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De Waal Venter

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Die kinderlike Tranströmer

 

Om soos ‘n kind te wees

Tomas Tranströmer

Om soos ‘n kind te wees en ‘n geweldige belediging
word oor jou kop getrek soos ‘n sak
deur dit flits stukkies son
en jy hoor kersiebome neurie.

Maar dit help niks nie, die yslike belediging
bedek kop en lyf en knieë
en jy kriewel af en toe
maar gedagtes aan die lente help niks.

ja, skitterende wolmus trek dit oor jou gesig
loer deur die gaatjies.
Waterringe swerm geluidloos op die fjord.
Groen blare verdonker die aarde.

Uit Sweeds vertaal deur De Waal Venter

 

 

Lees nog gedigte hier

Women in heaven

Gustave Doré - Beatrice and Dante

 

A MENSA member remembers the Commedia

The highly intelligent member
of the society
sits on his bed,
holding his shoe in one hand.
His right leg is crossed over his left,
and he wriggles his toes in his sock.

He is trying to understand
how his brain is able
to work out that his shoe
must fit over his foot,
how his brain determines
that his shoe is not meant for his hand,
or perhaps his head.

The member is discombobulated
and rather frustrated;
his foot is getting cold
and he hasn’t found a solution yet.

His wife walks in,
takes the shoe and puts in on his foot.
Now tie the laces, she says.
It all ties in, the member muses:
Dante was right about women,
heaven would be boring without them.

 

 

Read more poems here

Een van Tranströmer se oorgange

Tomas Tranströmer

 

Oorgangsplek

 

Tomas Tranströmer

 

Yswind in my oë en sonne dans

in die kaleidoskoop van trane as ek

die straat oorsteek wat my so lank gevolg het,

die straat waar Groenlandsomers glinster in die poeletjies.

 

Om my die swermende straat se volle krag

wat niks onthou nie en niks wil hê nie.

Diep onder die aarde onder die verkeer

wag die ongebore woud stilweg duisend jaar al.

 

Ek kry die idee dat die straat my sien.

Die kyk is so dof dat die son self

‘n grys bal is in ‘n swart ruimte.

Maar nou skyn ek! Die straat sien my.

 

Uit Sweeds vertaal deur De Waal Venter

 

Övergångstället

Tomas Tranströmer

 Uit: Sanningsbariären 1978

Four-part poem

 

Life is a beach

 

I smoke the flavour

of coffee.

It changes my mind

to a small trattoria

in Rome

before the Wall came down.

 

I smoke it

in the Karoo;

the silence kneels on its knees

and shows me

the sheep rib

disintegrating into a murky white.

 

Coffee, the flavour

I inhale

and feel my beloved’s hand

resting on my neck

as we drive towards the sea;

the waves doing unknown things,

but when we get there

they will prance

and brag that nothing will break them;

but they all break,

we all reach as far as we can

upon the immaculate law

of the shining beach, then we become it.

 

II

 

Taking sides

 

I smoke the flavour

of coffee.

It changes my mind

to a small trattoria

in Rome

before the Wall came down.

 

It cut through the land

hiding children’s faces

from their parents.

It bred a sullen, severed nation,

without a history

without hope of a future.

 

Two German men sat down at a table.

They were joined by an older woman.

They possessed their side of Germany,

and themselves,

they ordered coffee,

the flavour hurt me -

on the east side of the Wall

the shadow was rushing forward

like a panzer blitzkrieg.

 

III

 

My time is cracked

 

 

I smoke the flavour

of coffee.

I smoke it

in the Karoo;

the silence kneels on its knees

and shows me

the sheep rib

disintegrating into a murky white.

 

In the morning

I hear the sun

rushing towards the horizon

like fast approaching rain;

coffee

the favour saddens me

with joy –

the stone almost cracked in two

lies there under the hard feet

of the sun.

I will never touch it.

 

IV

 

The immaculate law

 

I smoke the flavour

of coffee.

It changes my mind

to our drive towards the sea;

the waves doing unknown things

far out of the reach of land;

they swell and roll,

flecked by streaks of foam;

no-one sees them,

perhaps they sing a gigantic chorus

but nobody hears them;

they emerge from themselves

and subside into each other

closer and closer to the land,

and when they get there

they prance and brag

that nothing will break them;

but they all break,

we all reach as far as we can

upon the immaculate law

of the shining beach, then we become it.

