Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Bishop’

Desmond Painter. Die Brasiliaanse digkuns in vertaling

Friday, February 11th, 2011
Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop

Ek het die laaste tyd ‘n hele paar bloginskrywings aan die Brasiliaanse digters Carlos Drummond de Andrade en Manuel Bandeira gewei. Ek wens ek kon ook vertalings van meer onlangse Brasiliaanse digters in die hande kry, maar dit is nie so maklik nie. Ek weet nie wie daardie land se belangrikste hedendaagse digters is nie, en wie van hulle se werk al (in Engels) vertaal is nie. Dit is ‘n groot en dinamiese land, en Portugees is ‘n wêreldtaal, so daar moet seker interessante dinge in hulle digkuns gebeur?

Daar is darem, indien jy belangstel om verder te lees, goeie versamelings van De Andrade en Bandeira se gedigte in Engels beskikbaar. Twee voorbeelde: Carlos Drummond de Andrade, The Minus Sign: Selected Poems, Black Swan Books, 1980 en Manuel Bandeira, This Earth, That Sky, University of California Press, 1989. Dan is daar ook Elizabeth Bishop se belangrike An Anthology of Twentieth Century Brazilian Poetry, wat al in 1972 by Wesleyan University Press verskyn het. En moenie van Uys Krige vergeet nie: Sy Brasilië Sing het in 1990 by Perskor verskyn, en al is dit nie meer in druk nie behoort jy dit darem in ‘n biblioteek iewers te kan opspoor. Miskien bundel iemand een of ander tyd Krige se versamelde vertalings? Hier is nog een van sy vertalings van ‘n pragtige vers van Manuel Bandeira:

Oomblik in ‘n Kafee – deur Manuel Bandeira


Toe die begrafnisstoet verbygaan,

het die mans, wat hulle in die kafee bevind,

meganies hul hoede afgehaal.

Ingedagte het hulle die gestorwene gegroet.

Hulle was almal ingestem op die lewe,

het opgegaan in die lewe,

vol vertroue in die lewe.


Tog het een sy hoof ontbloot met ‘n trae breë gebaar.

Lank het hy na die kis bly kyk.

Dié man wis dat die lewe ‘n driftige gewoel is,

sonder finaliteit,

dat die lewe verraad is

en hy het die stof gegroet wat verbygaan,

bevry vir altyd van ‘n uitgedoofde siel.

Desmond Painter. Wat is ‘n prosagedig? Robert Pinsky oor Manuel Bandeira

Friday, February 4th, 2011
Manuel Bandeira

Manuel Bandeira

Wat is ‘n prosagedig? Wat is die verskil tussen ‘n prosagedig en ‘n kort-kortverhaal? Is Breyten Breytenbach se Katastrofes prosagedigte of kort-kortverhale? En Zirk van den Berg se tekste in Ekstra Dun vir Meer Gevoel? Wat is die verskil tussen ‘n prosagedig en die ‘poëtiese’ prosa van ‘n Michael Ondaatje of ‘n Anne Michaels? Ek was nog nooit regtig seker oor enige van hierdie vrae nie — en ek moet bysê, ek het myself ook nog nooit regtig hieroor verknies nie!

Robert Pinsky maak myns insiens ‘n sinvolle opmerking oor prosagedigte in ‘n kommentaar op ‘n teks van die Brasiaanse digter Manuel Bandeira. Pinsky skryf: ‘People like to debate the nature of prose poetry; most efforts to define a “prose poem” involve contrasting it to the poetic convention of writing in lines. A better approach might be contrasting the prose poem with conventional prose narratives. Here is Elizabeth Bishop’s translation of “Brazilian Tragedy” by Manuel Bandeira. Its rapid, concentrated movement makes the ordinary novel seem unbearably slow by comparison. The place-names drive the story ahead at the speed of sound, where film might take an hour, or fiction a hundred pages.’

Interessant. Stem julle saam met Robert Pinsky? Ek kan my voorstel dat daar heelwat verskillende menings oor hierdie onderwerp sal wees. Hier is die prosagedig van Manuel Bandeira (die Brasiliaan waaroor ek gister ook geblog het) waarna Pinsky verwys:


BRAZILIAN TRAGEDY – by Manuel Bandeira

Misael, civil servant in the Ministry of Labor, 63 years old,
Knew Maria Elvira of the Grotto: prostitute, syphilitic, with ulcerated fingers, a pawned wedding ring and teeth in the last stages of decay.
Misael took Maria out of “the life,” installed her in a two-storey house in Junction City, paid for the doctor, dentist, manicurist …. He gave her everything she wanted.
When Maria Elvira discovered she had a pretty mouth, she immediately took a boy-friend.
Misael didn’t want a scandal. He could have beaten her, shot her, or stabbed her. He did none of these: they moved.
They lived like that for three years.
Each time Maria Elvira took a new boy-friend, they moved.
The lovers lived in Junction City. Boulder. On General Pedra Street, The Sties. The Brickyards. Glendale. Pay Dirt. On Marques de Sapucai Street in Villa Isabel. Niteri.
Euphoria. In Junction City again, on Clapp Street. All Saints. Carousel. Edgewood. The Mines. Soldiers Home…
Finally, in Constitution Street, where Misael, bereft of sense and reason, killed her with six shots, and the police found her stretched out, supine, dressed in blue organdy.

