Obviously, I’m not like
Any of those weavers of words
Who knit their suits and their careers
Their glory and their pride,
Although I mix with them
And they look at my words as if they were
“How well-dressed you are!” they say;
“That poem looks so good on you!”
Always unaware
That poems aren’t my clothes,
But my bones –
Painfully extracted
And placed around my flesh like a shell,
Following the example of tortoises
That manage to survive that way
For long and unhappy


Ana Blandiana is one of Romania’s foremost poets, a leading dissident before the fall of communism. Unaware talks about how poetry is not embelishment but the very act of exposing essential parts of ourselves to the world, parts that sustain our existence.


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