De Waal Venter. Tomas Tranströmer – 7 vertalings

Tomas Tranströmer

 

Award Ceremony Speech

Presentation Speech by Kjell Espmark, Member of the Swedish Academy, Member of its Nobel Committee, 10 December 2011.

“Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, esteemed Laureates, Ladies and Gentlemen,  Tomas Tranströmer is one of the very few Swedish writers with an influence on world literature. He has been translated into some sixty languages, (and now also in Afrikaans – DWV) and has been important to poetry in various parts of the world. The Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky admits that he stole more than one metaphor from him. And during a journey among Chinese poets a year ago I found that Tranströmer is their great model.

Why? Is it the brilliant metaphors? I think that is only half the truth. The other half is the visions, the illuminations in everyday life into which the metaphors have been inserted.”

 

Spår

Spoor

 

Twee-uur in die oggend: maanskyn. Die trein staan

in die veld. Ver ‘n dorp se liggies

wat koud flikker teen die horison.

 

Soos wanneer jy so diep in ‘n droom wegsak

jy nie eers kan onthou jy was daar

wanneer jy terugkom nie.

 

Of wanneer jy so diep wegsak in ‘n siekte

dat jou dae ‘n swerm flikkerende spikkels word,

yl en koud teen die horison.

 

Die trein staan doodstil.

Twee-uur: helder maanskyn, yl sterre.

 

 

April Och Tystnad

April en stilte

 

 

Die lente lê verlate.

Die fluweelswart watersloot

kruip hier langs my

sonder weerkaatsings.

 

Die enigste iets wat glinster

is geel blomme.

 

Ek is geborge in my skadu

soos ‘n viool

in sy swart kas.

 

Die enigste ding wat ek wil sê

glinster buite bereik

soos silwerware

in ‘n pandjieswinkel.

 

 

Två Städer

Twee stede

 

Elk aan sy eie kant van die smal see, twee stede

die een verdonker, beset deur vyande.

In die ander brand ligte.

Die skitterende kuslyn hipnotiseer die donker een.

 

Ek swem uit in ‘n beswyming

op die glinsterende donker waters.

‘n Dowwe tuba-klank dring in.

Dit is ‘n vriend se stem, vat jou graf en gaan.

 

 

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 beroemde 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.

 

 

Ansikte mot ansikte

Van aangesig tot aangesig

 

In Februarie het die lewe tot stilstand gekom.

Voëls het gesukkel om te vlieg, en die siel

het teen die landskap geskuur soos ‘n boot

teen die brug waaraan dit vas is.

Bome het gestaan met weggedraaide rûe.

Sneeudiepte is gemeet aan dooie gras.

Voetspore het oud geword in die sneeukors.

Onder ‘n seil, vervagende taal.

Op ‘n dag kom iets na die venster.

Werk word gestaak, ek kyk op.

Kleure brand, alles keer om.

Die grond en ek spring na mekaar.

 

 

 

Published 02:48 11.10.11

    Latest update 02:48 11.10.11

 

A victory for poetry

The decision to award the Nobel Prize in Literature to Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer is a declaration of faith in poetry’s power to transcend borders.

By Eli Eliahu

 

“And I take the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature, when it is given to a poet, to be primarily an assertion of the supra-national value of poetry. To make that affirmation, it is necessary from time to time to designate a poet: and I stand before you, not on my own merits, but as a symbol, for a time, of the significance of poetry.”

It has been over 60 years since T.S. Eliot said the above in his speech at the Nobel Prize banquet. Since then, a few other poets have won the prize, including Wislawa Szymborska and Seamus Heaney, and now once again a poet has been awarded the prize, this time the Swedish poet, Tomas Transtromer. It seems that Eliot’s remarks are more relevant than ever, and the decision to award the Nobel Prize in Literature to a poet indeed is not just an award to the poet himself, but also an award to the significance of poetry and a renewed declaration of faith in its power to transcend borders and have an impact even in times when the value of things is measured solely by the number of people interested in them.

Tomas Transtromer and wife – Reuters – October 6 2011    

The name of Transtromer, who was born in 1931, has been mentioned as a candidate for several years now, but his win is still seen as a surprise. He is not exactly apolitical, but his poetry does not represent clear-cut non-conformism the way the works of other Nobel laureates did, such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn or Joseph Brodsky. Nor is the selection perceived as representing the people’s voice, the way works of Seamus Heaney or Derek Walcott are. Not everyone therefore deems Transtromer as a worthy choice. The Telegraph’s Philip Hensher noted, for example, “that time has shown every single Swedish winner of the prize to be ‘a little phenomenon of no interest’ outside their own country.”

Transtromer is indeed not a popular poet among the broader public, but his poetry has been translated into some 60 languages. His poems were translated into Hebrew by Galit Hasan-Rokem and his book, “Winter Formulae” was published in 2003 by Keshev Leshira. “Transtromer’s poetry can be considered from two perspectives,” says the publisher’s CEO, Rafi Weichert. “First, it contains material directly connected to Sweden, the images, the scenery. On the other hand, he deals with universal issues, such as the alienation that is the lot of modern man, the relationship between nature and the written word and urbanity, the place of language and poetry, the place of religion.”

The last poet to win the Nobel Prize in Literature was Wislawa Szymborska. The ease with which both poets’ works can be translated may well account for part of the choice to grant them the award.

“Transtromer’s poetry is meditative, recitative, and colored with surreal images and expressionism,” says Weichert. “It is poetry where the essence is in the content, the pictures and in this respect it is also reminiscent of the poetry of Yehuda Amichai, which is also easy to translate and has become popular around the world.”

 

A politically clean choice

Transtromer suffered a stroke in 1990 and since then has been paralyzed on one side and is unable to talk. He does continue to write and publish, but Weichert says his best poetry was written in earlier years. “I think they gave him the prize because they were worried that he would depart from this world without receiving it. This choice also conveys a message of political cleanliness. Had they chosen Adonis, for example, who I think is a great poet and certainly deserving of the prize, they would be saying that he was chosen because of the protests in Syria. And if they had chosen Amos Oz they would say that it was in order to promote the peace process. In the case of Transtromer, it is impossible to make any political arguments of this kind. Clearly, he was chosen on the merit of his poetry.”

There is something Bergman-esque about it (Tranströmer’s poetry); it will never be as popular as Szymborska’s poetry.”

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