Breyten Breytenbach. Vertaling in Engels

 

Breyten Breytenbach. Vertaling van Afrikaans in Engels. Vert.deur Waldemar Gouws

 

the incomer

 

breath owns nothing/ and is owned by nothing/

and is nothing’s ship filled with land seekers

 

suppose that this you are now trying to write

this which floats on these words

as upon a dark mirror

is a dream –

 

suppose that boat

in the darklight hour when everything has been moored

in the eternity of awakening to form

is letting the moorings slip one by one

to drop with a gasp into obliteration –

 

and the ship beginning to glide noiselessly

between bank and bank

down and down the canal

passing through a beingscape still asleep

however unrestful as it is –

 

on deck so wet as if from tears

and in the hold down below the water’s level

you are imagining all of the comparisons

like keelhauled desires

that were recouped in the motion of recognition –

 

the loves and the partings

the beasts and the moths

the towers of flame

on distant high landmarks encircling the heart

and voices and voices singing behind walls –

 

nothing ever was lost by falling into oblivion

and everything was urgently present

inside crates which now have to be unshipped

on another shore of paper –

 

the wharf disappears and there’s a hush

like a night holding its breath

for the day so that it would not be seen –

 

what is not being seen continues to exist

without the tacking about of port and starboard

afloat like white garments inside the memory

all of the trusted ones those drowned long ago

and now bobbing faintly like ego stains

in the wake from word to word –

 

could life still be asleep now?

whatever happened to the dancers?

could there be a corpse in every cabin?

 

silently like some elapsed time the boat glides

down the canal of inevitability

what was alive is within a hand’s reach

the birds are roosting open-eyed in dark shrubs

the hatches are shut

heavily the fog rolls down to prevent

houses and hills from being demarcated –

 

where the watercourse mouths

a foghorn is moaning the restrained sorrow

of a coast taking leave –

 

suppose your dream is a boat

with its prow fixed toward the dark ocean

and you the embarked one drowsing and waiting

for the world of lands veiled

in a horizon of light

to perish as if in the dazzle of freedom –

 

supposing you search from deck to deck

now that you wouldn’t need a passport any more

for the pilot

who will be steering this boat across the seas

to a south

where everything will unfold in the open

for the cycles to endure

having been read and remembered

and never needing to be recounted or counted down again –

 

and how nobody was to be found on board

the kitchen deserted

the crates fully empty

the captain dead –

 

and you the stowaway

on a ship that has been sailing

since the dawn

of perceiving assumptions

to a destination or a harbour

sunken away into the ink

 

 

Paname, 15 September 2021

 

***

 

die inkommer

 

asem besit niks/ en word deur niks besit nie/

en is niks se skip vol landsoekers

 

 

veronderstel dat dit wat jy nou probeer skryf

wat op hierdie woorde dryf

soos op ‘n donker spieël

‘n droom is –

 

veronderstel daardie boot

in die donkerlig uur wanneer alles vasgemeer is

in die ewigheid van ontwaking tot vorm

laat glip die vasmaaktoue een vir een

om met ‘n snik in die uitwissing te val –

 

en die skip begin gly geluidloos

tussen wal en wal

al af met die kanaal

deur ‘n synskap wat nog slaap

al is dit onrustig –

 

op die dek so nat asof van trane

en in die ruim onder watervlak

verbeel jy jou al die vergelykings

soos gekielhaalde begeertes

wat in die beweging van herkenning verhaal is –

 

die liefdes en die weggaan

die ongediertes en die motte

die torings van vlam

op verre landhoogtes om die hart te omkring

en stemme en stemme wat agter mure sing –

 

niks het ooit in die vergeteling verlore gegaan

en alles was dringend aanwesig

in kratte wat nou op ‘n ander oewer van papier

afgelaai moet word –

 

die kaai verdwyn en dis stil

soos ‘n nag wat asem inhou

vir die dag om nie gesien te word nie –

 

wat nie gesien word bestaan voort

sonder die lavering van bak en stuurboord

dryf soos wit gewade in die geheue

al die vertroudes wat lankal verdrink het

en nou soos ekvlekke effens dobber

in die vaartsog van woord na woord –

 

slaap die lewe dan nog?

wat het geword van die dansers?

is daar ‘n lyk in elke kajuit?

 

stil soos ‘n verlede gly die boot

in die kanaal van onvermydelikheid

wat gelewe het is binne handuitreik

die voëls slaap oopoog in donker struike

die luike is dig

swaar sak die newel om te keer

dat huise en heuwels omlyning kry –

 

waar die breë stroom mond

steun ‘n mishoring die ingehoue verdriet

van ‘n kus wat afskeid neem –

 

veronderstel jou droom is ‘n boot

met die boeg gerig na die donker oseaan

en jy wat ingeskeep sluimer en wag

vir die wêreld van lande om bewimpel

in ‘n horison van lig

te vergaan asof in die verblinding van vryheid –

 

gestel jy soek van dek tot dek

nou jy nie meer ‘n paspoort nodig het nie

na die piloot

wat hierdie boot oor die seë gaan stuur

na ‘n suide

waar alles oop en bloot sal ontvou

vir die siklusse om gelees en onthou

te bly bestaan

en nooit weer vertel of afgetel hoef te word –

 

en hoe daar niemand aan boord is

die kombuis is verlate

die kratte vol leeg

die kaptein dood –

 

en jy die verstekeling

in ‘n skip wat al sedert die daeraad

van gewaarwordende veronderstelling

vaar na ‘n bestemming of ‘n hawe

weggesink in die ink

 

 

Paname, 15 September 2021

 

 

Bron: Versindaba, 15/9/2021  

 

 

 

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