John Irons 
Translator

on Lyrikline: 55 poems translated

from: norveščina, nizozemščina, frizijščina, danščina, švedščina to: angleščina

Original

Translation

Solaris korrigert (utdrag)

norveščina | Øyvind Rimbereid

(Kontekst: Det navnløse jeg’et i dette 36 siders lange diktet lever på
vestkysten av Norge i året 2480. Han arbeider som en arbeidsleder
for en gruppe maskiner eller roboter som vedlikeholder rørsystemer
på bunnen av havet. Livet hans inngår i en sort korporativt organisasjon
kalt 14.6, som ved slutten av diktet må forlate fastland for å flytte til de
tomme oljebrønnene på bunnen av Nordsjøen, hvor en ”sikker” verden
er i ferd med å bli konstruert. Språket i diktet er en hybrid av vestnorsk,
eldre former for norsk og elementer fra de fleste av dagens språk omkring Nordsjøen.)

WAT vul aig bli
om du ku kreip fra
din vorld til uss?
SKEIMFULL, aig trur, ven
du kommen vid diner imago
ovfr oren tiim, tecn., airlife,
all diner apocalyptsen
                                        skreik-
mare. OR din beauti draumen!
NE wi er. NE diner ideo! DER
aig lefr, i 14.6, wi arbeiden.
onli vid oren nanofingren,
dei er oren total novledg, wi arbeiden
so litl, 30 minutes a dag. AIG seer an
miner fingren, part af organic 14.6
men veike, dei er som seagrass …
SO ku aig begg din vorld
begynning, starten uss
up igen? KU det!
SKEIMFULL aig er. SO
                          wat
vul du bli
om wi ku kreip fra
uss til deg?

/

             MEN ven miner simpl robots
arbeiden an pipe-
systm undr sea, ofts om natt
undr moon klar: DEI er total fri!
             KAN robots fri vera?
JA, dei kan!
VEN dei haf repairat ein problem dept i slam,
                          nearli ein impossibl problem,
og aig kontrollen dei back til kai
og aig seer dei, firkanta og forslamma up af seaen
                                      stiga.
DA dei lucki er!
ONLI, dei veit det ne…
DEI veit ne wat dei haf i vorlden gerat,
fordi all intern onli i dei er.
Men aig veit!
             OG deirs hemlig luck i meg skinn!

/

GREASE er wat aig haf
an mine hendr denna morgning.
GULSVART glinsande grease
             fra miner robot-
arbeideren, fra deirs beltfoot,
arms og linkgreip. AIG love
               mine rektangl-roboter (1200 x 400 x 350 mm)!
OLDA og simple-mekanical som dei er!
DEI er ne onli part af modern modell-
novledg. DEI er ogso part af old sea,
                                       af old pipes og old grease.
             DEI arbeiden
i unbegrensa links, miner robots,
so om ein af dei sku i error gaa,
ein odder kommen, erstatt. DEI er lik maur
                          onli konstructet.
ALL er linka til kverodder.
OG dei til meg, lik aig til kloakk-
pipes undr bridge via dei,
og aig via dei og kloakk-pipes
                                       til odder humans ...
                           MEN vidout grease
miner robots vul forlengst haf stifna ...
GREASE er links total!
FOR greasen glinsen og glossen
             i all flatar
gluen og gliden
i all links og vehickel
og greasen gefr all veksande skinn og life.
DU human, so greasen
              ven du born!

/

KAN hugs:
AT nokon bar meg ovfr skulder,
kan henda far
             halft i svefn, halft vakn
bar meg gennom hoy, bolgjande grass
tidli morgning vid vitt ljus
og miner armr hengd ned,
merkat dei so tunge
som om grass trakk i dei,
                                                      electric
greip eftr meg, som om all grass vul ned
meg taka, hafa meg, stela meg
so tung, so tung aig var
og aig ku stola an grasset
som aig ku stola an skuldr
             som aig ku stola an all af tyngd
og ein old, gul hus stod der fram
                                                    millom trer, ein hus
vid den varm melken i glass aig sku faa.

