Posts Tagged ‘Waldermar Gouws’

Breyten Breytenbach. Vertaling in Engels

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Breyten Breytenbach. Translated to English by / vert. deur Waldemar Gouws



“Move on!”[1] : Breyten Breytenbach


You will see, dear reader (have seen and read)

that for long I’ve been trying to turn so many seasons and years and cycles

into poetry

to set up a description or experience

(to kiss and to bless)

that could have been on a par with this world


O, not of the same kind – for inherently

something else subject to processes peculiar

to the nature of that other foot rule – writing –

and even less as gloss or fleeciness to cover that

(the fish of a different flesh)

which begs description


However, then rather a membrane to convey

the throbbing faithfully: to live

is really very much like living

en route to degeneration, obscuration, substitution, oblivion


So: not to pass off words

on whatever vibrates within or outside around you,

also not as addition to the all-around

which is without early or late or any jointing,

what is is not


But to learn to move. To tremble

at first light. To know (clarify)

nothing explains the bird’s piping

because it is already completely clear.

To help prevent that the again and again

not merely constitutes the multiplication of folly:


Disintegration really happens to be the only defence

against mortality.


And then to sift through the words every night

for the sake of the overriding knowledge that everything

is nonpresence

and to know you are living alongside your own

survival like a spot of shadow in the dark


All journeys have a beginning: even though

the final one has no end


Until the squall arrives or the sun splits

and you, stripped of all appearance and being, realize

it was of no avail,

the writing a fluttering

of which broken-winged birds dream,

no hem on the seamless garment

of what was lived through,

my writing that couldn’t even stir a leaf

or make a lizard sing


O reader – now isn’t it liberating

to could have lived for nothing

in the never-ending silent moving?


(c) Tr. by Waldemar Gouws / 2015 of the unpublished poem “(n)oneness” by Breyten Breytenbach



[1] Title in English in the original, tr.