Thursday, 19 April 2018

Willem Jan Otten: 'Consolatio voor mijn broer' in various languages

CONSOLATIO VOOR Ml]N BROER DIE VREZEN MOEST
DAT ZlJN VOET ZOU WORDEN AFGEZET

Broer, ik ben vandaag met allebei je dochters
op het wad geweest. Daar moest ik denken aan
je voet. Niet dat ik namens jou van wat dan ook
afscheid nemen kan, dat besef ik heel goed -
zelfs niet van de onuitputtelijke dikke
dode dame in wie wij, blootsvoetse lilliputters,
ons vertraden. Je weet als geen ander
hoe het was in haar enkeldiepe vet,
hoe onder het slik je zolen raspten langs
kokkels en mossels, hoe het tussen je tenen
zich perste als de natste klei door een knuist.

We zijn gegaan tot de geul waar jij als kind
het fanatiekst de mossels van hun banken ritste
en in de emmer smeet. De wind suisde om
de oren van je dochters en nam hun stemmen mee.
We draaiden ons om. Ik zag het meteen -
we stonden in de zee gegrift zoals wij stonden
aan het eind van elk een eigen voetafdrukkenrij,

en staan wij op de Postweg weer, wordt alles
uitgewist en een met eens jouw laatste rij.


CONSOLATIO FOR MY BROTHER, WHO FEARED HIS FOOT
WOULD HAVE TO BE AMPUTATED

Brother, today I’ve been with both your daughters
on the mud flats. Out there, I found myself thinking
about your foot. Not that, on your behalf, I can take
my leave of anything, I realise that perfectly well -
not even of the dead lady, limitlessly fat,
in which we, barefoot Lilliputians, used
to stroll. You know better than anyone
how it felt in her ankle-deep lard,
how beneath the ooze your soles would rasp along
cockles and mussels, how between your toes it would
squeeze like the squelchiest clay through a fist.

We went as far as the channel where, as a child, you were
the most fanatic at whisking mussels off their banks and
flinging them into the bucket. The wind roared round
your daughters’ ears and carried off their voices.
We turned back. All at once I saw it -
we stood there etched in the sea, each of us standing
at the end of our own row of footprints,

and, back once more on the Postweg, everything becomes
erased and mingles with your still untaken final row.


CONSOLATIO FOR MIN BROR, SOM FRYGTEDE AT FODEN
MÅTTE AMPUTERES

Bror, i dag har jeg været med begge dine døtre
ude på slikvaden. Dér kom jeg til at tænke på
din fod. Ikke fordi jeg, på dine vegne, kan tage afsked
med noget som helst, det ved jeg da godt -
ikke engang med den døde, tykke,
uendelige dame hvor vi, barfodede lilliputter,
plejede at slentre. Som ingen anden ved du
hvordan det føltes at stå op til anklerne i hendes fedt,
hvordan dine såler kradsede under slammen langs
blåmuslinger og hjertemuslinger, hvordan den klemte sig
mellem tæerne som det vådeste ler gennem en knytnæve.

Vi gik indtil renden hvor du som barn
så fanatisk snuppede muslingerne fra deres banker
og smed dem i spanden. Vinden susede omkring
ørene på dine døtre og førte deres stemmer med sig.
Vi vendte om. Straks så jeg det
- vi stod ætsede ind i havet, hver af os stod
for enden af sin egen fodsporsrække,

og, tilbage på Postvejen, viskes alt
ud og bliver til ét med din endnu ventende sidste række.


CONSOLATIO FÖR MIN BROR, SOM FRUKTADE ATT
FÅ FOTEN AMPUTERAD

Bror, idag gick jag med dina båda döttrar
ute i lågvattnets gyttja. Där började jag tänka på
din fot. Inte för att jag, å dina vägnar, kan ta avsked
ifrån någonting alls, det vet jag mycket väl
– inte ens ifrån den döda, tjocka,
oändliga damen där vi, barfota lilleputtar,
brukade ströva. Som ingen annan vet du
hur det kändes att vara ankeldjupt i hennes fett,
hur dina sulor raspade under gyttjan längs
blåmusslor och hjärtmusslor, hur den pressades upp mellan
dina tår som den blötaste lera genom en knytnäve.

Vi gick ända till rännan där du som barn
så fanatiskt rafsade musslorna från deras bankar
och slängde dem i hinken. Vinden susade kring
dina döttrars öron och förde bort deras röster.
Vi vände om. Med detsamma såg jag det -
vi stod etsade i havet, var och en stod
vid slutet av sin egen följd av fotspår,

och, tillbaka på Postvägen, suddas
allt ut och förenar sig med din ännu förestående sista följd.



Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Lars Gustafsson: 'Vid Evelyns bageri i Norberg'

at evelyn’s bakery in norberg


In Norberg, early on a May morning
the scent of lime blossom and elderflower
from old trees close to old houses can
float weightlessly on the scent of new-baked bread

There is iron beneath us, much iron
immense bodies of ore,
an incalculable number of sleeping grains
that silently twist the compass out of joint

The world goes out as soon as night is over
And undergoes silent transformations
But someone has to be there at sunrise
To knead soft dough between strong hands.

And the wave of heat that surges out
when the oven door is opened
is the youngest sibling of the white exhalation
of long-since mouldered blast-furnace eruptions

The world undergoes sombre transformations
Iron can become swords or sledgehammers
Many swords Many sledgehammers
Many dead Much bread


Thursday, 12 April 2018

Translation by Charles Warton Stork (1881-1971) of the Verner von Heidenstam poem



A few comments. CWS has chosen a 10-syllable line throughout. The Swedish poem has 11-11-11-10-11-11-10-10-11-11-10). This gives the translation more a feel of a Shakespearean sonnet (though there are in fact only 11 lines).
The Swedish poem also has a different rhyme scheme: AAA (last one Stockholm-E rhyme [heta/mäta] – my thanks to Ivo Holmqvist for pointing this out) - BCCB - DEED (also Stockholm-E).  The rhyme scheme and three-section structure coincide. The break in the rhyme scheme at the end of line 3 coincides with the full stop in the original, but not in the translation. CWS rhymes ABBA-CC-DDEED.
The choice of such words as 'wrath',  'hath' and  'thereto' give the translation an antiquated feel, as does the end-position of 'hath' in line 4. The translation 'reads well', but it has a different feel from von Heidenstam's poem.

Part III of Klaus Høeck's 'Canzone' in English

To see this section as a pdf file, go to here:

To see all three sections, go to these three entries:


Saturday, 7 April 2018

Michael Longley: 'Cloudberries' in Danish translation



Multebær

Du giver mig multebærsyltetøj fra Lapland,
Moserav, snegrænse-lækkerbisken, herlige
Multebær sødmet langsomt af kulden,
Og dyre nok til multebærkrige
(Diplomatiske krige, min kære).
Forestil dig os
Blandt plukkerne, holdende afstand
I spaghnummarker på årets længste dag
Når daggry og skumring som frustrerede elskere
Må kysse hinanden, ifølge sagnet, en gang om året. Ah,
Kys i vores alder, multebærkys.


To see the original poem, go to here.


Thursday, 5 April 2018

Benny Andersen: 'Oppe i årene' in English translation

on in years
  
You find yourself getting on in years
as it’s referred to
as if you were taking an exam
and the subject chosen’s your life
or have clambered up onto a highish hill
with a wonderful view and overview
Overview?
Pull the other leg!
On in years?
You sit there buried in years
up to your ears in years
and fed up with the old days to your back teeth

The old days aren’t the slightest bit old
Oh no, in the old days the old days were old days
really OLD old days
In my childhood the old days had a ring
of accolades and offended honour
raised drawbridges
bottomless moats
fair maids and boundless fidelity
deceit and swordplay and outdoor galleries
gradually replaced
by Tordenskjold and Musketeers
Admiral Nelson’s blind eye
‘Each bird its special song must find’
Countess Danner
Florence Nightingale
Ellehammer four-feet airborne
bottom- and hope-less trenches in Flanders
the advance did not come in quick succession
but as creeping metastases
as early as my youth old days began to
merge suspiciously with
that of my parents in the twenties
but who could smell a rat back then
we weren’t brought up that way

And as time passed time marched on
but the old days moved faster
soundlessly
clandestinely
professionally
under cover of night
so today my childhood can be viewed
at the Worker’s Museum
my youth can be consulted
in already antiquated encyclopedias
reduced to a third of the price
sure to be available soon on a floppy

And all your old friends
are suffering severely from old days
‘Can you remember when in the old days
we really went to town?’
You realise that the poor bloke
is referring to something that took place
only twelve to fourteen years ago
what else can you reply than
swiftly hither my crossbow!
And when your guileless grandchild begs
‘Grandpa, tell us about the old days!’
what else can you possibly reply than
Not now, my treasure
they only start tomorrow so I’ll
tell you about them on Sunday!

On in years?
Come off it.