 


Read more poems here

Is white really necessary?

 

It necessitates your attention

 

We’re having a long conversation,

rather roundabout

but touching upon important matters

in unexpected turnings of our talking.

 

The dove’s craw swells warmly

and vibrates as he talks,

a church organ in the throes of Bach.

Then he changes tune

and pipes melodiously

a clarinet tune.

 

The dove does not think

that death is unnecessary;

he feels that it provides the motivation

to live exuberantly.

I agree and change the subject

to white.

 

Is it really necessary, I ask.

The dove does think so,

especially in sound, he muses.

But also to temper black, I add.

Without white, black would be dead.

The dove agrees

by changing his tune to a simple

baroque theme with four main notes.

 

One learns things in conversations, he says.

Things that are unnecessary

and things that are necessary,

I reply mischievously.

 

The dove reacts

by falling silent and stretching a wing.

He looks me in the eye:

I challenge you

to find a single thing

that’s unnecessary.

 

He flies off

to make the necessary

preparations for the day.

Nobelpryswenner

Tranströmer ontvang die Nobelprys

 

 

Hiermee ‘n gedig van vanjaar se Nobelprys in drie tale: Afrikaans, Nederlands en Sweeds.

 

Allegro

 

Tomas Tranströmer

 

 

Ek speel Haydn na ‘n swart dag

en voel ‘n ligte warmte in my hande.

 

Die klawers wil. Sagte hamers slaan.

Die klanke is groen, lewendig en stil.

 

Die klanke sê vryheid bestaan

en dat iemand nie die keiser belasting betaal nie.

 

Ek steek my hande in my Haydn-sakke

en maak of ek die wêreld kalm bekyk.

Ek hys die Haydn-vlag – dit beteken:

“Ons gee nie in nie. Maar soek vrede.”

 

Die musiek is ‘n glashuis op ‘n afdraande

waar klippe vlieg, klippe rol.

 

En klippe rol dwarsdeur

maar die vensters bly heel.

 

Uit Sweeds vertaal deur De Waal Venter

 

Allegro

 

Ik speel Haydn na een zwarte dag

en voel een simpele warmte in mijn handen.

 

De toetsen zijn willig. Milde hamers slaan.

De klank is groen, levendig en kalm.

 

De klank zegt dat de vrijheid bestaat

en dat iemand de keizer geen belasting betaalt.

 

Ik steek mijn handen diep in mijn haydnzakken

en doe als iemand die de wereld in alle rust aanschouwt.

 

Ik hijs de haydnvlag – dat betekent:

‘Wij geven ons niet over. Maar willen vrede.’

 

De muziek is een glazen huis op de helling

waar stenen rondvliegen, stenen rollen.

 

En de stenen rollen er dwars doorheen

maar iedere ruit blijft heel.

 

Tomas Tranströmer: De herinneringen zien mij

Vertaling door Bernlef

De Bezige Bij

ISBN: 9023407903

 

Allegro

 

Tomas Tranströmer

 

Jag spelar Haydn efter en svart dag

och känner en enkel värme i händerna.

 

Tangenterna vill. Milda hammare slår.

Klangen är grön, livlig och stilla.

 

Klangen säger att friheten finns

och att någon inte ger kejsaren skatt.

 

Jag kör ner händerna i mina haydnfickor

och härmar en som ser lugnt på världen.

 

Jag hissar haydnflaggan – det betyder:

»Vi ger oss inte. Men vill fred.«

 

Musiken är ett glashus på sluttningen

där stenarna flyger, stenarna rullar.

 

Och stenarna rullar tvärs igenom

men varje ruta förblir hel.

Night

 

 

One day she will stay

 

Jut the two of us

are here,

the night and I.

 

She breathes without sound,

I hear my heart in my ears.

 

The night is doing something

that I don’t know about.

 

I will hold my hand

in my hand.

 

She talks softly

to the driver of a truck

very far from me.

 

I look at the slit

between the curtains

that she is holding open.

 

She is talking to herself

in the first language

of humankind,

yet I understand her,

it is also my language

which I remember

when she is here.

 

She is saying:

I will go eventually,

but I will be back.

I will always come back

and one day

I will stay.

The neighs have it

 

An orgy of homophony

 

Does a  mussel have muscles?

Of course a mussel have muscles,

how else do you think

he can open his mouth?

