Seamus Heaney se huldeblyk aan Milosz

Czeslaw Milosz

Czeslaw Milosz

Die honderdste herdenking van Czesław Milosz se geboortedag word vanjaar gevier en verskeie inisiatiewe wêreldwyd bring hulde aan dié Nobelpryswenner wat in sy loopbaan van bykans vier dekades so ‘n groot invloed op die internasionale digkuns gehad het. So het daar verlede week in The Guardian ‘n besonder treffende huldeblyk deur Seamus Heaney verskyn; ‘n huldeblyk wat enersyds ‘n oorsig bied van Milosz se lewe en andersyds belangrike perspektiewe open op Milosz se werk as digter.

‘n Gedig wat pertinent deur Heaney uitgesonder word, is die vers wat ek vanoggend vir jou leesplesier onder aan die Nuuswekker plaas, “A Song on the End of the World“, ‘n gedig wat Milosz in 1943 geskryf het ten tye van die Nazi-besetting van Warsaw: “What ‘The World’ did, at a moment when brutality and atrocity were the daily reality, was to create a picture of the very opposite state of affairs. In this idyll, children are trusting and secure, parents kind and reliable, the landscape and seasons a storybook delight. And all this was presented while the country was in the cruel grip of the occupying army. But the childlike idiom – Miłosz called it ‘a naif poem’ – was a deliberate artistic ploy […] a case of beauty holding a plea with rage.”

En dit was juis dié kontrasterende werkwyse van Milosz wat hom die gerespekteerde en invloedryke digter gemaak het wat hy was. Of soos hy dit in sy eie woorde gestel het, hom gevestig het as die sekretaris (skriba?) van onsigbare dinge:

Whatever I hold in my hand, a stylus, reed, quill or a ballpoint,
Wherever I may be, on the tiles of an atrium, in a cloister cell, in a hall before the portrait of a king,
I attend to matters I have been charged with.

Inderdaad. En watter ingrypende dinge is nie alles deur die geskiedenis voor hom neergelê om op sy eiesoortige manier van te getuig nie … Soos hy dit self tydens ‘n latere onderhoud gestel het: “It seems I was called for this. To glorify things just because they are.”

Graag eindig ek dié Nuuswekker met die laaste reëls van Seamus Heaney se huldeblyk: “What distinguishes Miłosz as a poet is the abundance and spontaneity of the work, his at-homeness in so many different genres and landscapes, his desire for belief and his equally acute scepticism. Chiefly, however, what irradiates the poetry and compels the reader is a quality of wisdom. Everything is carried and feels guaranteed by the voice. Even in translation, even when he writes in a didactic vein, there is a feeling of phonetic undertow, that the poem is a trawl, not just talk. And this was true of the work he did right up to his death in Kraków in 2004. Miłosz once wrote: ‘The child who dwells inside us trusts that there are wise men somewhere who know the truth.’ At this centenary moment, he himself has become one of those wise men.”

Sela. Gaan lees gerus die volledige stuk op The Guardian se webblad.


Sedert gister het daar net een nuwe plasing bygekom en dit is Desmond Painter wat skryf oor Kreta as ‘klipwieg’ van Europa en die Westerse beskawing.

Lekker lees.



A Song on the End of the World


On the day the world ends

A bee circles a clover,

A fisherman mends a glimmering net.

Happy porpoises jump in the sea,

By the rainspout young sparrows are playing

And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.


On the day the world ends

Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,

A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,

Vegetable peddlers shout in the street

And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,

The voice of a violin lasts in the air

And leads into a starry night.


And those who expected lightning and thunder

Are disappointed.

And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps

Do not believe it is happening now.

As long as the sun and the moon are above,

As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,

As long as rosy infants are born

No one believes it is happening now.


Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet

Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,

Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:

There will be no other end of the world,

There will be no other end of the world.


(c) Czesław Milosz (Warsaw, 1944)


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