/

I morgen, aig trur,
gaa til mors jordplace,
til mor i brunnen af jord,
             i jordbrunnen af jordbrunn.


/

VAR for to dagr sidan til sista seifa-
check i sentrl 14.6. UNDR 400 sporsmaal,
1123 picts og nearli 13000 electric ljus-impuls
dei scannat min breyn, 
                           all parts af min breyn,
og spesi nucleus caudatus,
             ver redsl og sorg kommen fra
og den hypothalmisk INAH 3
                        ver oren sex existen.
KONCLUTION: AIG haf ein litl
defect i venstr phantomic breyn-
bark, ein noko for staerk production
                          af eigne picts.

/

© Gyldendal Norsk Forlag AS 2004
from: Solaris korrigert
Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 2004
Audio production: Literaturwerkstatt Berlin 2009

Solaris corrected (extracts)

angleščina

(Context: The unnamed speaker at the beginning of this
originally 36-page-long poem lives in the year 2480 on
the west coast of Norway. He works as some sort of
foreman for machines or robots that repair the pipe system
under the sea. His whole life is part of a kind of cooperative
organisation that has the name 14.6 and, towards the end
of the poem, he has to leave his life on land, as 14.6 is to be
moved to the bottom of the empty oil wells in the North Sea,
where a ‘safe’ new world is going to be constructed. The
language of the poem is originally a hybrid of West Norwegian
dialect, earlier forms of Norwegian and elements of most of
the languages to be found round the North Sea today.)

An English version by Tonje Akerholt and May-Brit Akerholt:

Wat vuld aye become
If you kuld kreip from
dein vorld to uss?
SHAMEFUL, aye think ven
you kommen vid yor imago
ovfr our tiim, tecn., airlife,
all yor apocalyptsen
                                     terror-
mare. OR yor beauty draumen!
NAY we are. NAY yor ideas! DER
aye live, in 14.6, wi work
onli vid our nanofingeren
dei are our total novledg, we work
so litl, 30 minuten a day. Aye look at
meiner fingren, part af organic 14.6
but veik dei are as seagrass…
SO kuld aye beg yor vorld
beginning, starten uss
up again? Kuld it!
SHAMEFUL aye are. SO
                         wat
vuld you become
if we kuld kreip from
uss to you?

/

        BUT ven meiner simpl robots
work on pipe-
systm undr sea, ofts at night
undr moon clear: DEI are total free.
             KAN robots fri be?
JA, dei kan!
VEN dei haf repairat ein problem deep in sludge
                            nearly ein impossibl problem,
and aye kontrollen dei back to quay
and aye seer dei, square and sludged up af seaen
                                       rising.
THEN dei lucki are!
ONLI, dei know it not…
Dei know not wat dei haf in vorlden done,
‘cos all intern onli in dei are.
But aye know!
            AND deirs secret luck shyns in me!

/

[...]

/

KAN remember:
THAT someone carried me ovfr shoulder,
perhaps father
            halv asleep, halv awake
bore me thru tall, swaiing grass
early morning wide white light
and mein arms hung down,
So noticeably heavy
as if grass tugged at dem,
                                              electric
lunged at me, as if all grass would down
me take, have me, steal me
so heavy, so heavy aye was
and aye kuld trust the grass
as aye kuld trust the shoulder
                as aye kuld trust all heaviness
and ein old, yellow house stood there up ahead
                                                   between trees, a house
vid the warm milk in a glass for me

/

Tomorrow, aye think,
go to mother’s earth place,
to mother in the well af soil,
                   in the soilwell af soilwell.

/

[...]

