanian Revolution. Her parents Valentina Dima and Simion Dima are both writers. She graduated from the Department of English language and literature of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Timişoara, as a national valedictorian. Her literary debut took place very early, when she was only 7 years old, with a sketch which won a prize at the competition launched by the Puppets State Theatre in Timişoara and was staged there and also on tours throughout the country as well as in Italy (Modena).


Since 2003 she has been editor with the Romanian Academy in Bucharest. Member of the Romanian Writers’ Union since 1990, secretary general of the Romanian PEN-Club Centre (since 2006). She is a regular contributor to the major Romanian literary reviews with poems, literary criticism, essays, translations etc.


Selections from her poetry and essays have been translated into English, French, Italian, German, Hungarian, Slovak, Turkish, Scottish Gaelic, Macedonian, and were published in literary magazines abroad. She is present in various anthologies edited in Romania and abroad, in many collective books. She has participated in many literary festivals and has been a member of literary juries.


Simona-Grazia Dima is the author of 17 books, among which 12 are poetry collections: Calm Equation (1985), Mornings of Thought (1989), Jacob’s Ladder (1995), Roman Night (1997), Mathematical Fire (1997), A Tiger’s Confessor (1998), The Last of the Etruscans (2000), Apocryphal Journeys (2000), Wounds Have the Right to Remain Open (2003), When Lightning Starts Flaring (2009), The Inner Space of Things (2011), The Journey into the Rose’s Petals (an anthology, 2013). She has also published four collections of essays and criticism, and a translation of a work about oriental thought.


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