Scenes of the life of mister K

Mister K. got up at six o'clock
fried two eggs made a coffee went
out waited at the stop got on

tram number four arrived in front of a sky
high building got in stayed for eight hours
looked through papers went out

somewhat tired took the tram went back
home opened the fridge and searched
in the fridge lied down on the couch

read the newspaper and fell asleep and while
he was sleeping a snake came out of
mister K's pocket and gulped mister


Twilight poem

It was very boring in the central station
trains ran in but the passengers
went nowhere anymore

after a long time the waiter
poured wine in our glasses
we were looking out of the window
and didn't drink a single drop

nor did the coaches come to the door

the newspapers came out at six o'clock but

there was no one buying anything

it was a day that never ended

I was walking for a long time in the rain

but my clothes didn't get wet

and Dante was not writing anymore
nor did Danton get guillotined


The swimmer

There is a town
built by no one

there are streets no one ever walked
there are doors no one ever touched
windows no one can look through

a hundred lounge-chairs are uselessly aligned

along the sea wall

no knife was raised in the air

public telephones have not functioned yet

no sound has been heard yet
no stone rolled down from the mountain

every time the swimmer approaches the shore

he gets frightened

and turns back to the open sea


The sole

I'm alone under the monster's sole now
I can think peacefully about a lot
of things I can breathe in silence

I can curse I can lie I can imagine myself
a tenuous mountain or a butterfly and
I can slowly return into my own self

I can look into the transient mirror
I can be moved by my own words
I can change my mind I can die

I can shout from now on you can't do
anything to me I'm alone and in my bed
a woman gives birth to a god

I'm alone under the monster's sole I can
float over the wet field with my throat cut
I'm alone and I'm afraid I'm going to sing


On how this poem will end

On how this poem will end
nothing can be said just yet

I did not tell anyone yet
how this poem will end
hence the crowd gathered
before my window

nobody wants to miss the end
and each inhabitant of the town
watches me through a spyglass
I get up dress myself drink my coffee
I know I am exasperating
but I just can't tell
how this poem will end

even the king and the counselors
brought a few armchairs
sat down closer
and are waiting to see how this poem
will end


The dream of the poet before he became a horse again

I was dreaming that I became a horse again
happily running on the wet fields
and I knew that I had become a horse again and I wanted
never to wake up

and while I was happily running
I was terrified of a too painful awakening
and tried to get slowly used to the idea
that everything was a dream and everything would pass

and while I was gradually getting used
to the future awakening from my dream
deep inside me an evil spirit was waking up
yelling at me : you are a horse, you'll stay a horse
you'll never wake up again

and I knew he hated me
like any spirit who hates reality
and I was afraid of his words

and while I was trying to understand all that
deep inside the evil spirit
his conscience was waking up
yelling in its turn : liar
you know your dreams
are wicked and deadly

and I didn't quite believe
that all that happened was true
and I wished I could wake up just for a second
to be sure I existed

and in my room my things
were already divided in two parts one said
let's run away because the poet became a horse again
and the other said he is innocent
one day he will be back

and hearing their mean dialogue
I was ashamed of myself
and of my desire for running on the wet fields

and I was shouting : beasts, here I am, I exist
I'm not a horse, I am the most humble
of men

and passers-by stopped and looked over their shoulder
smiled amused and said :
look, a horse that talks


The beheading

The blind king has taken place in the armchair
the blind mob waits yelling
the blind king gives a sign
they bring up the blind convict

the blind headsman whets his axe
the blind soldiers drag the blind convict
shouting, hey, headsman, where are you ?
the blind headsman shouts, here, here,
follow the sound of the axe
I'm whetting

groping about, stumbling, cursing
the blind soldiers brought the blind convict
to the blind headsman

the blind headsman gets up and fumbles sneering at the blind convict
he says : put your head on the chump
the blind convict searches with his hands in the dust
searches the chump, finds it, fumbles it, places his head on it

the king trembles impatiently, what are you doing there ?
yells the blind king
why doesn't it start ?
yells the blind crowd
everything is ready, shouts the blind headsman
he raises his axe and strikes eagerly, beside, in the dust

then he starts fumbling, searching blood traces
the blind convict giggles, the headsman's hands touch him
are you here ? asks the blind headsman
I am here, answers the blind convict
are you ready ? shouts the blind king
well, is it over ? yells the blind mob


Conversation with the city dog

On the city streets the city dog
barks softly at me,
why do you bark at me, I ask him
I am alone, he answers
and I am overcome by fear

let's have a beer
I tell him
he laughs and says, are you crazy ?
what will the city say when you have a beer
with the city dog ?

I get mad and shout: I don't care,
you know, I don't care about your city,
I detest it, I hate it, I could
blow it up

why do you shout at me, asks
the city dog almost crying,
why do you shout at me so rudely ?

I am alone, I answer
and I am overcome by fear

precedent suivant

A morning in the park

In the silent perfect mornings
I take a walk in the municipal park
with the trumpet under my arm

I get on one of the wet benches
and start playing musingly
a man and a woman stop before me
listen excitedly then embrace each other
and moved he tells her from tomorrow
yes, from tomorrow on we'll change our life-style
we'll try to be happy go to
the movies discuss about art
collect postcards think about the big
truths every day towards evening
we'll hold hands and look into each other's eyes
and every twenty four hours
we'll try to do a good deed
and in the summer
oh, in the summer
we'll visit Bulgaria by coach


A dead body was found

In the wheat field was found a dead body
a tall body with thin hands
apart from that a few wet cigarettes
had fallen from his pocket

the two tractor drivers sat down tired
beside the robust body of the dead man
for a while they looked at it silently crushing
wheat grains with their grinders

then they lied down on their backs
looked at the sky more attentively than ever
after all one of them said
what have we made of our lives ?



Matei Visniec started to write poems very early, when he discovered the mystery of words and their ability of building imaginary worlds by such simple facts as associating them in an unusual or contradictory manner.

Later, in Bucharest, when he was a University student, Matei Visniec devoted a great part of his energy and of his dreams to poetry; he is part of a generation of poets, the 80s, that succeeded to change the Romanian literary landscape due to poetry.

Poetry was the secret weapon of denouncing, of political fight, of protest… And also: a space of freedom, a land of philosophical asylum…

Between 1980 and 1987 Matei Visniec published in Romania three volumes of poetry the latter of them, “The Wiseman at Teatime” received in 1985 The Prize of the Writers’ Union.

A great part of the poems presented here, translated in English by Alexandra Fenoghen were written in those times.


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