Elizabeth Bishop. Vertaling in Afrikaans

 

Versindaba kompetisie vir vertaalde gedigte (89)

 

Elizabeth Bishop. Vertaling van Engels in Afrikaans. Vert. deur Tom Dreyer.

 

Die vis

 

ek vang ‘n allemintige vis

en hou hom langs die boot

net-net bo die water

hoek in sy bek ingebed

hy spook nie meer nie het

ook nooit hy hang

kreunend en verinneweer

dog eerbiedwaardig huislik

selfs sy bruin vel druip plek-plek

in repe soos muurpapier verfraai

met ‘n verganklikheid van rose hy’s

seepok-gespikkel klein kalksteen

rosette en seeluis-geinfesteer

twee of drie wierslierte wieg

onder kieue wat fris en bloedbelaai

die gruwelike suurstof prosesseer

ek dink aan sy vlees ru

en wit en ingepak soos vere

om swemblaas en graat

en glinsterende ingewand

sy oë is groter as myne dog vlak

en geel en die holtes van sy irisse

is met foelie uitgevoer hulle gly

en sloer maar kyk nie na my nie

hulle is iets wat na die lig toe roer

en terwyl ek sy bot gesig bepeins

en die meganisme van sy kaak

sien ek aan sy onderlip

— as jy iets wat so gepantser

is ‘n lip kan noem –

vyf lengtes vislyn

of vier en ‘n swaar draadstrop

kompleet met swivel vyf medalje-

linte ‘n vyfhaar-wysheidsbaard een

groen lyn deur die breekslag uitgerafel

twee dikkes en een blinkswart

gekonfoes deur sy ontsnapping

my oorwinning tap my huurboot vol

ruimwater waarop ‘n olie-reënboog

vlam om die verroeste enjin en verslete

bankies om die roeimikke en die relings

totdat alles in ligtelaaie staan

– reënboog reënboog reënboog –

en ek laat die vis gaan

 

***

 

The fish

 Elizabeth Bishop

 

I caught a tremendous fish

and held him beside the boat

half out of water, with my hook

fast in a corner of his mouth.

He didn’t fight.

He hadn’t fought at all.

He hung a grunting weight,

battered and venerable

and homely. Here and there

his brown skin hung in strips

like ancient wallpaper,

and its pattern of darker brown

was like wallpaper:

shapes like full-blown roses

stained and lost through age.

He was speckled with barnacles,

fine rosettes of lime,

and infested

with tiny white sea-lice,

and underneath two or three

rags of green weed hung down.

While his gills were breathing in

the terrible oxygen

—the frightening gills,

fresh and crisp with blood,

that can cut so badly—

I thought of the coarse white flesh

packed in like feathers,

the big bones and the little bones,

the dramatic reds and blacks

of his shiny entrails,

and the pink swim-bladder

like a big peony.

I looked into his eyes

which were far larger than mine

but shallower, and yellowed,

the irises backed and packed

with tarnished tinfoil

seen through the lenses

of old scratched isinglass.

They shifted a little, but not

to return my stare.

—It was more like the tipping

of an object toward the light.

I admired his sullen face,

the mechanism of his jaw,

and then I saw

that from his lower lip

—if you could call it a lip—

grim, wet, and weaponlike,

hung five old pieces of fish-line,

or four and a wire leader

with the swivel still attached,

with all their five big hooks

grown firmly in his mouth.

A green line, frayed at the end

where he broke it, two heavier lines,

and a fine black thread

still crimped from the strain and snap

when it broke and he got away.

Like medals with their ribbons

frayed and wavering,

a five-haired beard of wisdom

trailing from his aching jaw.

I stared and stared

and victory filled up

the little rented boat,

from the pool of bilge

where oil had spread a rainbow

around the rusted engine

to the bailer rusted orange,

the sun-cracked thwarts,

the oarlocks on their strings,

the gunnels—until everything

was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!

And I let the fish go.

 

Bronverwysing:

Bishop, Elizabeth. 1946. North & South. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. p 46.

ISBN: 180216008

 

 

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