Posts Tagged ‘Naturalists’

Pieter Odendaal. Vertaling van Chris Mann

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Natuurkenners
Chris Zithulele Mann

Die natuurkenners wat ek ken
het bruin arms en groen vingers,
en vlinders kom slaap in hul baarde.
Hulle maak met pluisies kele skoon wat teer
is van besmette dou en wanneer hulle nies
bestuif hulle perskes en pruime.

Sonder hul geduldige geesdrif
sou ek niks van walvisse weet
wat jodel en bloep in die see nie,
hoe wespe vir hul kleintjies boeliebief
in modderblikkies bêre, watter bulte
saad moet kry en wanneer hulle braak moet lê.

Molekules en melkweë
warrel en ontplof
in heelalle buite hul fokus.
Daar’s genoeg tussenin om van te leef.

Nie net bye nie,
maar ook hul stuifmeel-sambas,
buiten groen en rooibruin eike,
ook boeke vol filosofie;
meer as bloot ’n druiwestok, ’n ruisende kerk
wat saad uit son en grond verwek.

Skermutselings en seges
warrel en ontplof
in heelalle buite hul fokus.
Daar’s genoeg tussenin om van te sing.

Vertaal deur Pieter Odendaal, Maart 2012.

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Naturalists
Chris Zithulele Mann

The naturalists I know
have brown arms and green thumbs,
and butterflies roost in their beards.
With tiny pads, they wipe polluted dew
from tender throats, and when they sneeze
they pollinate peaches and plums.

Without their patient passion
I wouldn’t know why whales
yodel and bloop beneath the sea,
how wasps preserve their infant’s bully-beef
inside a mud-walled tin, what slopes
to sow, and when to let them sleep.

Molecules and galaxies
swirl and erupt
in universes beyond their focus.
They find enough to live by in between.

In addition to a bee
its pollen pantaloons;
not just a green and russet oak,
a thousand pages of philosophy;
more than a vine, a rustling church
transmuting sun and earth to seed.

Quarrels and conquests
swirl and erupt
in universes beyond their focus.
They find enough to marvel at between.

© Chris Zithulele Mann.