Posts Tagged ‘W.S. Merwin’

Ampie Coetzee. Wanneer woorde niks meer sê nie

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

 WS Merwin

WANNEER WOORDE NIKS MEER Sê NIE

Die Amerikaanse digter W.S Merwin (89) het al meer as 50 poësiebundels gepubliseer, plus ander literêre werke. Hy was tweekeer die wenner van die Pulitzerprys, in 1971 en in 2009.  In 2010 word hy aangewys as die United States Poetry Laureate. In 2013 is hy die eerste ontvanger van die Poolse ‘Zbigniew Herbert International LiteraryAward’ , wat Breyen in Meimaand hierdie jaar kry. (Breyten skryf korliks ook oor Merwin en ander digters in Versindaba Jan. 2017).

Sy poësie werk met metafoor en paradoks, en daar is intuïtiewe oomblikke wat mens slegs so kan lees, feitlik sonder interpretasie-moontlikheid. Oor hom is daar ook gesê: ‘Merwin is our strongest poetry of silence and doubt, vacancy and absence’.

Ek wil ‘n gedig van hom aanhaal wat al hierdie eienskappe het; maar – en dit is belangrik – dat dit ‘n gedig vir ons tyd en ons Afrikaans hier in Suid-Afrika is. Asof hy kon geweet het wat met die skrywers van ‘n sterwende taal gebeur. (Hierdie gedig kom uit die bundel ‘The Rain in the Trees’, 1988)

Losing a Language

 

A  breath leaves the sentences and does not come back

yet the old still remember something that they could say

 

but they know now that such things are no longer believed

and the young have fewer words

 

many of the things the words were about

no longer exist

 

the noun for standing in mist by a haunted tree

the verb for I

 

the children will not repeat

the phrases their parents speak

 

somebody has persuaded them

that it is better to say everything differently

 

so that they can be admired somewhere

farther and farther away

 

where nothing that is here is known

we have little to say to each other

 

we are wrong and dark

in the eyes of the new owners

 

the radio is incomprehensible

the day is glass

 

when there is a voice at the door it is foreign

everywhere instead of a name there is a lie

 

nobody has seen it happening

nobody remembers

 

that is what the words were made

to prophesy

 

here are the extinct feathers

here is the rain we saw

 

Herinnering, geheue, is ‘n eienskap van Merwin se poësie. Hier is dit duidelik in die droefheid oor die taal wat verdwyn het. Ons het min om vir mekaar te sê. Die  implikasie is, omdat ons nie meer woorde het nie. Asem verlaat die sin en kom nie weer terug nie; net soos dit waaroor die woord was, nie meer bestaan nie. Oral is daar leuens. Woorde kan profeteer, maar net vere bly oor, en die reën wat ons gesien het.

Dikwels is daar paradokse en metafore: reën wat ons hier gesien het, is dood; en aan die begin die uitblaas van die asem. Dan, waar mens miskien intuïtief moet lees, in reëls soos: ‘ the noun for standing in mist by a haunted tree / the verb for I”

In sy tweede bundel al (‘The dancing Bears’ ,1954)skryf hy oor die poësie. Dikwels paradoksaal, soos in On the Subject of Poetry:

 

‘ do not understand the world, Father,

By the millpond at the end of the garden

There is a man who slouches listening

To the wheel revolving in the stream, only

There is no wheel to revolve … ‘

 

En aan die einde:

 

I speak of him, Father, because he is

There with his hands in his pockets, in the end

Of the garden listening to the turning

Wheel that is not there, but it is the world,

Father, That I do not understand’

 

Om nie te verstaan nie, om taal te verloor. Dis die droewige waarheid vir die digter.

 

Gedig en aanhaling uit  W.S Merwin. Migration, New and selected Poems, bls.286 en 25.  (Copper Canyon Press 2005).

 

Ampie Coetzee.

13 April 2017.

 

 

Nuuswekker. Sluipdigter terroriseer supermark

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

bread-poetryjpg

 

Die winkelbestuurder van  die Tesco Supermark in Coventry (Engeland) sit met ‘n interessante probleem, naamlik ‘n sluipdigter wat gedigte op strategiese plekke in die winkel laat. Meestal met ‘n negatiewe konnotasie ten opsigte van die bepaalde produkte, soos die gedig “Deer” deur Kenneth Rexroth, met die trefreël: “They hurt no one but themselves” by die vleisafdeling gelaat is.

