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Four Paul Celan poems (trans. by Ian Fairley)
WITH A FIELDMOUSE VOICE
you squeak up,
you bite through my vest into flesh,
you slip over my mouth,
even as my talk
would weigh you, shadow,
I bed you, on the sills,
infill us, with lightsoil.
SNOW PART, pitched, to the last,
in the updraught, before
for ever unwindowed
to skim flat dreams
to hew out the word-
shadows, to cord them
round the cramp-iron
in the pit.
I HEAR THE AXE HAS FLOWERED,
I hear the place can't be named,
I hear the bread that looks on him
heals the hanged man,
the bread his wife baked him,
I hear they call life
the only refuge.
One thing does not exist: Oblivion.
God saves the metal and he saves the dross,
And his prophetic memory guards from loss
The moons to come, and those of evenings gone.
Everything is:the shadows in the glass
which, in between the day's two twilights, you
Have scattered by the thousands, or shall strew
Henceforward in the mirrors that you pass.
And everything is part of that diverse
Crystalline memory, the universe;
Whoever through its endless mazes wanders
Hears doors click shut behind his stride,
And only from the sunset's farther side
Shall view at last the Archetypes and the Splendours.
Jorge Luis Borges trans.Richard Wilbur
I found this, stephen w...
Everness, Neverness: Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 39, Jorge Luis Borges
STAAT IN DE RIJ
Uitzicht op een nek. Denkt: zou die van die nek
weten van de twee zwarte puntjes in het vel
als achteruitkijkoogjes? Schuift op. Overweegt
het lipje goed te leggen dat uit het T-shirt
steekt, EU40 US10 CA10. Doet het niet,
denkt wel aan de globalisering. De branding,
de bergen, koolzaadvelden, modderpaadjes.
Ansichtkaarten van landschappen lang
onderweg om tien seconden te worden bekeken.
Schuift op. Verzint te gaan zingen, een lied uit de
vorige eeuw, dat iemand zal meezingen, dat
iemand geërgerd zal maken (zoals, net
gescheiden, aan de telefoon in de wacht gezet,
een schraal ’Cause I’m always, always yours).
Schuift op. Zingt niet. Ziet de schoenen van
wie straks aan de beurt, denkt aan vazen
waarin mensen staan te bloeien, ziet
scheve hakken. Schuift op. Er moet maar
een mus naar binnen vliegen, zodat iedereen
de mus met de ogen zal volgen, verbindende mus
in paniek. Staat er hier iemand met wie nog
veel mogelijk? Iemand met wijze gedachten die
binnenblijven wegens kou? Iemand met
overleden omhelzer en niemand voorradig?
Schuift op. Die achter glas stelt zijn vraag.
Eén enkele reis, alstublieft.
Joke van Leeuwen
In the Queue
View of a neck. Thinks: him with the neck, does
he know about those two black dots in his skin
like rear-view peepers? Moves up. Considers
adjusting the label poking up out of
the T-shirt, EU40 US10 CA10. Doesn’t.
Thinks about globalisation instead. The surf,
the mountains, rapeseed fields, muddy paths.
Postcards of landscapes travelling
for ages for ten seconds’ silent scrutiny.
Moves up. Hits on the idea of singing – a song from the
previous century, one that will have someone singing along,
annoying someone else (freshly divorced,
for instance, put on hold on the phone with a poor
“’Cause I’m always, always yours.”).
Moves up. Doesn’t sing. Sees the shoes of
her who’s up next, thinks of vases
in which people flower, sees
wonky heels. Moves up. A sparrow
needs to fly in here so everyone can follow
that sparrow with their eyes, unifying sparrow
in a panic. Is there someone here
of interest? Someone with wise thoughts
in out of the cold? Someone whose hugger
is deceased and no new takers?
Moves up. Him behind the glass asks his question.
A one-way ticket, please.
The End and the Beginning
After every war
someone has to clean up.
straighten themselves up, after all.
Someone has to push the rubble
to the sides of the road,
so the corpse-laden wagons can pass.
Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
and bloody rags.
Someone must drag in a girder
to prop up a wall.
Someone must glaze a window,
rehang a door.
Photogenic it's not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.
Again we'll need bridges
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.
Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls how it was.
and nods with unsevered head.
Yet others milling about
already find it dull.
From behind the bush
sometimes someone still unearths
and carries them to the garbage pile.
Those who knew
what was going on here
must give way to
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.
In the grass which has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out,
blade of grass in his mouth,
gazing at the clouds.
Wislawa Szmborska (1901-2002)
Wisława Szymborska (1923) died on Wednesday, 1 February 2012, in her sleep at home in Kraków, aged 88.
' “To those who asked him the difference between being sad and having heart-broken, Nachman answered that being heart-broken was not an obstacle to joy.”
'Far the self-celebrating narcissism of the ego, Antonella Anedda’s poetry seems to spring from an act of removal, almost of sacrifice. “When I write, I withdraw,” writes Anedda, and adds, “I dream of a language that is capable of expressing the self without the intrusiveness of the self (…) A self capable of a glance, capable of listening but with its own glance and ear and its own imperious voice set aside, abandoned.” This exclusion is already evident in a style that is absolutely and extraordinarily free of rhetorical gratification. It is evident as well in the quest for a language that is “anonymous, exact,” with a rigor that is intimate, like that of a spiritual exercise. It is writing that is essential, yet gentle and impassioned as well. As Franco Loi writes, “it is vigorous and kind, while at the same time as penetrating and persuasive as a voice.”
