Dolf van Niekerk – vertaling in Engels

Dolf van Niekerk – vertaal deur/translated by Tony & Gisela Ullyatt

 

Dolf van Niekerk

Dolf van Niekerk

Dolf van Niekerk was born in Edenburg in the Free State, and completed his schooling there. He studied at various universities, and, in 1982, was awarded a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Pretoria.  He began his career at the SABC as an announcer/producer. He joined the Department of Agriculture’s radio service (Landbouradio) and subsequently became Director of the Department’s Information Service, a post he held until his retirement in 1994. Originally Van Niekerk wrote radio plays and feature programmes. His first poem appeared in 1954 in Standpunte. His first prose work, Gannavlei, came out in 1958. His oeuvre encompasses all genres: prose, poetry, and drama. Apart from prizes for his radio work, Van Niekerk has won the Eugene Marais prize, the Scheepers prize, and the M.E.R. prize. The latest of his four volumes of poetry, Lang reis na Ithaka, was published by Protea Book House in 2009.

 

 

Stripping the layers                                    

 

I strip the layers

of its trunk, the

heart shapes on its bark;

leafing through its open book

searching for all

the words I want for you.

But I riffle myself to a standstill

in the fibres of time –

doubting

whether you will remain

a quiver for my heart

in this arid land

 

(From: Lang reis na Ithaka, Protea Boekhuis, 2009)

(Tr. by Tony & Gisela Ullyatt)

 

 

Mahler is our travelling companion  

 

Mahler is our travelling companion,

his heart’s agony composing clouds over mountains –

mirages of rocks and streams,

birdsong and cedar trees;

a song of the earth, a song of loss

he travels along all the roads

that have no destination or place

he can arrange for day or night.

The only home for longing

is the cycle of the seasons –

eternally, eternal spring and summer, autumn

and winter, eternally in the merciless

variation of light and dark,

of coming and going, of life and death.

 

(From: Lang reis na Ithaka, Protea Boekhuis, 2009)

(Tr. by Tony & Gisela Ullyatt)

 

 

My autumn garden is mourning                    

 

My autumn garden is mourning;

autumn is purple, close to the blue

that you so like

but closer to almost knowing

how we can reconcile yesterday

lastingly with now –

finally, only humility 

from love’s early death

binds in with our prayers

while leaves fall all around us.

 

(From: Lang reis na Ithaka, Protea Boekhuis, 2009)

(Tr. by Tony & Gisela Ullyatt)

 

Translators:

 

Tony Ullyatt was born in Nottingham, and educated in India, Sudan, and Kenya before coming to do an undergraduate degree in English and French in Durban, South Africa. After finishing a Master’s degree in English at the University of Auckland, he wrote a PhD on American poetry at Unisa. He has further Master’s degrees in Psychology, Myth Studies, and Applied Language Studies. He also has a PhD in Myth Studies. He has won prizes for his radio drama and poetry as well as the FNB/Vita Award for Translation. He is currently a Research Fellow at the University of the North-West’s Potchefstroom campus.

Gisela Ullyatt was born in Bloemfontein, where she studied at the University of the Free State. After completing an Honours degree and a Master’s degree in German, she finished a Master’s degree in English (Applied Language Studies) as well as a Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Her poetry has appeared in journals both locally and internationally, and she is a prize-winning short-story writer. Through the University of the North-West, she is currently working on a PhD which undertakes a Buddhist reading of Mary Oliver’s poetry.

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