The muscles of a mussel

can muster quite a force,

and I advise you

to keep your finger away

from his muscular smile.

The question remains, though,

whether a horse can be hoarse.

I rather think yes;

it is simple to prove –

get a thespian horse

to recite the works of Shakespeare

in Morse

to a discerning audience

two nights in a row,

and I guarantee

that your horse will become hoarse.

But before we begin to speculate

whether a beau

is normally as tense as a bow,

you will be happy to know

that I’m thinking of a fish

and will now write the word

fin.

 

 

Read more poems here

Tomas Tranströmer in Afrikaans

Nobelpryswenner Tomas Tranströmer

TOMAS TRANSTRÖMER

 

Sorgegondolen nr 2

 

Droewe gondel

 

I

 

Twee ou mans, skoonvader en skoonseun, Liszt en Wagner, bly by die Groot Kanaal

saam met die rustelose vrou wat getroud is met koning Midas

wat alles verander wat hy aanraak in Wagner.

Die see se koue groen stoot op deur die paleisvloere.

Wagner is gemerk, sy beroemd Punch-profiel is moeër as voorheen

sy gesig ‘n wit vlag.

Die gondel is swaar gelaai met hul lewens, twee retoer en ‘n enkel.

 

II

 

‘n Venster in die paleis vlieg oop en mense frons in die skielike trek.

Buite op die water verskyn die vullisgondel geroei deur twee eenspaan-bandiete.

Liszt het ‘n paar akkoorde neergeskryf, so swaar dat hulle eintlik weggestuur moet word

na die mineralogie-instituut in Padua vir analise.

Meteoriete!

Te swaar om te dryf kan hulle net sink en sink reg deur die toekoms

tot die Bruinhemde-dae.

Die gondel is gelaai met die toekoms se opgehoopte klippe.

 

 

III

 

Loergate op 1990.

 

25 Maart. Angs vir Litaue.

Gedroom ek besoek ‘n groot hospitaal.

Geen personeel. Almal was pasiënte.

 

In dieselfde droom ‘n pasgebore dogtertjie

wat volsinne gepraat het.

 

IV

 

Langs die skoonseun, ‘n man van sy tyd, is Liszt ‘n motgevrete grand seigneur.

Dit is ‘n vermomming.

Die diepte, wat verskeie maskers aanpas en verwerp, het hierdie een net vir hom gekies –

die diepte wat in mense wil opstyg, sonder om ooit sy gesig te wys.

 

V

 

Abbé Liszt is gewoond om self sy tas te dra deur sneeu en sonskyn

en wanneer sy tyd kom om te sterf sal niemand hom by die stasie ontmoet nie.

‘n Ligte bries van begaafde konjak voer hom mee te midde van ‘n opdrag.

Hy het altyd opdragte.

Twee duisend briewe per jaar!

Die skoolseun wat sy spelfout honderd keer oorskryf voor hy kan huis toe gaan.

Die gondel is swaar gelaai met lewe, dis eenvoudig en swart.

 

VI

 

Terug na 1990.

 

Gedroom ek ry oor ‘n honderd myl tevergeefs.

Dan vergroot alles. Mossies so groot soos henne

het so hard gesing dat my ore toegeslaan het.

Gedroom ek teken klavierklawers

op die kombuistafel. Ek het op hulle gespeel, geluidloos.

Die bure het kom luister.

 

 

VII

 

Die klavier wat stilgebly het deur die hele Parsifal (maar geluister het) kan uiteindelik iets sê.

Sugte … sospiri …

Wanneer Liszt vanaand speel, hou hy die see-pedaal ingetrap

sodat die see se groen krag opstyg deur die vloer en saamvloei met al die klippe in die gebou.

Goeienaand pragtige diepte!

Die gondel is swaar gelaai met lewe, dit is eenvoudig en swart.

 

VIII

 

Gedroom ek moes skool toe, maar kom te laat.

Almal in die kamer se gesigte was wit maskers.

Wie die onderwyser was, kon niemand sê nie.

 

Uit die Sweeds vertaal deur De Waal Venter

 

Understanding

 

 

 

 

E. Morin
The poetry of life, with the love it contains and that contains it, is the only response to death.

I understand I don’t understand

It is clear
that it is dark,
I can see
that I cannot see
everything there is.
I think
I can think
about everything there is,
but I know
I do not know
what there really is,
what really is.
I reach out
to find myself,
but I am not there.