In Piatra din piatră [Stone of Stone], Valerică Stănescu reflects on the fate of the human being on Earth and on the destiny of Roma within society. The poetic ego asks itself about the meaning of life and offers itself as a guide for an honest, honourable and faithful existence in the world, addressing the youngest and the oldest alike.
Here, the child is not only the symbol of innocence but also of endless time and the infinite power of untouchable ideals. The elder symbolises not only wisdom but also the closeness of death. Deep faith in God runs like a continuous thread throughout the whole book, and the religious aspect is present in most of the verses. Life and death, hope and despair, love and hate are all sewn into the reflexive embroidery of philosophical poetry.
The poem ‘Ţărâna e ţărână’ [Dust is dust] reminds the reader that physical existence is evanescent and only spiritual life is immortal. It also hints at a (re-)emerging Romani identity (the sounds of horseshoes are heard) and the poem refers to time being ‘crushed by horseshoes’, which could be interpreted as a symbol for the persistent significance of one’s cultural or ethnic identity (see p. 19).
The poem ‘Neamul meu’ [My people] focuses on the importance of the mother tongue for the emergence of a Romani identity. It is linked to the ancestors who live in the souls of their offspring. Similarly, the Romani language is described as alive in spoken language and in dictionaries, but even more so in what one teaches to one’s own children. The Romani language is regarded as the deepest link between Roma (‘You and me, we are relatives / When we know our language’) as well as the main drive for real life (‘Why die now / Not tomorrow awake?’) (p. 32).
The poem ‘Piatră din piatră’ is about Christian faith in God: the metaphor of the stone is meant to symbolise Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind (p. 116).
Source of sample text
Stănescu, Valerică (201). Piatra din piatră. Bucharest: National Centre for Roma Culture – Romano Kher.