Odyssee van die slak

Monday, August 24th, 2009

 ‘n Klein seleksie uit my gunsteling verse oor slakke.


W.H. Auden & Marianne Moore

W.H. Auden & Marianne Moore

To A Snail
Marianne Moore


If “compression is the first grace of style”,
you have it.  Contractility is a virtue
as modesty is a virtue.
It is not the acquisition of any one thing
that is able to adorn,
or the incidental quality that occurs
as a concomitant of something well said,
that we value in style,
but the principle that is hid:
in the absence of feet, “a method of conclusions”;
“a knowledge of principles”,
in the curious phenomenon of your occipital horn.


(Uit: Observations, 1924) 




Thom Gunn

Thom Gunn

Considering the Snail
Thom Gunn


The snail pushes through a green
night, for the grass is heavy
with water and meets over
the bright path he makes, where rain
has darkened the earth’s dark. He
moves in a wood of desire,

pale antlers barely stirring
as he hunts. I cannot tell
what power is at work, drenched there
with purpose, knowing nothing.
What is a snail’s fury? All
I think is that if later

I parted the blades above
the tunnel and saw the thin
trail of broken white across
litter, I would never have
imagined the slow passion
to that deliberate progress.


(Uit: My Sad Captains and Other Poems, 1961)




Leslie Monsour

Leslie Monsour

The Snail in the Marigold
Leslie Monsour


I watched, when planting marigolds,
Their colors all afire,
A gorged snail suck amid the folds,
Unfurling with desire –

Its slick and gleaming trail of pleasure
Oozing out  behind;
Its rapturous head in worldly leisure,
Oblivious, petal-blind.

The broken bud looked jubilant,
Enravished, vibrant, real,
Infusing animal and plant
With sybaritic zeal.

This seeming drive to be consumed
As wood lit in a stove,
Must be the lavishest, most doomed,
And pure of earthly love.

Come, celebrate the appetite
No science can control,
The wild, ingenious, slippery blight
That incarnates the soul.




Vachel Lindsay

Vachel Lindsay

The Haughty Snail-King
Vachel Lindsay


Twelve snails went walking after night.
They’d creep an inch or so,
Then stop and bug their eyes
And blow.
Some folks… are… deadly… slow.
Twelve snails went walking yestereve,
Led by their fat old king.
They were so dull their princeling had
No sceptre, robe or ring –
Only a paper cap to wear
When nightly journeying.

This king-snail said: “I feel a thought
Within… It blossoms soon…
O little courtiers of mine, …
I crave a pretty boon…
Oh, yes… (High thoughts with effort come
And well-bred snails are ALMOST dumb.)
“wish I had a yellow crown
As glistering… as… the moon.”


(Uit: Congo and Other Poems, 1919)




Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop

Giant Snail
Elizabeth Bishop


The rain has stopped. The waterfall will roar like that all
night. I have come out to take a walk and feed. My body – foot,
that is – is wet and cold and covered with sharp gravel. It is
white, the size of a dinner plate. I have set myself a goal, a
certain rock, but it may well be dawn before I get there.
Although I move ghostlike and my floating edges barely graze
the ground, I am heavy, heavy, heavy. My white muscles are
already tired. I give the impression of mysterious ease, but it is
only with the greatest effort of my will that I can rise above the
smallest stones and sticks. And I must not let myself be dis-
tracted by those rough spears of grass. Don’t touch them. Draw
back. Withdrawal is always best.
The rain has stopped. The waterfall makes such a noise! (And
what if I fall over it?) The mountains of black rock give off such
clouds of steam! Shiny streamers are hanging down their sides.
When this occurs, we have a saying that the Snail Gods have
come down in haste. I could never descend such steep escarp-
ments, much less dream of climbing them.
That toad was too big, too, like me. His eyes beseeched my
love. Our proportions horrify our neighbors.
Rest a minute; relax. Flattened to the ground, my body is like
a pallid, decomposing leaf. What’s that tapping on my shell?
Nothing. Let’s go on.
My sides move in rhythmic waves, just off the ground, from
front to back, the wake of a ship, wax-white water, or a slowly
melting floe. I am cold, cold, cold as ice. My blind, white bull’s
head was a Cretan scare-head; degenerate, my four horns that
can’t attack. The sides of my mouth are now my hands. They
press the earth and suck it hard. Ah, but I know my shell is
beautiful, and high, and glazed, and shining. I know it well,
although I have not seen it. Its curled white lip is of the finest
enamel. Inside, it is as smooth as silk, and I, I fill it to perfection.
My wide wake shines, now it is growing dark. I leave a lovely
opalescent ribbon: I know this.
But O! I am too big. I feel it. Pity me.
If and when I reach the rock, I shall go into a certain crack
there for the night. The waterfall below will vibrate through
my shell and body all night long. In that steady pulsing I can
rest. All night I shall be like a sleeping ear.




Sheila Cussons

Sheila Cussons

Sheila Cussons


Die mens is ‘n delikate fabel
wat hy vir homself vertel
wanneer hy hom onder die afsydige sterre
weerloos opkrul
in die stomme skulpie van sy skedel

en weet nie dat die Gloed
waarvoor die weke plasma van sy oog
moet wyk
tranend knipper
vir die blindende oordeel van sy feit.


(Uit: Die swart kombuis, 1978)