'The expressive precision of her unadorned word complies with and corresponds to the object. Its constant point of reference is a bare reality, the landscapes and objects of daily life. This is because the everyday is the only dimension one can feel part of, in which one can search for a vestige of meaning: “Reality is not an enduring thing, it needs our protection. Buildings collapse, entire worlds disappear. Language can from time to time dig a hospitable hole, in which nothing is superfluous, it can put up a perimeter fenced within which things and people can breathe side by side, enjoy the light, and survive.” '
- Poetry International Web
La cucina è un promontorio. Le pentole sono scogli divorati da un vento-lupo che soffia
e corre in cerchio nell’isola. La ringhiera della finestra è una raffica grigia, sua compagna
nostra sorella aguzza. Appena svegli noi siamo gli uccelli chini sul lavabo, stanchi della
migrazione notturna, confusi dai razzi che percuotono i sogni.
In tutto il quadro è inverno.
Nella musica della radio rintocca la grandine.
Il suo bianco vibra sulle antenne e il balcone.
Con il suo muso di nuvola pietosa
l’alba ci spinge alla vita.
The kitchen is a promontory. The pans are reefs eaten by a wolf-wind that blows and runs
in circles on the island. The railing is a grey gust, his mate our sharp sister. Just awaken
we are the birds bent over the sink, tired of the nightly migration, confused by the rockets
that pelt our dreams.
In the entire painting it is winter.
In the music on the radio hail tolls.
Its white vibrates on the antennas and the balcony.
With its compassionate cloud muzzle
dawn drives us to life.
Accetta questo silenzio: la parola stretta nel buio della gola come una bestia irrigidita, come il
cinghiale imbalsamato che nei temporali di ottobre scintillava in cantina. Livido e intrecciato di
paglia, il cuore secco, senza fumo, eppure contro il fulmine che inchiodava la porta, ogni volta
nel punto esatto in cui era iniziata la morte: l’inutile indietreggiare, il corpo ardente, il calcio
del cacciatore sul suo fianco.
Chiudi gli occhi. Pensa: lepre, e volpe e lupo chiama le bestie che cacciate corrono sulla terra
rasa e sono nella fionda del morire o dell’addormentarsi sfinite nella tana dove solo chi è
inseguito conosce davvero la notte davvero il respiro.
Accept this silence: the word caught in the dark of the throat like a stiffened animal, like
the stuffed boar that sparkled in the cellar during October storms. Livid and woven with
straw, the dry heart, smokeless, yet against the flash of lightning that nailed the door,
each time in the same exact point where death had begun: the futile backstepping,
body aflame, the hunter’s kick on its side.
Close your eyes. Think: hare and fox and wolf, call the beasts,
chased down they race
over the flatlands and are in the slingshot of dying or falling
asleep exhausted inside the
den where only the hunted know true night, true breath.
A chi gli chiedeva quale differenza ci fosse tra l’essere
tristi e avere il cuore spezzato, Nachman rispose che avere
il cuore spezzato non impediva la gioia.
(Nachman di Breslaw)
E’ la lettera del silenzio e dei serpenti, della serenità sapiente,
del sussurro con cui si chiede di tacere. Le labbra sporgono,
la lingua resta prigioniera oltre la ghiera dei denti.
Silenzio notturno. Quando ci si alza nel buio estivo
e gli alberi restano senza vento oltre la porta spalancata.
Quando le stanze respirano piano e il mare si unisce ai gerani.
Rosso e cobalto e ancora rosso
nei fari del porto
nei traghetti che sfavillano e aspettano.
Silenzio mattutino. Una qualità dei passi sul selciato
delle voci. E’ il suono delle saracinesche
che si sollevano sui negozi intatti: un segnale di pace
l’annuncio dello shofar nel giorno.
Sole silenzioso sulle coperte, sui pavimenti
sulle tazze della colazione e lo smalto del vassoio
Sì. Non benedetto abbastanza ogni risveglio silenzioso e vivo
non ancora malato non ancora schiavo.
To those who asked him the difference between being sad and
being heart-broken, Nachman answered that being heart-broken
was not an obstacle to joy.
(Nachman of Breslaw)
Is the letter of silence and serpents, of sage serenity, of the soft sounds
with which one asks people to be silent. The lips pout,
the tongue remains a prisoner of the ring of teeth.
Nocturnal silence. When you get up in the summer darkness
and trees are left without wind beyond the wide open door.
When the rooms breath softly and the sea joins the geraniums.
Red and cobalt and more red
in the lighthouses of the port
in the ferry-boats that glitter and wait.
Morning silence. A quality of the footsteps on the paving
of the voices. It is the sound of the shutters
that rise over the intact shops: a sign of peace
the announcement of the shofar within the day.
Silent sun over blankets, over pavements
over breakfast cups and the enamelling of the tray
Yes. Not blessed enough every silent and live awakening
not yet sick not yet slave.
Last edited by stephen w; 02-02-12 at 05:30 PM. Reason: tinkering
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