The poems ‘O Manuš Kai Bitinel Brîšind / The Rain Merchant’, ‘Destino / Fate’, ‘O Brîšind Sîm Me / The rain it’s Me’ and ‘Romane Îngerea / The Gypsy Angels’ were originally written in Romani and published together with English translations.
They are typical examples of Luminiţa Cioabă’s poetic universe, in which the main characters are not humans but ideas and natural phenomena such as Destiny, the Wind, Water, the Forest, Stone, Earth. Strong emotions and graphic expressions rule this universe – exuberant joy and sadness, passion and a sense of predestination, nature that is both quiet and wild, red-yellow clothing resembling a flame and calm water.
One layer of the interpretation of these poems is the Romani perception of and connection to the natural and supernatural. But the first-person narrative reveals complex and dramatic contemporary sensitivities. Thus, Cioabă builds on and deepens the oral literature through her Romani dialect and the creation of a highly individualist poetic realm.
Luminiţa Cioabă can be heard reading ‘O Manuš Kai Bitinel Brîšind’ (with a slightly different text), and ‘Destino’ in the RomArchive. The typed manuscripts were provided by the writer.
Note on the Romani transcription (Petra Cech)
Luminiţa Cioabă’s transcription of her Kalderash dialect partly follows the Romanian codification of sounds. The ‘schwa’ vowels (such as in the English final syllable ‘-tion’ – e.g. nation) in the Vlach Romani dialects reveal the Romanian influence and are codified in Romania with the letters ‘ă’ and ‘î’. The letter for ‘ts’ differs from the codification in the Latin alphabet used by other countries, namely ‘c’. Instead the letter ‘ţ’ (like in Romanian) and sometimes ‘ç’ (like in French) are used for ‘ts’ in Luminiţa’s poems.