Harold Monro. Vertaling in Afrikaans

Harold Monro. Vertaal in Afrikaans deur Helize van Vuuren

.

Bitter heenkome

(ter herinnering aan Barend Toerien)

I

Sy bewoon die portierskamer: als nikotien-deurtrek.

Kliënte het hul foto’s daar gelaat vir vergaan.

Sy bekyk deur groen hortjies dié wat smag

na bewusteloosheid …

Sy lek haar geverfde dun blourooi-lippe,

Sy krap ‘n voortand met ‘n vingernael,

Sy steek kop-uit om nuwe kliënte te groet, of

hul (vir watter marteling) wagtend te laat by die deur.

II

Hitte het die swaar aarde omarm,

elke klank benadruk,

hy, waar sy lewe hom nog hou aan die grond,

in beswyming, kermend om hergeboorte,

leun teen die deur,

Van buitenshuis kom die dofste gefladder;

‘n lakei; en dun gegiggel van agter dié hortjie.

III

Sy verlore oë leun om die nommer te vind en te lees.

Volg sy kneukel-klop, en huiwerige vloek.

Hy kry homself nie wakker; mag nie sluimer;

wyl op die lang wit muur oorkant die straat

die dun buitelyne van ‘n dralende lykswa dryf.

IV

Nou open die deur wyd.

Hy: “Is daar plek daarbinne?”

Sy: “Is jy anderkant die pyngrens?”

Hy:  “Mag my lyf vergeefs lê

in die drome wat ek nie kan hou!”

Sy: “Laat hom die slaapbeker drink…”

V

Dun arms en spookhande; dowwe hemelsblou oë;

lang hangende wimpers, ooglede soos volmane,

klouend aan enige rant van swewende lug:

Watter hoop is daar nog? Watter vrees? – slegs wakkerskrik met sig op

verbrokkelende vlees, en koue ewigheid.

O wel nog ‘n gesig, half-lewend, bring

‘n Ver getuur na hom en neurie:

Sy: “Jy’s wit. Jy is alleen.

kan jy nie my sfeer benader nie?”

Hy: “Ek verander in klip…”

Sy” “Wens ek kon! Wens ek kon!”

Dan vul die wit verpleërs die beker.

VI

Soggens deur die wêreld heen

aanskou hoe minderes die koffie bring;

aanskou herders op heuwels,

here en dames aan die toilet,

boere, handelaars, besige stede.

Maar kyk hoe hy, ongelukkige, nou stommel

deur vreemde kamers heen, onoplettend struikel.

Kan hy die oorskaduwende nag ontglip?

Is daar nie êrens vleugies lig?

VII

Hoe ontsnap hul na hul dié kamers betrek het?

Party kan gevind word, sê hul, vas aan die slaap

in verbrokkelende grafte.

Party in wit beddens, met gesigte rondom vergaar. Party

wandel die wêreld oor, en vind nooit ‘n tuiste.

 

           – Harold Monro (1879-1931) Uit: Strange Meetings 2003;

(© Vert. Helize van Vuuren 12 Junie 2019) [Ek is deur Barend Toerien na dié digter en sy vers verwys, asook op die verband daarvan met Van Wyk Louw se “Gesprek van die dooie siele”]

________________________________________________

Bitter Sanctuary

I

She lives in the porter’s room; the plush is nicotined.

Clients have left their photos there to perish.

She watches through green shutters those who press

To reach unconsciousness.

She licks her varnished thin magenta lips,

She picks her foretooth with a finger nail,

She pokes her head out to greet new clients, or

To leave them (to what torture) waiting at the door.

II

Heat has locked the heavy earth,

Given strength to every sound,

He, where his life still holds him to the ground,

In anæsthesia, groaning for re-birth,

Leans at the door.

From out the house there comes the dullest flutter;

A lackey; and thin giggling from behind that shutter.

III

His lost eyes lean to find and read the number.

Follows his knuckled rap, and hesitating curse.

He cannot wake himself; he may not slumber;

While on the long white wall across the road

Drives the thin outline of a dwindling hearse.

IV

Now the door opens wide.

He: .”Is there room inside?.”

She: .”Are you past the bounds of pain?.”

He: .”May my body lie in vain

Among the dreams I cannot keep!.”

She: .”Let him drink the cup of sleep..”

V

Thin arms and ghostly hands; faint sky-blue eyes;

Long drooping lashes, lids like full-blown moons,

Clinging to any brink of floating skies:

What hope is there? What fear?.-Unless to wake and see

Lingering flesh, or cold eternity.

O yet some face, half living, brings

Far gaze to him and croons:

She: .”You’re white. You are alone.

Can you not approach my sphere?.”

He: .”I’m changing into stone..”

She: .”Would I were! Would I were!.”

Then the white attendants fill the cup.

VI

In the morning through the world,

Watch the flunkeys bring the coffee;

Watch the shepherds on the downs,

Lords and ladies at their toilet,

Farmers, merchants, frothing towns.

But look how he, unfortunate, now fumbles

Through unknown chambers, unheedful stumbles.

Can he evade the overshadowing night?

Are there not somewhere chinks of braided light?

VII

How do they leave who once are in those rooms?

Some may be found, they say, deeply asleep

In ruined tombs.

Some in white beds, with faces round them. Some

Wander the world, and never find a home.

 

– Harold Monro (1879-1931) Uit: Strange Meetings 2003 [oorspronklike titel: “The Alcoholics.”]

 

 

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