Martjie Bosman – vertaling in Engels

Martjie Bosman – Vertaal deur/ translated by Tony & Gisela Ullyatt

 

Martjie Bosman

Martjie Bosman

Martjie Bosman was born in Groblersdal and matriculated at the Ben Viljoen High School. She studied at the University of Pretoria where she earned a Masters degree in Afrikaans literature in 1985. For two years, she taught Mathematics at the Warmbad High School. In 1981, she was appointed as a literary researcher at the Centre for South African Literary Research of the HSRC. Later she carried out research on social questions and rural development. In 2000 she became the archivist for Afrikaans radio programmes at the SABC. In 2004 she was appointed editor at Protea Book House. Her poems have appeared in literary journals since 1990 and her first volume of poems, Landelik, for which she received the Ingrid Jonker Prize, was published in 2003. Her second volume, entitled Toevallige tekens, appeared in 2010.

 

 

TREASON

 

We have even let down the aunts,

forlorn in little village houses with fern-clogged verandas,

in rooms in old-age homes with leftover wool.

They scowl at us beneath their bonnet brims

from old black-and-white snapshots –

like Aunt San, stout of body,

lifting her head after the cattle-slaughtering  

in the backyard where she stirs a pot of soap.

Later she would call the neighbour’s daughter

to the fence to pass over a bar of soap

with which Ma feels duty-bound to get the tea towels washed.

Before their staid eyes we hardly dare appear.

Better close the photo album instead.                  

 

(From:  Landelik, Protea Boekhuis, 2002)

(Tr. by Tony & Gisela Ullyatt)

 

 

THE GREEN FINGER OF GOD

 

the green finger of God moves

over the crust of Earth’s brown clod

cleaves a valley through shallow lakes rivers

draws a mountain range out of the clay

sketches fynbos rooistompie and heather delicately

the bright bee-eater against the new riverbank

the mighty old grey one  the daft baboon sketched well

and last but not least the upright one even better

the hand of God builds a wall

later a bridge too humans clamber over it

stamp the flower shoot the buck burn the tree

the finger of God writes upon the wall

 

(From:  Landelik, Protea Boekhuis, 2002)

(Tr. by Tony & Gisela Ullyatt)

 

 

OMNIA SOL TEMPERAT

 

This winter the city is lovely

and I know nothing of it.

Only on Sunday afternoon did the sun

fall golden on my windscreen,

the tarred street and the telephone wire.

The plane trees and jacarandas gold

the good sun falls profusely

through apartment windows.

The sparrows and bulbuls peck

at orange dates on the pavement

and the soft sunlight sifts over my city.

The pristine sky is winter-blue

and the sun shines down

glossy on a child’s head.

The sun brings life, the sun brings warmth.

The dear sun shines

upon my people and my land.

 

(From:  Landelik, Protea Boekhuis, 2002)

(Tr. by Tony & Gisela Ullyatt)

 

 

ONEDAYCLEAN

 

In remote small towns you can almost

predict the step-by-step decay:

You drive in streets of patchwork tar

past hawkers of tomatoes, onions, cabbage;

donkeys, goats and bare-necked chickens

graze among building rubble on open plots,

at incomplete houses corrugated iron sheets

rust against sagging fences

and youngsters lean lazily against car wrecks.

Then, suddenly round another corner,

you’re struck breathless

where a curtain of brilliant blue

trails lusciously into a shoddy garden

and like an accidental sign

alters the tone of the whole neighbourhood.

 

(From:  Toevallige tekens, Protea Boekhuis, 2010)

(Tr. by Tony & Gisela Ullyatt)

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