Louis Esterhuizen. Die dawerende stiltes van Yannis Ritsos

 

Oor Archipelago Press het ek al dikwels geskryf aangesien hulle loshande een van my gunsteling-uitgewerye is; in hoofsaak vanweë die magdom internasionale digkuns wat hulle in vertaling aan die poësieliefhebber bied … Nou het hulle verrassend genoeg eergister bekend gemaak dat hulle ‘n nuwe webblad op die internet gevestig het , en getrou aan Archipelago se manier van doen, is dit ‘n uiters opwindende tuiste vir die liefhebber van digkuns wêreldwyd. Nie net is daar heelwat blootstelling aan hul eie publikasies nie, maar daar is ook ‘n weblog met allerhande nuusbrokkies, plus ‘n volledige lys van skakels na ander belangwekkende webtuistes … Indrukwekkend, inderdaad.

En sommer met die intrapslag lees ek ‘n oorsig oor een van my gunstelingdigters, die Griekse digter Yannis Ritsos, raak. Dié betrokke inskrywing handel oor Rachel Hadas se bespreking van Ritsos wat in die Times Literary Supplement van Mei-maand verskyn het …

“The Greek poet Yannis Ritsos, interned on one prison island or another in the late 1940s and early 50s, wrote poems recording his experiences in these bleak settings. Beautifully edited and translated by Karen Emmerich and Edmund Keeley as Diaries of Exile, his journal-like verses record soccer games, meals, the late arrival of newspapers, moonlight, sheep bells,” skryf Hadas.

Afgesien van die treffende gedig wat sy aanhaal, is daar ook uittreksels uit Ritsos se dagboek, waaronder die volgende: “… this long silence. I don’t know what’s the matter with me. All winter I have been trying to discipline myself – ‘Empty the mind’, as they say in the handbooks, ‘concentrate on one thing, any thing, the snowflake, the granite it falls upon, the planet risen opposite, etc, etc’ – and failing, failing. Quicksands of leisure!” Met haar kommentaar as slotsom: “’Quicksands of leisure’ elegantly evokes the abundance of empty time to be found in a surprising number of venues from waiting rooms to rocks in Vermont fields to the island of Leros. The silence and the emptiness are waiting for us. The open notebook may beckon, or we may drop our pen. If we have a book to read, so much the better. But first it seems necessary to face the blankness of the page or the sky – to feel, as Ritsos puts it, the silence settling within us.”

Op die Poetry Foundation se webtuiste kan ‘n uitvoerige bespreking van Ritsos se lewe en werk gevind word. Ook is daar ‘n webtuiste ter ere van dié besonderse digter waar heelwat stof oor hom gevind kan word.

Vir jou leesplesier volg twee van Ritsos se korter gedigte.

En welgedaan, Archipelago … ‘n Mens kan kwalik wag vir al die lekkerleesure wat op dié webblad geniet gaan word!

***

Clay: 32

 

So many twisting tasks
he completely lost
his way.
Perhaps they asked about him—
then went searching
to find him.
Dark gave way to dawn.
Soon it will rain.
No one is looking for him.

(c) Yannis Ritsos (Athens—January 19, 1978. Uit: Clay (1980) [Collected Poems:1980)

 *

Clay: 37

Metal on metal
hammer on anvil
wheel on rail.
In between each clang
is a bird
not yet killed
coming from the other side.

(c) Yannis Ritsos (Athens—January 20, 1978. Uit: Clay (1980) [Collected Poems:1980)

  

 

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