Cellular oxygen deprivation (hypoxia/anoxia) requires an acclimation response that enables survival during an energy crisis. To gain new insights into the processes that facilitate the endurance of transient oxygen deprivation, the dynamics of the mRNA translation state and metabolites were quantitatively monitored in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings exposed to a short (2 h) or prolonged (9 h) period of oxygen and carbon dioxide deprivation and following 1 h of re-aeration. Hypoxia stress and reoxygenation promoted adjustments in the levels of polyribosomes (polysomes) that were highly coordinated with cellular ATP content. A quantitative comparison of steady-state and polysomal mRNA populations revealed that over half of the cellular mRNAs were restricted from polysome complexes during the stress, with little or no change in abundance. This selective repression of translation was rapidly reversed upon reoxygenation. Comparison of the adjustment in gene transcripts and metabolites demonstrated that profiling of polysomal mRNAs strongly augments the prediction of cellular processes that are altered during cellular oxygen deprivation. The selective translation of a subset of mRNAs promotes the conservation of ATP and facilitates the transition to anaerobic metabolism during low-oxygen stress.