Loftus Marais – vertaling in Engels

Loftus Marais – vertaal deur/translated by Charl-Pierre Naudé, Charl JF Cilliers & the author

  

Loftus Marais

Loftus Marais

Loftus Marais was born in 1982. He grew up in Paarl and obtained an MA degree in Afrikaans Creative Writing (cum laude). His poems have appeared in Nuwe stemme 3, My ousie is ‘n blom and Tydskrif vir letterkunde.  His debut volume, Staan in die algemeen nader aan vensters, for which he received the Eugéne Marais Prize, the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize and the Ingrid Jonker Prize, appeared in 2008. At present he is working on a freelance basis.

 

 

 

 

LANDSCAPE WITH THUMBPRINT

 

as you back away from the window pane what is seen

is a painting, your thumbprint above the valley’s green:

it’s there, a runaway cloud or afternoon moon:

you watch your view’s altered pattern quickly pass

and landscape is once more just a pane of glass

 

(From: Staan in die algemeen nader aan vensters, Tafelberg, 2008]

(Tr. by Charl JF Cilliers]

 

 

ALSO WRITTEN IN THE CAPE

 

now this old prossie-transvestite checks her hair

in the bay’s antique mirror: cumulus chic

with a boeing for a hairpin, final touch

it’s done, she glitters with sequins

regardless of the time of day:

her windows in the morning’s tinsel

limo and ferrari lights at settling dusk

and the smooth diagonal design of her streets

in the spotlight of the moon

she writes her memoires, grand, with stone

as cornerstones, statues and monuments

and, ever the lady, tries to be poetic

even though she makes the past and present

more glamorous than they really are

we forgive her when she lets her mist-shawl

slip, and stands there: Lady Cape Town

floor-lit by the harbour

and then smiles that smile, with history as a backdrop

and moves and shimmers and seduces

but, oh, in some of her moves

you sometimes notice the masculine shoulders

no, not shoulders: the broad mountain of pure stone

 

(From: Staan in die algemeen nader aan vensters, Tafelberg, 2008]

(Tr. by Charl JF Cilliers]

 

 

BLUEGUM TREE

 

in a field outside malmesbury

like scarlett o’hara there stands a bluegum tree

on a hill – exotic vivien leigh

rustles her hair in the breeze

the contour’s diagonals

flatter her point of focus

in the predominant verticals

of the frame’s composition

thunderclouds mass behind her position

she waits for the swartland’s flash photography

for the rain’s applause, washing down her stark

colour-co-ordinated bark

and her branches where no jewels glow

for the rinsing away of the ants under her arms akimbo

 

(From: Staan in die algemeen nader aan vensters, Tafelberg, 2008]

(Tr. by Charl JF Cilliers]

 

 

KAROO COMPARISONS

 

drive in your car, look through the window:

stony ridges, sculptures of time’s flow

crude, abstract, by jackal-piss bushes tacked

together: farmsteads, sci-fi desolate

princedoms of the brothers of portly paunches:

a crow on a pole screams its primal fuck you

too: the wind’s musical chords on fence droppers ring their chimes:

grass tufts drum-brush jazzily under the car:

prickly pear bushes stand like comic mimes

and above all: afternoon with its bleached blue

dress of a poor housewife – then stop, climb out

in the veld, wide as truth, and stare:

wait: you will begin comparing only

with itself each thing that’s there.

 

(From: Staan in die algemeen nader aan vensters, Tafelberg, 2008]

(Tr. by Charl JF Cilliers]

 

Translator:

Charl JF Cilliers  was born in 1941 in Cape Town. Initially he went into the field of electronics and lectured for 4 years. He then joined Parliament as a translator in 1968 and retired in 1998 as Editor of Hansard. His first volume of poems West-Falling Light appeared in 1971, to be followed by Has Winter No Wisdom in 1978. His Collected Poems 1960 – 2008 appeared in 2008 and The Journey in 2010. His latest volume of poetry , A momentary stay.  was published in 2011. He also published a volume of children’s poems, Fireflies Facing The Moon, in 2008. He has retired to the Cape West Coast where he continues to write.

 

*** 

 

Other poems published with the kind permission by Poetry International Web

After a grandiose exhibition

 

on my way home after a grandiose exhibition
I drive past
road painters at work
their municipal stripes of semi-mondrians
make for honest landscape art
after all the “art for art’s sake” I had to endure
(for god’s sake)
even rothko might have gleaned something
from this painter in his overall
kneeling with his brush
as he spreads his white and yellow and red
everybody knows precisely what that means
a worker waves his flag
the same red as unveiling curtains
gucci dresses and still-life apples
but it simply says wait
and I duly wait
and after a while I’m allowed to drive
home
as I find my way along a line
that brings back the vanishing point, every time

 

 

© Translation: 2010, Loftus Marais & Charl-Pierre Naudé

 

***

 

ALSO WRITTEN FOR THE CAPE

 

now this old tranny prossy checks her hair
in the antique mirror of the bay: cumulus chic
with a boeing for a hairpin, final touch
and dammit does she glitter in her sequins
no matter the time of day:
her windows in the morning’s tinsel
the lights of limos and ferraris at sundown
and the smooth diagonal design of her streets
in the spotlight of the moon
she writes her memoirs, grand, with rock
as corner stones, statues, monuments
and, ever the dame, tries to be poetic
even though she makes the past and present
more glamorous than it really is
we forgive her when she drops her shawl of fog
and stands: Lady Capetown
floor-lit by the harbour
smiling that smile, with history as a backdrop
and she moves and shimmers and seduces
but oh, in some of those moves
you can sometimes glimpse the manly shoulders
no, not shoulders: the broad mountain of pure pure rock

 

 

© Translation: 2010, Loftus Marais & Charl-Pierre Naudé

 

***

 

Night Film

 

a woman irons in front of a window
in her flat’s closed cube
battery lives, stooped, cooped

lamp light projects her onto the roof tiles
of the building opposite:
she’s ironing, enormously, gorgeously

 

 

© Translation: 2010, Loftus Marais & Charl-Pierre Naudé

 

***

 

Self-portraits in Spotless Contemporary Surfaces

 

the city turns me into my own objective correlative
the surfaces force me into reflection
deafen me, I only watch, I stare at myself:
I’m functional on toasters, microwave ovens
kettles of stainless steel
I’m framed by the portholes of washing machines
sometimes even in the secretive gleaming of door handles
and the darkness of tv screens that mirror when they’re off
I’m epic in the panoramas of long sliding doors
my face wobbles over the glass of sedans
I sell myself to myself in the windows of shops
always among the narcissi when in front of the florist
I multiply alone through the geometry of the city
I flash schizophrenically in revolving doors, I look at:
low-angle shots of myself on the marble floors of lobbies
the city will echo softly but display
my facets in all the tints of unlyrical grey

 

 

© Translation: 2010, Loftus Marais & Charl-Pierre Naudé

 

***

 

Still Life With Wild Life

 

here everyone’s asleep. karen’s husband too,
who cut the grass today.
but karen is an insomniac tonight
in her tasteful nightgown in front of the box:
some david attenborough special.
antelopes ripped apart by lions.
zebras copulating.
a fly disappearing into a poisonous flower.
she takes a sip of warm milk, puts her glass
down on a coaster, watches on.
outside in silence the grass is growing

 

 

© Translation: 2010, Loftus Marais & Charl-Pierre Naudé

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