Posts Tagged ‘Hovering at a low altitude’

Die digter in ‘n lae vlug

Friday, August 14th, 2009
Dahlia Ravikovitch

Dahlia Ravikovitch (1936-2005)

Vanoggend ‘n kort Nuuswekker, met ‘n lang gedig. Dit is immers gedigte wat jou ïnteresseer en nie die geswymel van ‘n slaapversteurde nie, of hoe? Nietemin, na my Nuuswekker oor Mahmoud Darwish en die gepaardgaande lys van name, het ek opnuut van Dahlia Ravikovitch onthou en watter verbysterende digter sy is. Ek het weer haar gedigte nageslaan en die gedig hieronder het my (weereens) van my voete af geruk. Liewe hemel, as ‘n gedig tref, voel dit inderdaad of die boonste gedeelte van jou kop weggeblaas word, soos iemand al gesê het. Geskiedenisboeke mag jou die historiese feite verskaf, maar poësie is en bly by uitstek die draer van die emosie … En hoe dikwels is dit nie juis dit wat verswyg, dog gesuggereer word, wat die plofkrag verskaf nie.

Ravikovitch se biografiese besonderhede en loopbaan is hier te lese.

En onthou – vandag is “Koop ‘n Afrikaanse boek-dag”, ‘n wonderlike inisiatief deur Die Vriende van Afrikaans. So, haas jou na jou gunsteling boekwinkel en skaf daardie langbegeerde boek aan teen 10% korting.

Lekker lees en geniet die naweek wat op hande is.

Nuuswekker hervat weer Maandag.

LE

 

Hovering at a Low Altitude
by Dahlia Ravikovitch
translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld

I am not here.
I am on those craggy eastern hills
streaked with ice
where grass doesn’t grow
and a sweeping shadow overruns the slope.
A little shepherd girl
with a herd of goats,
black goats,
emerges suddenly
from an unseen tent.
She won’t live out the day, that girl,
in the pasture.

I am not here.
Inside the gaping mouth of the mountain
a red globe flares,
not yet a sun.
A lesion of frost, flushed and sickly,
revolves in that maw.

And the little one rose so early
to go to the pasture.
She doesn’t walk with neck outstretched
and wanton glances.
She doesn’t paint her eyes with kohl.
She doesn’t ask, Whence cometh my help.

I am not here.
I’ve been in the mountains many days now.
The light will not scorch me. The frost cannot touch me.
Nothing can amaze me now.
I’ve seen worse things in my life.

I tuck my dress tight around my legs and hover
very close to the ground.
What ever was she thinking, that girl?
Wild to look at, unwashed.
For a moment she crouches down.
Her cheeks soft silk,
frostbite on the back of her hand.
She seems distracted, but no,
in fact she’s alert.
She still has a few hours left.
But that’s hardly the object of my meditations.
My thoughts, soft as down, cushion me comfortably.
I’ve found a very simple method,
not so much as a foot-breadth on land
and not flying, either-
hovering at a low altitude.

But as day tends toward noon,
many hours
after sunrise,
that man makes his way up the mountain.
He looks innocent enough.
The girl is right there, near him,
not another soul around.
And if she runs for cover, or cries out-
there’s no place to hide in the mountains.

I am not here.
I’m above those savage mountain ranges
in the farthest reaches of the East.
No need to elaborate.
With a single hurling thrust one can hover
and whirl about with the speed of the wind.
Can make a getaway and persuade myself:
I haven’t seen a thing.
And the little one, her eyes start from their sockets,
her palate is dry as a potsherd,
when a hard hand grasps her hair, gripping her
without a shred of pity.

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