Ina Rousseau – vertaling in Engels

Ina Rousseau – vertaal deur die outeur (Daniel Hugo) ]



Die laspos


Uit die niet

kom staan voor my ’n kropduif

wat probeer om my blik van my boek

te lok. En sodra ek wonder

wat in liefdesnaam hy by my soek,

begin hy iets by my te bedel

wat ek sweerlik self ontbeer:

Hy vra vir my kroepoek.

En as ek vir hom sê skoert,

herhaal hy maar weer kroepoek.

So: kroepoek kroepoek kroepoek.

Pleitend eers, maar spoedig

bot, asof hy op my vloek.


(c) Ina Rousseau





I went to De Waal Park to read.

A pigeon appeared from nowhere,

making silly noises at my feet,

apparantly to make me look

at him, in stead of at my book.

And just as I was wondering

what the dickens he was up to,

he started to beg something from me

which – cross my heart – I did not have:

He asked me for krupuk.

And when I ordered him to scoot,

he simply continued asking krupuk.

Like this: krupuk krupuk krupuk.

Plaintive at first, he soon became

distinctly curt, as though the word

was being uttered as a curse.

Or worse.



(Vertaling: Ina Rousseau)



Uit: ’n Onbekende jaartal (1995)


The healers  (“Die helers”)


Also on this morning in early summer

the onslaught is being perpetuated:

the fabric of our country


is being torn, the seams

unpicked with little hooks of stainless steel –


but outside in the garden,

in a herbaceous border, fragrant

with the exudations of jasmine and heliotrope,


birds is busy

knotting a long strip of Flemish lace

out of sound.




Tiff  (“Twis”)


One morning I had a tiff with Sis Genis.

We were both six.

“It is!” I shouted, and she: “It isn’t!”

What was this tiff about between me and Sis

before we knew the word tiff exists?

“Tis.” “Tisn’t.” “Tis.” “Tisn’t.”

Then a grownup hissed:

“For heaven’s sake, stop this tiff!”



I caught the word in a net.

Out of nowhere –

no, not nowhere: out of my small past,

a raindrop swooped down into the summer day,

round and shimmery,

and shattered into fragments

against a window pane: Tiff.

And then another one: Tiff.

And then another. And another.

And yet another one: Tiff, tiff, tiff- tiff.

And then a whole swarm: thousands

of transparent, juicy water berries

whacking and bursting against window glass

and splitting open with hissy sounds:

Tiff-tiff-tiff-tiff-tiff . . .

More and more of them, swifter and swifter

until they were welded together

into one endless fabric of lispy sounds,

veiling the city,

silvery, grey and cool, blowing outwards

wider and wider

over the East Rand and the West Rand,

and very soon encompassing my universe:

Tifftifftifftiff . . .


And that is how a word, brand new and juicy,

spattered into my life when I was six

on the day of my tiff with Sis Genis.




That summer (“Daardie somer”)


That summer it sometimes happened before

daybreak that some insect or bird

made noises in the fig tree

which sounded like knitting needles of steel

clicking together.

It used to amuse us.

That summer you built a sundial

on the southern side of the garden

and the sun burnished you like

a farmer. Your arms were ochre.

It was the summer of the plethora of roses

and on the grass behind the house

our picnic meals of bread and fish –

The summer

of the evil against your flesh

exposed by the colour test of Hiss.




Extravaganza  (“Eztravaganza”)


Towards twilight there was tumult,

but after twenty minutes the thunder

rolled away out of the landscape,

slowly crumbling into nothingness

behind the mountain range. The clouds

melted, and above the cypresses

the stars were once more punching holes

into the indogo. Then, suddenly,


there was this extravaganza,

almost too grotesque te be true:


a full moon hovering on the horizon,

hauntingly huge, the hue of saffron,

like a sun

setting in the Tanqua Karoo.




The cherry tree (“Die kersieboom”)


Until recently he was scarcely more than

fragile scaffolding, a growing enigma.

Now he has become a sweetmeat factory,

a flourishing firm with many branches.

He markets his products in the season

of the rununcula and the rose:

the marble-sized ball-round ruby-red

containers crammed with fructose.


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