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Adrian Pascu-Tulbure, 3rd prize (18-and-under)
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Catrene improvizare
           (ilustrului Taslaoanu)


Ca o cometă fără coadă
Ai apărut pe firmament
Cu-al tău Luceafăr pus pe sfadă, –
     Dar n-ai talent.

Ai tot ce-ţi trebuie: hârtie,
Cerneală, public indulgent,
Parale şi tipografie, –
     Dar n-ai talent.

Te-ai instalat în Capitală
Ca să creezi şi tu curent.
Vrei să te-afirmi ca cap de şcoală, –
     Dar n-ai talent.

La cafenea când vii alene
Îţi iei un aer grav, absent...
Satisfăcut te umfli-n pene, –
     Dar n-ai talent.

Iar când te duci să scrii acasă
Un nou articol vehement,
Te strâmbi urât, te-aşezi la masă...
     Dar n-ai talent.

Avântul tău şi idealul
Plasat în ţară cu procent
Îţi saltă-ntruna capitalul, –
     Dar n-ai talent.

Constaţi de două ori pe lună
Că-ţi dă bilanţul excedent.
Negustoria merge strună, –
     Dar n-ai talent!

Eşti fără scrupul şi măsură
Când vrei să scapi de-un concurent.
Îţi fierbe sufletul de ură, –
     Dar n-ai talent.

Nu ne distruge dintr-o dată,
Catone, fii mai indulgent!
Tu ai o mutră indignată, –
     Dar n-ai talent...


George Toparceanu
Impromptu quatrains
            (To a journalist)


O Hack! in comets' fine apparel
Proud on the firmament you stood,
Your rising star ready to quarrel –
But you're no good.

You've all you need: a press; cash; paper;
Ink; the belief the public would
Indulge your journalistic capers –
But you're no good.

Bright-eyed and poison-penned, you sauntered
Into the Press's neighbourhood;
You tried to set our trends, but faltered –
For you're no good.

You lounge in modish cafes, scheming
To advertise your distant mood,
Self-satisfied and yet bohemian –
But you're no good.

And when you go back home to scribble
A line that's sharp and well construed,
You sit and scratch and scowl and squiggle –
For you're no good.

Your zest for showmanship and business
Is notable, agreed. One could
Give honour to your rates of interest –
But you're no good.

Your favourite bank's twice-monthly letters
Confirm your cash spawns, as it should;
Your salesmanship could not be bettered. . .
But you're no good.

Unscrupulous, you damn in torrents
When out to get a rival stewed.
Your soul boils over with abhorrence –
But you're no good!

Don't scorch us with your column's fire!
Indulge us; show you understood!
Your features seethe with righteous ire,
But you're no good. . .


Translated from the Romanian by Adrian Pascu-Tulbure
  [Commentary on the poem by the translator]   



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