Vantevore is daar glo ook anonieme boodskappe op die rakke vir verslankingsprodukte gelaat wat proklameer: “You don’t need these chemicals” en: “STOP counting calories! YOU LOOK GREAT”.

Volgens die Coventry Telegraph is ‘n grootskaalse soektog van stapel gestuur na die sogenaamde  Supermark Shakespeare in hul midde. Aangesien die winkel in Cannon Park (Coventry) glo na aan die Warwick Universiteit geleë is, bestaan die vermoede dat studente vir die geïnspireerde foefie verantwoordelik is.

Mits dit natuurlik nie die winkelbestuurder self is wat buite die bottel begin dink het nie.

Nietemin, een van die gedigte wat groot opslae in die bakkery veroorsaak het, volg hieronder. Immers het die vigilante goeie smaak.

*

Bread

for Wendell Berry

 

Each face in the street is a slice of bread

wandering on

searching

 

somewhere in the light the true hunger

appears to be passing them by

they clutch

 

have they forgotten the pale caves

they dreamed of hiding in

their own caves

full of the waiting of their footprints

hung with the hollow marks of their groping

full of their sleep and their hiding

 

have they forgotten the ragged tunnels

they dreamed of following in out of the light

to hear step after step

 

the heart of bread

to be sustained by its dark breath

and emerge

 

to find themselves alone

before a wheat field

raising its radiance to the moon

 

© W. S. Merwin

Uit: The Second Four Books of Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 1993)

 

W.S. Merwin – Amerikaanse digter van die jaar

Thursday, December 31st, 2009
WS Merwin

W.S. Merwin

Dit is vry algemene gebruik aan die einde van ‘n jaar om ‘n bestekopname van bepaalde digkunste te neem. So is daar op Edward Byrne se webblad, One Poet’s Notes, ‘n besonder goeie oorsig oor W.S. Merwin – volgens hom die Amerikaanse digter van die jaar – na aanleiding van die Pulitzer-prys wat Merwin gewen het met sy nuutste digbundel The Shadow of Sirius (uitgegee deur Copper Canyon Press).

Byrne motiveer sy huldiging soos volg: “Indeed, various reviews of The Shadow of Sirius have remarked upon the book’s sense of retrospection, how this volume seems to present messages that blend memory and imagination with a mixture of mature wisdom and acute awareness of mortality (“part memory part distance remaining”), apparently serving as an apt culmination of his career.”

Tydens ‘n onderhoud met Bill Moyers het Merwin hom soos volg oor sy nuwe bundel uitgelaat: “We are the shadow of Sirius. There is the other side-as we talk to each other, we see the light, and we see these faces, but we know that behind that, there’s the other side, which we never know. And that-it’s the dark, the unknown side that guides us-and that is part of our lives all the time. It’s the mystery. That’s always with us, too. And it gives the depth and dimension to the rest of it.”

Vir jou leesplesier plaas ek vanoggend W.S. Merwin se gedig “Term” hieronder.

***

En dan lê die jaar vanoggend vollengte op die naat van sy rug uitgestrek. Aan almal wat aan die (vroeë) suksesse van hierdie webblad meegewerk het: Baie dankie. Mag die nuwe jaar ons verbyster met vreugde. Intussen kan jy jou verlekker aan die Franse vertalings deur Pierre-Marie Finkelstein van Ronelda Kamfer se gedigte, asook die Nederlandse vertalings van Johan Lodewyk Marais se gedig “Monk’s Cowl” wat deur Herman Leenders gedoen is.

Mooi bly.

LE 

 

TERM

At the last minute a word is waiting
not heard that way before and not to be
repeated or ever be remembered
one that always had been a household word
used in speaking of the ordinary
everyday recurrences of living
not newly chosen or long considered
or a matter for comment afterward
who would ever have thought it was the one
saying itself from the beginning through
all its uses and circumstances to
utter at last that meaning of its own
for which it had long been the only word
though it seems now that any word would do

(c) W.S. Merwin