Posts Tagged ‘Breyten Breytenbach vertaling’

Breyten Breytenbach – vertaling in Engels

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Breyten Breytenbach – Vertaal deur Ampie Coetzee


New York, 12 September 2001

 Then it went dark.  Real dark. Like snow’ – words of a survivor


will the hand keep writing

will any poem have enough weight

to leave a strip of flight across the deserted landscape

ever have enough face against death’s dark silence

who will then tell


this large antheap of people are skinned today

sombre and abused, clear and foggy

as if the sordid brown of spluttering towers

still sweeps the skyline away like a dirty flag


images keep lamenting for expression beyond the eye

airplanes are bombs filled with scrapnel of soft bodies

then the inferno of flaming flowers from skyscrapers

human flares like crashing angels from the highest storey

down, down, beside glimmering buildings of glass and steel

weightless and slim and streamline – winged

a shooting star mirrored in the fleetin bg language of forget  –

the hellhound of destruction has a red, laughing tongue


who will tell who can tell

the eye does not understand the sky is blue

through the sad and chilly winter of the atom

people stumble people slide people crawl people-people

where are the faces laying


old for their years or conjugal togetherness

from skull to toes grey of ash


under rubbish and debris rosy bodies mumble and move

and in the East River confidential files are drifting

and tatters and feathers torn human flesh

scorched confetti of the dog’s feast


where are the faces

will the tongue still think tomorrow tomorrow

can still pulse in the dark lair

with the flaming memory of joy

will any poem someday somewhere have enough weight

to leave a handwriting that speaks of fall and forget

will death keep quivering in the paper


[die windvanger. Breyten Breytenbach. Human & Rousseau. 2007 p. 56-57]


Translated by Ampie Coetzee


Breyten Breytenbach. Vertaling in Engels

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Breyten Breytenbach. Vertaling deur/ translation by Ampie Coetzee


lay aside letter for poem


Dear poem, stay with me.

Do not when the end is so near

leave me in the lurch. We have been together in many stories

for years and tides, through lands and landscapes and loves

and  secret rooms where gallows were enthroned,

from the one mask to the other

monkey tricks or apostrophe or funeral. Who knows me better?


I didn’t always treat you well,

misused you, whored with you, even

like a deceiving Peter betrayed you as sentimental weakness

or something one whispers under the mantle for fighters in the mountains

even before the cock throaty crows a third time


Yet I never actually forsook you.

I saw how hard you tried

to be my vanguard and my rearguard

to protect my fear and ectasy, who often you

had to apologize for me.


And now you have come of age – or just simply sick of it?

Now you can mockingly live on your own without me.

But now tarry a little while. Hold my hand tightly

and lead me now I can know or see less and less

to count the words like scarce small change.

Let’s make as if we still like each other

and travel the last syllables together

to where I can let you walk on your own

to the death of the tongue.


Oh, we could have gone further, I grant you that

up to the crossing of borders

where I was to afraid to lose you, my young, guide.

Do you still remember our distant discoveries

in dark trains through the night , klik-klak,

and the dreams I passed on to you,

to wake up before dawn and hungrily

look through the window at new landscapes

of peaked mountains where other wild  poems live –

what are the people doing there?


You are the only one that I ever allowed

into the intimate lost places, to lie with me

and the beloved under the sheet

with your feet like rough metaphors.


And now we are old. I search for you, calling ‘bokkie

-bokkie’ on the yard, paging through tattered notebooks

to see if you have perhaps left a message

(you always had too many lost messages)

But you are gone. You don’t want revenge?


When I wake from the night you had left me

an empty sheet of paper.

Over the work table you look speechless at me.

What do you want to say?


That it has past? I too old and stained?

That I could not protect our thoughts anymore,

the speaking gland no more pierced into you

and you prefer to live in the bush like a beast

to sing and dance of forgotten gods?


Rather kill me before you go.

Stay with me.

Cut my throat as end line!


(weglê brief vir gedig. die beginsel van stof, pp. 34-36. Human & Rouseau. 2011).

(Vertaal deur Ampie Coetzee, 2019)