Doinas, Stefan Augustin

Romania, (1922-2002)

The Silver-fanged Boar

  1. A prince of the East, with good hunting in love,
  2. through dark heart of forest was threading his way.
  3. Although through the thickets ’twas painful to move
  4. he played on his bone flute and his men he’d pray:
  5. “Come over, to hunt, in the forests untrodden,
  6. the wild boar with silvery fangs, deadly fierce,
  7. its hoof, fur and vitreous eyes, apt to pierce.”
  8.  
  9. “Dear Lord,” said his servants and buglemen tame,
  10. “that wild boar does never to this place repair.
  11. Let’s rather bring this way the rich-antlered game,
  12. or reddish-furred fox, or some little field hare…”
  13.  
  14. His highness, however, passed on with a smile
  15. and looked through the trees with an eye for the hues,
  16. while sparing the sleep of the doe without guile
  17. and lynxes whose eyes always sparkle with ruse.
  18.  
  19. ‘mong hornbeams he trod evil weeds to the ground:
  20. “Behold! Signs are made in our close neighbourhood!
  21. The silver boar’s calling, while prowling around.
  22. Come over, let’s hit him with arrows of wood!”
  23.  
  24. “But Lord, it’s just water at play under trees.”
  25. a beater protested, his shrewd glance a bore.
  26. Yet turning, his highness replied just “Hush please!…”
  27. And water kept sparkling like fangs of a boar.
  28.  
  29. ‘mong elms he would urge on his scattering train;
  30. “Just look how the silver-fanged boar, lonley scion,
  31. is snorting and routing the grass in the plain!
  32. Come over let’s hit him with arrows of iron!”
  33.  
  34. “But Lord, it’s just grass which is rustling ‘mong trees,”
  35. the servant put in with a smile — bold and raw.
  36. The prince would insist, though, and answer “Hush please!”
  37. The grass was now sparkling like fangs of a boar,
  38. ‘mong fir-trees he urged them to climb to the crest:
  39. “Just look at the fairy-tale boar and admire
  40. the silver-fanged being’s abode, haunt and nest!”
  41.  
  42. “But Lord, it’s the moon that is beaming through trees,”
  43. the underling laughed and despised him e’en more.
  44. Yet, turning, his highness replied just “Hush please!”
  45. The moon was now sparkling like fangs of a boar.
  46.  
  47. But woe! As pale luminaries of the vault
  48. watched over the prince, on him pounced at a thrust
  49. a huge boar whose fangs, in a savage assault,
  50. soon dragged the prince down through the reddish-brown dust.
  51.  
  52. “What could be the strange beast that stains me with gore,
  53. thus stopping the chase for my silver-fanged boar?
  54. What bird in the moon can be weeping so sore?
  55. What sere leaf keeps flapping at me ever more?”
  56.  
  57. “Oh Lord! It’s the silvery boar’s fangs which glisten!
  58. It’s he that has caught you and grunts under trees.
  59. You’ll hear now the hounds have at him, if you listen!”
  60. Yet turning, his highness replied just “Hush please!
  61. But pick up your horn and with never a stop,
  62. Sound up to the clear sky until I’ve died, blow!”
  63.  
  64. ’twas then that the moon set behind a hill top.
  65. Indeed the horn blew, but soon ceased sounding, though.

© estate of Stefan Augustin Doinas.
Translation by Andrei Bantas.

About the Poet

Stefan Augustin Doinas (1922-2002). Romanian poet, wrote in the neoclassical style. Doinas produced 23 books of poetry as well as children’s books, essay collections and a novel during a career that spanned decades. His first poetry collection, The Book of Tides, was published in 1964. He also translated works by Goethe, Shakespeare and many others. [DES-6/09]

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A random image of a pig, hog, boar or swine from the collection at Porkopolis.