Desmond Painter. Milosz se ars poetica

Johann de Lange se insiggewende artikel, ‘God se ars poetica’ (op Kaapse Paragrawe) spoor my aan om Cloete weer aan te durf… wel, een van die dae. Vir eers (soos gereelde lesers sou agterkom) verlustig ek my vir ‘n slag weer aan Czeslaw Milosz se gedigte. Ek het laasweek ‘n strofe of twee uit sy Ars poetica? aangehaal. Hier volg nou die volledige gedig:


Ars Poetica?

I have always aspired to a more spacious form
that would be free from the claims of poetry or prose
and would let us understand each other without exposing
the author or reader to sublime agonies.

In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent:
a thing is brought forth which we didn’t know we had in us,
so we blink our eyes, as if a tiger had sprung out
and stood in the light, lashing his tail.

That’s why poetry is rightly said to be dictated by a daimonion,
though its an exaggeration to maintain that he must be an angel.
It’s hard to guess where that pride of poets comes from,
when so often they’re put to shame by the disclosure of their frailty.

What reasonable man would like to be a city of demons,
who behave as if they were at home, speak in many tongues,
and who, not satisfied with stealing his lips or hand,
work at changing his destiny for their convenience?

It’s true that what is morbid is highly valued today,
and so you may think that I am only joking
or that I’ve devised just one more means
of praising Art with thehelp of irony.

There was a time when only wise books were read
helping us to bear our pain and misery.
This, after all, is not quite the same
as leafing through a thousand works fresh from psychiatric clinics.

And yet the world is different from what it seems to be
and we are other than how we see ourselves in our ravings.
People therefore preserve silent integrity
thus earning the respect of their relatives and neighbors.

The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person,
for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors,
and invisible guests come in and out at will.

What I’m saying here is not, I agree, poetry,
as poems should be written rarely and reluctantly,
under unbearable duress and only with the hope
that good spirits, not evil ones, choose us for their instrument.

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2 Kommentare op “Desmond Painter. Milosz se ars poetica”

  1. Johann :

    Desmond, ek het juis vanaand twee gedigte opsy gesit om te vertaal, beide van Milosz. Soos die toeval dit wil hê die een wat jy hierbo aanhaal, & die volgende een wat een van my persoonlike gunstelinge is:

    No more
    Czeslaw Milosz

    I should relate sometime how I changed
    My views on poetry, and how it came to be
    That I consider myself today one of the many
    Merchants and artisans of Old Japan,
    Who arranged verses about cherry blossoms,
    Chrysanthemums and the full moon.

    If only I could describe the courtesans of Venice
    As in a loggia they teased a peacock with a twig,
    And out of brocade, the pearls of their belt)
    Set free heavy breasts and the reddish weal
    Where the buttoned dress marked the belly)
    As vividly as seen by the skipper of galleons
    Who landed that morning with a cargo of gold;
    And if I could find for their miserable bones
    In a graveyard whose gates are licked by greasy water
    A word more enduring than their last-used comb
    That in the rot under tombstones, alone, awaits the light,

    Then I wouldn’t doubt. Out of reluctant matter
    What can be gathered? Nothing, beauty at best.
    And so, cherry blossoms must suffice for us
    And chrysanthemums and the full moon.

    Montgeron, 1957

  2. Desmond :

    Johann, ek sien uit om jou vertalings van beide hierdie gedigte te lees. So spring aan die werk!