Breyten Breytenbach. Vertaling in Engels

 

Breyten Breytenbach: Vertaling uit Afrikaans in Engels. Vert. deur Ampie Coetzee.

 

beloved, language

 

beloved, I’m writing to you in this tongue

because losing it leaves me wordless

it is a gruesome experience

to scratch in the graves of forebears

I am ashamed

 

this language, beloved

dissolves in the mouth as the last taste

of the pebble we used to suck against thirst,

disappears because it was in the mouth

of corrupted white people

even though in places it touched a universe

 

with meagre words

I want to sing about our love for a last time

from mouth to wound to merciless soil

I am ashamed that I now have to be ashamed

 

the mouth is too secret not to feel pain

I will scratch open the grave

and bury the pebble between your thighs

and swallow the last bit of spit.

 

death is never having to be thirsty again,

my beloved language

 

(“liefling,taal”, from die beginsel van stof, p.18.  Human & Rousseau 2011.)

 

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