An English version by John Irons:

WOT wud i turnd owt lyk
if u kuddev krept fra
yor wereld te ours?
SHAYMFEL, i ges wen
u kum wiv yor imagos
ev our taim, tekno, airlyf
all yor epokaliptikl
                                   nicht-
mares. OR yor bellissiml draums!

NAY we are. NAY yor imagos! DER
i dwels, in 14.6, wee labors
wiv ours naikid nainofinges,
der ours totl hedfakts, wee labors
pokissimo, 30 mins pr jour. I giv mee
finges a luk, part ev organek 14.6.,
but slappisloppi, dems lyk seegrass...
SO kud i beg yor wereld
te kumens, te start us up
wuns mor? KUD it!
SHAYMFEL i bee. SO
                        wot wud
uev turnd owt lyk
if wee kuds kreep fra
us te u?

/

          BUT wen mee simpl robots
labors on pyp-
sistm undr see, ofts et nicht
undr muun klar: DEMS totl free!
                KAN robots free bee?
JA, dem kan.
WEN dems dun repaerd e problm deep in sludg,
                                 neali en imposibl problm,
en i kentrol dems bak te kee
en i sees dem, skwot en bisludgd op fra see
                                   rysing.
DEN dems happi.
ONLI dem dinna ken it ...
DEMS nay ken wot dem in de wereld hev dun,
kos all bee onli intern in dem.
BUT i kennit.
          EN dems hidn happines shyn in mee!

/

[...]

English versions by Tonje Akerholt & May-Brit Akerholt and John Irons

Arvestykke CCCXXXIII, psi= x(ψ + 10¹ºº)

norveščina | Torild Wardenær

Gi meg en P! Helst Pluto med sine måner av natt og underverden, Charon, Nix og Hydra, og hvis alt går etter planen, sonden New Horizon som i 2015 vil ankomme i fredelig ærend.
Gi meg en S! Sombrerogalaksen pyntet i infrarødt lys.
Gi meg en I! Isis og Osiris, Inanna og Dumuzi

Gi meg hva som helst – gjerne frøene som har overlevd vinteren i et astronomisk antall og
som akkurat nå vender seg i jorda mens jeg er satt til å leve videre, i en kosmologisk gullalder, omgitt av alt og
jeg slutter meg til de tre kjente dimensjonene, men jakter stadig på nye formler, noen ganger med inspeksjonsspeilet løftet høyt, andre ganger ligger det gjenglemt i en dyphavsgrøft og
glimter svart i en evighet, og selv om tiden av og til hjemsøker meg iført et slep av Goyas bevingede monstre eller ganske enkelt farer forbi, nedlesset av medaljer ment for denne verdens dystre statsledere, styrer jeg den oftest inn i en nyopprettet koloni eller lar den streife fritt mellom sine egne firdimensjonale gjemmer og
et annet felt – dette; nær, som vi alltid har trodd, men nå melder det seg
like ubesværet som en soloppgang, tiltrukket av vislingen i sitt eget navn

psi = femtedimensjonen hvor alt står i forbund og aldri går tapt
psi = subatomet – på samme tid mektig og reservert
psi = ψ, den 23. bokstaven i det greske alfabet
psi = bølgen som får himmel og jord til frivillig å skifte plass

Hva så? Vi vet jo dette og har alltid visst det.
Måtte det bare innta oss og forandre oss, måtte det bare gavne oss.

© Aschehoug
from: Psi
Oslo: Aschehoug, 2006
Audio production: 2007, Skrivekunst-akademiet i Hordaland

Inheritance CCCXXXIII, psi = x (y +10100)

angleščina

Give me a P! Preferably Pluto with its moons of night and underworld, Charon,/ Nix and Hydra, and if everything goes according to plan, the New Horizon/ probe, which will arrive on a peaceful mission in 2015./
Give me an S! The Sombrero galaxy decorated with infrared light./
Give me an I! Isis and Osiris, Inanna and Dumuzi//

