I Live Again by Ileana, Princess of Romania
LOST SPIRIT

In the cold and empty night, empty of all life and light, my wandering spirit walks abroad.

Heavy snowflakes chasing through space fall noiselessly to the ground. White drifts are driven against that house of my parents in which I was born. Through a broken window moaning upon rusty hinges I try to look into those halls now empty of all but the beautiful and stately memories of the past.

Terrified, my spirit runs along the streets and alleys, looking for known faces, but encountering none save visages full of fear and pain. Shuffling feet now drag heavily where before the crowded, lighted streets echoed to the ring of happy steps. O Bucarest, beloved lost city, how sad has been your fate!

I search to find rest in other places: in a fold of the mountains. Here someone will receive me; I will knock at this door or that; the warmth of a peasant house shall wrap me around; here they will not be afraid.

I see myself go from gate to gate: the snow falls unceasingly, covering all traces. I knock at the windows; I call. Nothing. But here they knew me once! Nothing. The night is cold and silent, my spirit freezes. I let out a cry of hopelessness. Silence. The snow falls unfeelingly: I have not left a single mark where I have walked: I am but a poor lost and wandering spirit, searching paths once well known and loved. But now, today, how can a spirit without a voice be heard?

I had forgotten. I left these places long ago, and I died . . .

Buenos Aires
January, 1950