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Radu Gyr

2/03/1905 – 29/04/1975

Radu Gyr (Demetrescu) was an extraordinary man, with a heart as large as the sky with its beauties! He spent many years in communist extermination camps, suffering extreme punishments. In spite of these tortures, Radu Gyr wrote very daring pieces of literature, while suffering of diverse illnesses and depravations in prison, and after his fierce detention. He was a remarkable leader, within the Legion of Archangel Michael, the only true Orthodox movement of the 20th century.

The following passage is translated from the address below, containing fragments written by Octavian Voinea who spent time in prison with Radu Gyr: http://ortodoxinfo.ro/2017/04/29/sinaxarul-sfintilor-din-inchisori-marele-poet-national-radu-gyr/

“Romanian literature without Radu Gyr looks like an ugly bride… The Lord did not forget us completely, as He sent to us a guide, a guardian angel, who as a maestro, knew how to play the harp while we were on the way of despair…  Radu Gyr was not a strategist to lead the Legion of the Archangel Michael through the swamp of those times of darkness. He was the fire which melted the strongest steels. He was a light not just for his comrades, but for the whole Romanian nation.

“In the twentieth year of his imprisonment, these villains thought to give the tone of re-education with him, Radu Gyr. To make him to bow his head in front of the haughty persecutors! His name and his poems were interwoven with prayers to God, from all the tormented ones. Radu Gyr tasted in full the barbarian regime of the extermination prisons. When he was on the brink to die, he was taken to the infirmary to be ‘saved’, for new tortures.

Radu Gyr, the great poet, died on 29th of April 1975, twelve years since his release from imprisonment. In complete silence all the ones who knew him, the heart of the Orthodox Movement, prayed to the Lord for his soul who departed. Radu Gyr was buried on 2nd of May, just on the Great Friday, when the Christians commemorate Christ’s Crucifixion…

Radu Gyr’s poetry is so great, that if it would be published entirely, the whole atheist & communist gatherings would hide in the most remote places of the rubbish bin of history, where nobody will search anything, anymore. Radu Demetrescu Gyr is not just a Romanian poet, but he is belonging to the whole mankind, as a guidance and glory to the generations to come.”

Presently, our beloved Radu Gyr is again ostracized by serious attempts to remove his name given to certain places, as a memorial. Our brother into Christ, born as a Jew, was a staunch Orthodox believer who was also trying to appease the ones from his old stock. This is one of the main reasons for such on-going punishments, until today… On his death bed, Father George Calciu, another Saint of the Prisons, said:  “They will fight with us as dead, but we will be next to you, the living, who are fighting the oppressor. Even not alive on this earth, we will be victorious!”

We tried to translate into English a specific poem, written in prison. While being punished for many years, this particular production attracted death punishment for Radu Gyr! It was one of those moments when the oppressor was really stumbling. Many, many of his companions learnt it by heart and passed it to the others. In the most recent years (after 1990) this poem was ‘legally’ published in Romania, and looked at as a ‘new’ discovery.  On the other hand, it was hard to translate such poetry due to the extraordinary language used: yes, almost impossible to discover equivalent words in English, to the Romanian ones. Nevertheless, we tried…

Get up you George and get up you Johnny!

Not for a fresh bread made in the oven,
not for the barns or acres and tawny,
but for tomorrow free air unwoven,
get up you George and get up you Johnny!

For your people’s blood spilled on the plains,
for your vivid chants nailed by the brawny,
for your bright tear that’s kept in the chains,
get up you George and get up you Johnny!

Not for the gnashing of teeth in distaste,
but collect shouting on meadows bonny
heap of horizons and stars that are chased,
get up you George and get up you Johnny!

Like that go to drink the freedom from pail
to immerse like a sky in its jolly
apricots flowers snowing on you, hail,
get up you George and get up you Johnny!

And then to touch with your embracing kiss
on Icons, porch, doors and on balcony,
on things of freedom you encounter bliss,
get up you George and get up you Johnny!

Get up you George, on ropes and on chains!
Get up you Johnny, holy bones from gorge!
upwards to light after fire full reigns,
get up you Johnny and get up you George!

Ridica-te Gheorghe, ridica-te Ioane!

Nu pentru-o lopată de rumenă pâine,
nu pentru patule, nu pentru pogoane,
ci pentru văzduhul tău liber de mâine,
ridică-te, Gheorghe, ridică-te, Ioane!

Pentru sângele neamului tău curs prin şanţuri,
pentru cântecul tău ţintuit în piroane,
pentru lacrima soarelui tău pus în lanţuri,
ridică-te, Gheorghe, ridică-te, Ioane!

Nu pentru mania scrâşnită-n măsele,
ci ca să aduni chiuind pe tapsane
o claie de zări şi-o căciula de stele,
ridică-te, Gheorghe, ridică-te, Ioane!

Aşa, ca să bei libertatea din ciuturi
şi-n ea să te-afunzi ca un cer în bulboane
şi zărzării ei peste tine să-i scuturi,
ridică-te, Gheorghe, ridică-te, Ioane!

Şi ca să pui tot sărutul fierbinte
pe praguri, pe prispe, pe uşi, pe icoane,
pe toate ce slobode-ţi ies inainte,
ridică-te, Gheorghe, ridică-te, Ioane!

Ridică-te, Gheorghe, pe lanţuri, pe funii!
Ridică-te, Ioane, pe sfinte ciolane!
Şi sus, spre lumina din urmă-a furtunii,
ridică-te, Gheorghe, ridică-te, Ioane!

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