Cultural Forum: The Poet George Perdichi

George Perdichi was born in 1912 in the village of Perivoli and studied literature in Rumania. The fortunes of Hitler’s war brought him to America, but he was never happy here; it seems that the impersonal, materialistic aspects of our lifestyle offended his poet’s sensibility. I was fortunate enough to have known Giugica, as we called him, for he visited our house often. As a child, I rarely saw his deep sadness because the one antidote for it was being around his compatriots–thus, I remember him full of life and laughter. This poem, however, shows the heavy heart that lay behind those brief moments of joy.

Giugica died here in 1964, far away from his beloved Perivoli. The quality of his poetry was somewhat uneven, but the following is one of my favorites. Its title, Dipartarea, is difficult to translate; I prefer the simple word “Leaving.” (Note: Since the Aromanian alphabet is still not standardized I have used a modified English alphabet and hoped for the best.)

Tricu un anu di candu azbuirai A year has passed since I flew
di acasa. from my nest.
Disfechiu a meali peani I spread my wings wide,
Tra s-yinu aua tu xeani Took a strange land as my bride,
S-ni ascapa suskirarli dit inima Fleeing from anguish locked in
handoasa. my own breast.
Voi muntsa ‘naltsi, voi plaiuri, You tall mountains, you hill-sides,
paduri shi scumpa hoara, dear village and glen,
Voi locuri mult musheati You most beautiful of all places
Iu ni trapshiu a meali niati… Cradle of children with bright red faces…
La voi nu va mi tornu s-va vedu I’ll not be returning to see
ninga-na oara. you again.
Tu dipartari apusit cu You set with the sun of my
tineretsli a meali. youth as I watched from afar.
Mirakili ni si ngrupara, My passions were buried
Mi dipartai di hoara, In your dust as I hurried
Di sotsi, parei, di numtsa sh-di From home, friends, and weddings,
feati ca steali. from girls pretty as stars.
Cum liai si-aruki lilichea sh-u Just as you reach to tear up a flower,
alashi apoia theama then leave it awhile
S-maranghiseasca ghini, To wilt and decay
Turlia ‘tsea sh©cu mini… So I, too, have wasted away…
Maranghisitu—maratlu—tu O miserable withered me,
nfarmacata xeana! drinking the poison of exile!
Cand eu beam apa, Pinde, dit O Pindus, when I drank from
Izvurli-ts ca sherki, your serpentine fountains,
Ni parea ca ni creashti geanlu It seemed my life’s spirit grew
Iar oclili yii c’aslanlu ‘Til I became a dashing hero whose
Ascapira ca truplu lu aveam ca Eyes flashed lightning, whose
di chiuleki. steeled body moved mountains.
Tu inima atumtsea purtam In those days I bore only joy
haricupie. in my heart
Nvirnari asandz portu, Now like a pallbearer,
Canda jilescu var mortu; forlorn, Wherever I walk, I mourn;
Jilescu Armanamea araita ca I mourn a plundered flock: My
cupie. own people torn apart.
Mi doari, ca, pri plaiuri iu My pain is on the hillsides
alagam ‘na oara, where I used to run,
Nu am s-mi priimnu lailu On roads I cannot walk today
Tu muntsi cand yini Mailu Up, up, into the mountains in May
Apoia toamna candu mi And down again in autumn, when
dispartsamu di hoara. cold rains come.
Aua, u-adutsi oara, tra s-dau di Here now, it’s time I ran into
var di a nostru one of our own who
Azbuirat di atseia Has flown away from there
Cu el s-ni facu parea… We’ll make such a pair…
Habari cand nas ni-adutsi ca When he brings me news from home
marmura stau mprostu. I’ll stand proud as a statue.
Ni si deapina tu minti iconili The icons of lost youth go
fichiureshti: ’round in my mind:
Mi ved fichior tu muntsa, I emerge from the woods and am heading
La muabetsi, la numtsa, Now to a party, now to a wedding,
Trag cor cu picurarli tu porturi Now to pull kilted shepherds as
armaneshti. we dance hand-in-hand all in line.
Aleapta geanlui vruta, livenda- Dear rosy-cheeked beloved,
arushcuvana, chosen of my heart,
Cari dau di u aduc aminti When I would bring her to mind
Tsiva nu ved nainti… The only image I find
Ved mashi un harishu anghil tu Is of a graceful angel in a
harisha icoana. golden icon’s art.


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