Give me anything at all – preferably seeds that have survived the winter/ in astronomical numbers and
that precisely now are turning in the soil/ while I am appointed to live on, in a cosmological/ golden age, surrounded by everything and/
I subscribe to the three known dimensions, but am constantly chasing new/ formulas, sometimes with the inspection mirror held up high, at other times it/ lies forgotten in a deep-sea cleft and gleams blackly for an eternity, and even/ though time occasionally haunts me clad in a train of Goya’s/ winged monsters or quite simply passes by, loaded down with medals meant for/ the murky heads of state of this world, I normally seer it into a newly/ established colony or let it roam around among its own four-dimensional/ hiding places and/
another field – this one; close, as we have always believed, but/
now it presents itself just as effortlessly as a sunrise, attracted by the hissing/ of its own name//

psi = the fifth dimension where everything is allied and never gets lost/
psi = the subatom – powerful and reserved at one and the same time/
psi = ψ , the 23rd letter in the Greek alphabet/
psi = the wave that causes the sky and the earth voluntarily to change places/

So? We all know this and always have./
May it just take over us and change us, may it just be of use to us.

English Translation by John Irons

Arvestykke CCXCIV, Usikret I

norveščina | Torild Wardenær

Mot Skytten, tjuefem tusen lysår herfra, raver den unge Pistolstjernen rundt i sin egen detonerte masse, hundre og femti ganger sterkere enn solen, fullt ladd, usikret og ute av skjeftet.
Ikke at jeg lar meg true, men jeg løfter likevel armene og stiller meg opp mot en vegg
gir frivillig fra meg mine personalia

rike: animalia
rekke: chordata
orden: primat
familie: hominidae
slekt: homo
art: sapiens
habitat: terrestrisk og

sent i evolusjonsrekken, med epiteler og ryggrad og sirkulasjonsorganer fullt utvokst og av en ætt som er dels ukjent, dels milanesisk, men jeg innrømmer også nedstammingen fra skallus, flimmerormer og ikter, at jeg tilhører en høyt utviklet art, men at jeg ennå ikke er i stand til å elske min neste, innrømmer at selv mine mest uselviske handlinger kan telles på en hånd noe den bleike himmelen over meg misbilligende har vært vitne til og bakenfor fyrer Pistolstjernen løs i alle retninger mens jeg trykker meg inn mot en vegg
viser fram ansiktet mitt som om det skulle være et kosmisk merke, som om det skulle gi meg fritt leide.

© Aschehoug
from: Psi
Oslo: Aschehoug, 2006
Audio production: 2007, Skrivekunst-akademiet i Hordaland

Inheritance CCXCIV, Unsecured I

angleščina

Towards Sagittarius, twenty-five thousand light years away, the young Pistol Star reels around its own detonated mass, a hundred and fifty times stronger than the sun, fully loaded, unsecured and out of the holster.
Not that I let myself be threatened, but lift my arms even so and place myself against a wall
volunteer my personal details

kingdom: animalia
series: chordata
order: primata
family: hominidae
lineage: homo
species: sapiens
habitat: terrestrial and

late in the series of evolution, with epithelia and spine and circulatory organs fully grown and of an extraction partially unknown, partially Milanese, although  I also admit to descent from chiton, turbellaria and flukes, that I belong to a highly developed species, but that I am not yet able to love my neighbour, admit that even my most unselfish acts can be counted on one hand, something the pale sky above me has disapprovingly been a witness to and behind me the Pistol Star fires away in all directions while I press myself up against a wall, showing my face as if it was a cosmic mark, as if it would grant me free passage.

