Pick-a-Poem: Ileana Mălăncioiu


Good morning, readers, and welcome to Wednesday! If you’re reading this post, you’ve made it halfway through the week. Wednesday around here means that we feature a poem for your enjoyment and hopefully introduce you to some literature that you wouldn’t have found otherwise. Of course, we have found this poem thanks to Poetry Daily — go check them out. This week’s featured poem is Legend of the Walled-Up Wife, by Ileana Mălăncioiu. This poem is particularly interesting because it has been translated from the original Romanian.

According to the Poetry Daily site, Ileana Mălăncioiu, the original poet, “was born in 1940 in a village about 100 miles from Bucharest. She is considered a hero and visionary in Romania, where she lived under the oppressive Ceauşescu regime.” The translator, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin “is a Fellow and retired Professor of English at Trinity College, Dublin. She is a founder of Cyphers and a member of Aosdana. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Sun-fish, won the Griffin International Poetry Prize.”

Legend of the Walled-Up Wifeby Ileana Mălăncioiu

I am inside a wall like Manole’s wife Ana
Only that I am not Ana, and the one who walled me in
Has never had a dream in his life.

He enclosed me in a wall ready made,
In his own defensive wall
So that I would be neither inside his boundary
Nor outside.

He dreams only now at last
And moves to release me from the dry stone,
But he no longer knows where he walled me in.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem. For more, check out the archives!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


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