Pablo Neruda. The Captain’s Verses

Omslag

Omslag

Pablo Neruda is allerweë bekend as die digter wie se debuutdigbundel “Twenty love poems and a song of despair” al meer as ‘n miljoen kopieë verkoop het. In daaropvolgende bundels het hy oor ‘n wye verskeidenheid onderwerpe gedig, maar dit is in wese sy liefdespoësie wat hom internasionaal as ‘n gunsteling onder poësieliefhebbers gevestig het. En tog is ek telkens verbaas oor hoe min mense bewus is van sy ongelooflike bundel “The Captains Verses” (2004: New Directions), wat na my mening waarskynlik van die mees onvergeetlike liefdesverse bevat wat jy ooit te lese sal kan kry …

Neruda het hierdie verse geskryf in die tydperk wat hy as banneling op die eiland Capri saam met sy sekretaresse (en minnares) Matilda Urrutia gewoon het. Aangesien hy op daardie tydstip nog nie van sy vrou geskei was nie, het hierdie verse anoniem verskyn in 1952 met ‘n beperkte oplaag van net 50 kopieë. Eers veel later, in 1963 nadat Neruda en sy Matilda reeds getroud was, het Neruda erken dat hy die digter is van hierdie bundel. Hy het hom soos volg hieroor uitgelaat: “Matilda and I took refuge in our love…. It was the first time we had lived together in the same house.  In that place of  intoxicating beauty, our love grew steadily.  We could never again live apart.  There I finished The Captain’s Verses, a book of love, passionate but also painful…. My love for Matilda, homesickness for Chile, passion for social consciousness fill the pages of this book that went through many editions without its author’s name.”

En ja, dit is op hierdie gegewe wat die bekende film, “Il Postino” gebaseer is.

Ter verdere motivering, die volgende kommentaar deur ‘n onbekende leser op Amazon.com se webblad: “I had heard about Pablo Neruda a few years before and I wasn’t too fond of his poetry. When I opened “The Captain’s Verses” in a bookstore a few months ago, I knew that I had to have it. Since then this has become my most treasured book of poetry. I don’t even know how to describe Pablo Neruda. When you read his poetry you just become entranced by the way he is so accurately able to convey such passion in his simple words and beautiful imagery. Even now after I have read each poem in this book at least a hundred times I am still amazed by the way he does it. I have not yet found another book of poetry that can evoke such feeling as “The Captain’s Verses.” I believe that this is essential to any poetry lover’s collection of poetry and that those who are not big fans of poetry would enjoy the love poems of Pablo Neruda.”

Amen. Vir jou leesplesier plaas ek die gedig “Lives” onder aan vanoggend se Nuuswekker.

***

Ten slotte fokus ek jou aandag op Desmond Painter se nuwe plasing wat oor Ernst van Heerden en Paul Wittgenstein handel. Laasgenoemde was natuurlik die insprirasie vir Ravel se Klavierkonsert vir die linkerhand.

En dan is dit hierdie Sondag Valentynsdag. Mag dié ervaring jou sodanig inspireer dat jy sommer ‘n brief aan die Brieweboks sal skryf waarin jy van jou gunsteling liefdesvers of -bundel vertel. Want waaragtig, dit wil my voorkom asof ons die hele idee van ‘n “Blogfokus” sommer vroeg-vroeg gaan moet kanselleer weens gebrek aan belangstelling. Ai, ai.

Hoe dit ook al sy – mag jy verras word deur die liefde hierdie naweek.

Mooi bly.

LE

 

Lives

 

Ah how ill at ease sometimes

I feel you are

with me, victor among men!

 

Because you do not know

that with me were victorious

thousand of faces that you can not see,

thousands of feet and hearts that marched with me,

that I am not,

that I do not exist,

that I am only the front of those who go with me,

that I am stronger

because I bear in me

not my little life

but all the lives,

and I walk steadily forward

because I have a thousand eyes,

I strike with the weight of a rock

because I have a thousand hands

and my voice is heard on the shores

of all the lands

because it is the voice of all

those who did not speak,

of those who did not sing

and who sing today with this mouth

that kisses you.

 

© Pablo Neruda (uit: The Captain’s Verses, vertaal deur Dondald D. Walsh)

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