English Translation by John Irons

Arvestykke CCCXXX, Feltstudier II

norveščina | Torild Wardenær

Feltstudier II

Innseilingen stille og uten motorer over grønne sjøer med berg som går ned i vannet og Jalapeñofugler i flukt over – hvordan skal jeg forklare dette: hver morgen å få et nytt vannmerke ved ankomsten til felt I fra felt II, disse områdene ikke så ulike, men ofte trekker denne reisen mellom seg noen merkelige avstander langs de mørke bergene, under de jaktende fuglene og i denne avmotoriserte seilasen fra søvnens særegne eksakthet, en rus som bare kan måles i sin egen rus og i det faste avbiktet fra den våkne verdens synd og i de store initiasjonene som må påregnes hver natt – alt i største fortrolighet og nøyaktighet sammen med et og annet utbrudd fra dyr eller mennesker i nød eller glede, skrapingen av klør mot et underlag, vannmasser i bevegelse, klapring fra fremmede seremonier og skikker, den pågående krigen, den nesten lydløse kardinalfisken, suset fra de nærmeste fiksstjernene.

Hva skal jeg si om denne samtidigheten som blander seg med de skarpe skrikene fra de jaktende Jalapeñofuglene?
Et øyeblikks absolutt gehør blir uventet innvilget meg og jeg griper selvfølgelig sjansen, identifiserer tonen nøyaktig i overgangen mellom felt I og felt II og sier:
«Det er en ciss.»

© Aschehoug
from: Psi
Oslo: Aschehoug, 2006
Audio production: 2007, Skrivekunst-akademiet i Hordaland

Inheritance CCCXXX, Field studies II

angleščina

Field studies II

The seaward approach calm and without engines across green lakes with mountains that/ descend into the water and Jalapeño birds in flight over them – how can I explain this: every/ morning to get a new watermark when arriving at field I from field II, these areas not so/ dissimilar, but often this journeying between them describes some strange distances along/ the dark mountains, beneath the hunting birds and in this demotorised sailing trip from the/ particular exactness of sleep, an ecstasy that can only be measured in its own ecstasy and in/ the firm admission of the sin of the waking world and in the great initiations that have to be/ counted on every night – all this in the greatest intimacy and exactitude along with some/ outburst or other from animals or humans in distress or joy, the scraping of claws against an/ underlying surface, water in motion, the rattling of strange ceremonies and customs, the war/ in progress, the almost soundless cardinal fish, the whoosh of the closest fixed stars.//

What can I say about this simultaneity that blends with the sharp cries from the/
hunting Jalapeño birds?/
A moment of absolute pitch is unexpectedly granted me and naturally I seize/
the opportunity, identify the note precisely in the transition between field I and/ field II and say:/
‘That is a C sharp.’

English Translation by John Irons

Såkorn

norveščina | Simen Hagerup

Her er hvert punktum et såkorn. Fra dem vokser setninger frem.
Boken om frø skulle vært innsatt med frø, så den uinnvidde kunne tro at han leste en katalog.
Men boken vil virkelig bli til markens grøde. Den må være en så liten manual fordi kornet er lite.
Du skal grave den ned og vanne den; slik kan boken og såkornet nærme seg hverandre.

Frøet kan si oss noe om venting: det kan ligge på stein i tusen år uten å miste kimen.

© Cappelen / Damm
from: Absolutt alt
Cappelen / Damm, 2004

Seeds

angleščina

All of these full stops are seeds; sprouting sentences.
The book of grains should be fitted with grains, maybe leading the uninitiated to
think that he's reading a catalogue.
But the book is actually aiming to become the gain of the land. It has to be such a tiny manual, simply because the grain is tiny.
Bury it and water it; for the bookand the grain to resemble each other.

The grain can tell us something about patience: it can be put on a stone for a thousand years, without losing its germ.

Translated by John Irons

Noter til zombologien

norveščina | Simen Hagerup

Et slag med støvet. Du dør samtidig som hundre japanske forretningsmenn av matforgiftning på sushibar.
Forandringen i legens grep rundt håndleddet ditt når hjertet stanser. Mørke.
Mørke. Minnene forsvinner, de blir til fantomsmerter.
Du våkner til lukten av daturablomster: et dryss av stokkslag over kroppen.
Lille go’e engel, adjøss.
Vi gir deg i dag det skapte grann.

