Andries Bezuidenhout. Die Johannesburg wat ek verloor het

Uit pure frustrasie pluk ek gisteraand ʼn reeks ou vertalings (deur Edmund Keely en Philip Sherrard) van Griekse digters van die rak af. Ek lees “Waiting for the Barbarians,” ʼn ou gunsteling. Ook “The God Abandons Antony”:

When suddenly at midnight you hear
an invisible company pass
with exquisite music, voices –
do not lament your luck that now gives out, your work
that has failed, schemes of your life
all proved to be false – do not lament these uselessly.
Like one for long prepared, like a courageous man,
say good-bye to her, to the Alexandria who is leaving.
Above all, do not deceive yourself, do not say
it was a dream, your hearing was mistaken:
do not condescend to such vain hopes as these.
Like one for long prepared, like a courageous man,
as it becomes you who have had the honour of such a city,
go firmly to the window
and listen, with feeling but not
with a coward’s supplication and complaint –
listen as the final enjoyment to the music,
to the exquisite instruments of the mysterious company,
and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.

Dis pragtig. Ek besluit dis tyd om ʼn ander werk te soek. Dit herinner my aan iets anders, haal ʼn Leonard Cohen CD van die rak en kry die volgende liriek:

Suddenly the night has grown colder.
Some deity preparing to depart.
Alexandra hoisted on his shoulder,
they slip between the sentries of your heart.

Upheld by the simplicities of pleasure,
they gain the light, they formlessly entwine;
and radiant beyond your widest measure
they fall among the voices and the wine.

lt’s not a trick, your senses all deceiving,
a fitful dream the morning will exhaust –
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving,
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.

Even though she sleeps upon your satin.
Even though she wakes you with a kiss.
Do not say the moment was imagined,
Do not stoop to strategies like this.

As someone long prepared for this to happen,
Go firmly to the window. Drink it in.
Exquisite music, Alexandra laughing.
Your first commitments tangible again.

You who had the honour of her evening,
And by that honour had your own restored –
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.
Alexandra leaving with her lord.

As someone long prepared for the occasion;
In full command of every plan you wrecked –
Do not choose a coward’s explanation
that hides behind the cause and the effect,

You who were bewildered by a meaning,
whose code was broken, crucifix uncrossed –
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.

So word ʼn stad ʼn vrou…

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2 Kommentare op “Andries Bezuidenhout. Die Johannesburg wat ek verloor het”

  1. Louis :

    Sjoe, Andries! Die toon van verslaentheid in hierdie gedigte is ‘n yskoue handgreep om die keel. Om die een of ander rede voel dit my dat ek jou moet herinner aan wat ek eenkeer vir jou (met ‘n glas rooi koeldrank in die hand) gesê het: “Teen die sotheid staan selfs die gode magteloos.”
    Voorspoed met alles.
    Louis

  2. Desmond Painter :

    “Now tell me how do I begin again? My city’s in ruins, my city’s in ruins.” – Springsteen

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