Ellen Bryant Voigt. Vertaling in Afrikaans

 

Versindaba kompetisie vir vertaalde gedigte (45)

 

Ellen Bryant Voigt. Vertaling van Engels in Afrikaans. Vert. deur Tom Dreyer.

 

Mormeldier

 

on-anders as otters waaroor ons vrek rinkinkers

roeiend op hul rug soos stokkiesdraaiers met kos-

pakkies in waspapier dieselfde vlambruin pels met stroke

rooi en grys ofskoon dié marmot ‘n veer voel vir swemgate

en sy noenmaal in die aarde wortel sy bene is verpot

sy pote ‘n vet man se koddige skoentjies hy’s g’n

 

gerinkink nie hy’s ‘n skarreling van vetlaag op laag sy vel

glim asof dit nat is dit gloei soos sabel of kastaiing

sy kop en bek donkerder laer af in die gras

‘n driehoekige gevreet soos ‘n varksnoet fret nog iets

wat nie ‘n snoet is nie maak name dan nie saak nie ek hou

 

van varke wat slim is en sindelik en met hul snoete

hul uitskot na die hok se rand toe wroet

maar varke het harige velle eerder as pels sý pels

skitter en rimpel hy spaar altyd die moederplant sy

tande is soos ‘n skaap s’n stomp en hoekig deins hy terug

as jy hom jag of byt hy soos ‘n sog met kleintjies word hy

 

ooit aangeval hy lyk vir my oneetbaar hy deel sy weiveld

 

met mol vleirot en onversadigbare kraai iemand het al

díé name uitgedink hulle noem hom ook “afskeep Algonquin”

maar ja hy tonnel onder die skuur waar ‘n boer op sy dag

 

brandhout gedroog het en vlug hierheen vir jou hoes of lag

of vir grassnyer windvlaag of deinende rivier hy lig sy kop

soos Gandhi s’n met ‘n klein sywaartse knak of staan pen-

orent soos ‘n prêriehond of sirkusbrak maar brakke waggel nie

soos Mao met ‘n halfwas stertjie nie hy lyk aseksueel

soos Gandhi of Jesus en as Jesus ooit sou terugkom

sou hy vegetaries wees en wat van commie mof of freako

 

boorlinge van Vermont verwens die stad se greyhounds

en sien hulself as mormeldiere macho harig ongekam en reg

om voor die voet ‘n vetsak te skiet skaam mak marmot stralend

in ‘n vanghok soos ‘n varksnoet fret skoner as ‘n skaap sy

pels sag soos ‘n meisie s’n miskien is hy eerder ‘n sy

dit maak saak wat jy ons noem woorde vorm die gedagte

en bewaar jou siel as jy rot sou sê en alles ruïneer

 

***

 

Groundhog

Ellen Bryant Voigt

  

not unlike otters which we love frolicking

floating on their backs like truant boys unwrapping lunch

same sleek brown pelt some overtones of gray and rust

though groundhogs have no swimming hole and lunch

is rooted in the ground beneath short legs small feet

like a fat man’s odd diminutive loafers not

 

frolicking but scurrying layers of fat his coat

gleams as though wet shines chestnut sable darker

head and muzzle lower into the grass

a dark triangular face like the hog-nosed skunk another delicate

nose and not a snout doesn’t it matter what they’re called I like swine

 

which are smart and prefer to be clean using their snouts

to push their excrement to the side of the pen

but they have hairy skin not fur his fur

shimmers and ripples he never uproots the mother plant his teeth

I think are blunt squared off like a sheep’s if cornered does he

cower like sheep or bite like a sow with a litter is he ever

 

attacked he looks to me inedible he shares his acreage

 

with moles voles ravenous crows someone

thought up the names his other name is botched Algonquin

but yes he burrows beneath the barn where once a farmer

 

dried cordwood he scuttles there at speech cough laugh

at lawnmower swollen brook high wind he lifts his head

as Gandhi did small tilt to the side or stands erect

like a prairie dog or a circus dog but dogs don’t waddle like Mao

with a tiny tail he seems asexual like Gandhi like Jesus if Jesus

came back would he be vegetarian also pinko freako homo

 

in Vermont natives scornful of greyhounds from the city

self-appoint themselves woodchucks unkempt hairy macho

who would shoot on sight an actual fatso shy mild marmot radiant

as the hog-nosed skunk in the squirrel trap both cleaner than sheep

fur fluffy like a girl’s maybe he is a she it matters

what we’re called words shape the thought don’t say

rodent and ruin everything

 

 

Bronverwysing:

Voigt, Ellen Bryant. 2013. Headwaters. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p 34

ISBN: 0393350002

 

 

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