*

Duvalier-regimet på Haiti vervet heksedoktorer til det hemmelige politiet. Den statlige terroren, tilfellene av kidnapping, tortur, slaveri, mord, ble tilslørt av rykter om svart magi.

*

Monstrene er, i likhet med oss, politiske dyr. For eksempel er både Grev Dracula og Minotauros bilder på adelen som et monster, individer som terroriserte befolkningen i henhold til en føydal logikk. Vampyren var nødt til å hvile i familiekrypten og måtte ernære seg på jomfrublod (slik fyrsten hadde rett til å ta brudgommens plass under brullypsnatten). Minotauren satt som prins i husarrest, hvor han mottok sine fjorten årlige menneskeoffer.
    Zombi er på sin side en monstrifisering av bermen og armodet. Eventyret om vandrende døde som overtar jorden og eter de levende, er en fortelling om opptøyer, men et sted midt mellom politisk revolusjon og økologisk katastrofe. Bildene av zombienes trege, ustoppelige skarer kan få oss til å tenke på ørkenkrigenes gresshoppesvermer eller epidemien av gulfeber som desimerte Napoleons styrker under den haitiske revolusjonen.
    Katastrofe følger de elendige til slagmarken.

*

Pro Life-bevegelsen mistet sporenstreks fotfestet. Nå hadde teologiske aktivister et enda mer brennende spørsmål på hjertet enn hva som skjer med oss før vi blir født.
    Pro Death så dagens lys: Fra lobbyvirksomhet til lenkeaksjoner mot begravelser, samt oppgraving og reanimering av de døde, i regi av de pårørende eller tvert imot uten deres viten eller samtykke.

*

Reintegreringen i fellesskapet begynte, med tv-programmer tilpasset de levende døde, curling for reanimerte, trim for avlidne, studiesirkler om bruk av trapper og dører, samt årlige bussutflukter til Tusenfryd.

*

Alle levende/døde har rett til å være meningsfull gjenstand.
Alle levende/døde har rett til en verdig oppgravelse.
Alle levende/døde har rett til frihet fra religion, ytring og tanke.
Alle levende/døde har rett til å være eller ikke være.
Alle levende/døde har rett til salt i grøten.
Alle levende/døde har rett til braaains … brraaaiins … BRRAAAIINS!

© Simen Hagerup and Kolon Forlag
from: Grufulle Tomrom
Kolon Forlag, 2009

Notes on Zombology

angleščina

A powder strike. You die at the same time as a hundred Japanese business men of food poisoning in a sushi bar.
The change in the doctor’s grip round your wrist when your heart stops. Darkness.
Darkness. Your memories die, they become phantom pains.
You wake up to the scent of datura flowers: a sprinkling of blows with a stick over your body.
Bye bye, good little angel.
Today we give you the tiniest of grains.

*

The Duvalier regime on Haiti recruited witch-doctors to the secret police. State terror, cases of kidnapping, torture, slavery, murder were concealed by rumours of black magic.

*

Monsters, like us, are political animals. Count Dracula and the Minotaur, for example, are both images of the nobility as a monster, individuals that terrorised the local population according to a feudal logic. The vampire had to rest in the family crypt and to feed itself on the blood of virgins (just as the lords and princes had the right to take the bridegroom’s place on the wedding night). The minotaur sat as a prince in house arrest, receiving his fourteen human sacrifices a year.
    For its part, the zombie is a monstrification of the dregs of society, of poverty. The tale of the walking dead that take over the earth and devour the living is a narrative of a riot, but somewhere between a political revolution and an ecological disaster. The images of the sluggish, unstoppable hordes of zombies can make us think of the swarms of locusts of the desert wars or the epidemic of yellow-fever that decimated Napoleon’s forces during the Haitian revolution.
    Disaster follows the miserable to the battlefield.

