Daniel Hugo – vertaling in Engels

Daniel Hugo – vertaal deur/translated by Charl JF Cilliers


Daniel Hugo

Daniel Hugo

Daniel Hugo was born in Stellenbosch on 26 February 1955. He spent his school years in Greyton and Windhoek. He subsequently obtained a BA (Hons) degree at the University of Stellenbosch, an MA at the University of Pretoria and  DLitt (Free State). At Stellenbosch he was a member of the D.J. Opperman Literary Laboratory. In 1982 Hugo made his debut as a poet with the volume Korte Mette. His latest volume is Die panorama in my truspieël. He is also well known as a translator of the Dutch poets Gerrit Komrij (Die elektries gelaaide hand) and Herman de Coninck (Die lenige liefde). After almost 20 years as a broadcaster on the Afrikaans radio service of the SABC, he is now editor of Protea Boekhuis. He has won several prizes for his translation work and radio programmes.



Table Bay II


To the horizon the salt of the ocean stretches

— a slavish mirror reflecting its azure —

the sun is a banished fire that trembles

over the bubble of Robben Island there

with all its scars of lepers and mandelas


I take a seat on a bench to admire

the view – on the sea breeze the polluted

miasma of a mendicant wafts all around —

before me rocks the radiant blue bay

and the tawny hilltops of the Swartland


to enjoy nature’s serenity in this land

your conscience needs to bear a heavy load.


(From: Skeurkalender, Tafelberg, 1998)

(Tr. by Charl JF Cilliers)



The House Listens


my rooms are hollow as an inner ear

I hear how the occupants noisily fight,

make love, find fault, console each other, tear

to shreds the nasty present, never content;

keep bickering about could or should or might


let me tell you that I preserve what went

before: my bedrock cracks under the load each day

my ceilings riddled by all the echoes

from too many curses my plasterwork crumbles

from years of tears, on window panes the blight


of rust: and so what was wears all of us away

my roof plates and all your prayers that were sent

cry out for help with each mounting decibel

unheard in every night’s hollow conch shell


(From: Dooiemansdeur, Tafelberg, 1991)

(Tr. by Charl JF Cilliers)



In Memoriam The Poet


His life was brief but heated

(at thirty years of age it ceased)

every flagon he depleted

let no lush virgin rest in peace

all his escapades he’d treat

with the clamorousness of his rhyme

his art was his prime conceit

blasphemous as a Faust


alas, he who seeks his wages

there is doomed to those Dark Ages:

hounded endlessly to dwell

by the printer’s devil’s sentence

without let or hindrance

in an antiquated hell


(From: Verse van die ongeloof, HAUM-Literêr, 1989)

(Tr. by Charl JF Cilliers)





the poet philosophises:


draw a line through silence

then you have words


draw a line through night

then it’s daylight


draw a line through death

then there is life


draw a line through the line

to make sure the cancellation is excised

and night, death, silence are revitalised


draw a line through poet


(Uncollected poem)

(Tr. by Charl JF Cilliers)



Sparrow And Man


God never stops working on his cosmic symphony

(which will forever, so it seems, remain unfinished)

vexed by the harmony’s inflexibility

from time to time he brushes loose notes from his table


one of them lands in the tree in front of my window

indignantly it sits there chirping

                                                I have sympathy

with my fellow earthling, my small sparrow friend


in God’s universe there are far too many scraps


(From: Die panorama in my truspieël, Protea Boekhuis, 2009)

(Tr. by Charl JF Cilliers)


Charl JF Cilliers  was born in 1941 in Cape Town. Initially he went into the field of electronics and lectured for 4 years. He then joined Parliament as a translator in 1968 and retired in 1998 as Editor of Hansard. His first volume of poems West-Falling Light appeared in 1971, to be followed by Has Winter No Wisdom in 1978. His Collected Poems 1960 – 2008 appeared in 2008 and The Journey in 2010. His latest volume of poetry , A momentary stay.  was published in 2011. He also published a volume of children’s poems, Fireflies Facing The Moon, in 2008. He has retired to the Cape West Coast where he continues to write.



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4 Kommentare op “Daniel Hugo – vertaling in Engels”

  1. Johann de Lange :

    Daniel, Charl is nie net ‘n goeie digter nie, maar ‘n dêm goeie vertaler. Hy behoort te kyk of hy nie ‘n uitgewer kan kry om sy vertalings van Afrikaanse digters uit te gee nie. Die Engelse lesers plaaslik het nie ‘n idee van die variasie van die Afrikaanse poësie nie. Dit hoef nie te kompeteer met die een waaruit hierdie reste kom nie, hulle kan naasmekaar staan, maar die lokale een kan hom vir vertalersprys in aanmerking laat kom.

  2. Ek stem saam!

  3. Joan Hambidge :

    Charl is ‘n puik vertaler. Hy navigeer presies die digter se gevoel en transporteer die gedig uitstekend van een taal na ‘n ander. Hy bly getrou aan die digter se bedoelings. Hy is natuurlik ook ‘n uitstekende digter.

  4. Joan Hambidge :

    Charl JF Cilliers kry dit reg om een van Daniel se mooiste gedigte reg te vertaal: hier as “Deconstruction”.
    Charl verander of verbeter nie gedigte nie. Hy vertaal die gedig en bly getrou aan die oorspronklike vers. En dit is m.i. hoekom sy vertalings so puik is. En hy laat ‘n mens die digter se werklike bydrae weer be-kyk. Ek stem met Johann de Lange saam: daar moet ‘n bundel van sy vertalings verskyn.