Gellu Naum

Translated by Valery Oisteanu

Marvelous Garter Belts-

part I

After passing through the layers
by pressing sternly

Perhaps lower, or deeper
At the end of each cycle

A man was eating a stone

He managed to get some other explanations

All he was saying was true
with some small exaggerations

Afterwards he was eating mud unembarrassed

He would sit on a knoll cross-winged.

He brought me ten eggs. He was an animal.

Next to his photo there was a woman
From the time when she was alive

Often he would grow and kiss his shoes

He had a series of touching memories

Naturally he lived on her own breath

He had small coins leftover straw he would throw his galoshes over the fence


Note: I would have stayed next to her with my eyes
in a blank stare
As a dog in a forest of bones


part II + III

The Beautiful Rubbers

Another door to isolation

A few travelers were trying
To solve other people’s infection on their own skin

They were very committing suicide successfully at the inn

It’s where the liquids rust when in contact with air.

This could solicit our elation.

And perhaps inside it’s warmer.
Let’s get in quickly.
Serves us right.

The sky is like an eggplant.

Milk’s incest.

So many things were dying in our throat murdered by words.

Intentional wailing shadow a sham-light

Shadow’s Precision (Athanor 1968)

Every mouth grew leaves round the orbit of a sun
whose rustles, in any case, could be clearly heard.
At start-up he was waiting for the die. In his eyes, through fog’s faults
and stairs with no beginning
our total effigies were flashing.
We still ignored what bone he was cut from
but felt a kinship and accepted the square rolling
of this brother, brutal and appeasing.


Initially there were plenty of us
But one or another would see through the reeds
The reeds were lightly swinging
Swinging from the middle to the top
they would hit the floor like small pebbles
All around the light was ringing
next to a wall it was cold
a chair had sat down cross-legged

Initially there were plenty of us
But one or another would see through the reeds

Much Better

It’s much better to have leaves
better by far to remain somewhere full of leaves
Somewhere in your outline of coolness

Sure, you can’t read orange books
Nor sit cross-legged on a bench
Nor put your hat next to you
Or to chalk drawings on the asphalt

But when rains kneel you down too forcefully
You can shake the water off quietly and set out down the streets
and an immense round puddle will be left behind you
in whose center you can leave your hat as a wet fruit

I Had a Lot

I had a lot of grass, a lot
I was born and would put on my shoes on the grass
On the inside I was limestone
On the outside grass
The wind went whooo

It swayed me

Over the limestone’s sound it would deafen me
When it was cold my hands were shrieking
Maybe I was lightly knocking on a fence
Maybe it was grass growing inside the limestone
whooo went the wind
It swayed me
Maybe I was knocking inside the limestone

All Gellu Naum poems published with permission from Sebastian Reichmann, Rightsholders of Gellu Naum’s work publications for all foreign languages.

“The Marvelous Garter Belts” is from the book Description of the Tower (Litera Press, Bucharest 1975). “Exactness of the shadow,” ”Filter,” “Much Better,” and ”I had a lot” are from a book series The most beautiful poems 118 (Albatros Press, Bucharest 1970).