*

The Pro Life movement lost its foothold on the spot. Now theological activists had an even more burning issue on their minds than what happens to us before we are born.
    Pro Death saw the light of day: from lobbying to chaining demonstrations against burials, along with the exhuming and reanimation of the dead, headed by the relations or, conversely, without their knowledge or consent.

*

Reintegration into the community began, with TV programmes adapted to the living dead, curling for the reanimated, keep-fit for the deceased, study circles on the use of staircases and doors, as well as annual coach outings to Tivoli.

*

All the living/dead have a right to be meaningful objects.
All the living/dead have a right to a dignified exhumation.
All the living/dead have a right to freedom from religion, speech and thought.
All the living/dead have a right to be or not to be.
All the living/dead have a right to salt in their porridge.
All the living/dead have a right to braaains ... brraaaiins ... BRRAAAIINS!

Translated by John Irons

[Wennen aan het geraamte]

nizozemščina | Lucienne Stassaert

Wennen
aan het geraamte

vóór je bol
van doodzucht bent -

Wennen
aan de gedachte

of klokslag nu
je hart zich aftikt -

De uitkomst
opeens zo nabij

dat het al bijna
zo ver is

© Uitgeverij P
from: In aanraking
Leuven: Uitgeverij P, 2004
Audio production: Flemish Literature Fund, Antwerp, 2007

[To get used to the carcass]

angleščina

To get used
to the carcass

before the death sigh
fills you out -

To get used
to the thought

what if at the stroke of now
your heart ticks out

The outcome
suddenly so close

that you're already close
to being that far

Translated by John Irons

[leave nimmen wit hoe't wy yn eardere libbens...] (fy)

frizijščina | Tsead Bruinja

leave nimmen wit hoe't wy yn eardere libbens
inoar foarby ronnen of de bus misten dêr't ien
fan ús beiden yn siet of do myn suster ús mem
yn wiest en it tusken ús neat wurde mocht om't
 
der te folle jierren of in leauwe tusken ús
dreaun sa plastysk as in kontinint sil de ôfstân
wol ris west ha ik wie miskien drok dwaande mei
it útfinen fan fjoer wylst do en dyn frijer
 
oare kant de oseaan de kearsen oanstutsen
hâld ik dy al wer te stiif fêst ik wol dy net
fynknipe mar ik bin bang en bliid tagelyk dat
 
der noait mear tusken ús wêze sil as dit hielal
dêr't wy net by inoar yn komme kinne omdat
it te lyts is foar it fertriet fan twa dy't ien wurde
 
leave lit tiid ús fan inoar ôf skuorre at wy ien foar ien
deageane wy slaan werom mei brêgen fan wurden

© T.B. / Bornmeer
from: De wizers yn it read
Leeuwarden: Bornmeer, 2000
Audio production: NLPVF, 2005

[my love nobody knows how in earlier lives]

angleščina

my love nobody knows how in earlier lives
we passed each other by in the street or just missed the bus
in which one of us sat or in which you were my sister my mother
and we weren't meant to meet because

of differences in age or beliefs maybe the space
between us was as concrete as a continent once
perhaps I was busy discovering ways
of starting a fire while you and your lover

were lighting candles on the other side of the ocean
am I holding you too tightly I'm sorry I don't want to crush
you but am happy and sad at the same time

that there will never be more between us
than this universe in which we cannot come together
because it is too small for the grief of two becoming one

my love let time prise us apart when one by one we die
in this life we'll retaliate with bridges of words

Translation by the author with the kind help of John Irons

[Heet en klam]

nizozemščina | Erik Spinoy

Heet en klam – een ijzeren
dictaat van
het plaatselijk klimaat.

Om de middag zitten
eitjes, baby’s
duizendvoudig
in de monsterlijk gezwollen
ogen, neus en mond.

Onder maan- en halogeenlicht
lijken lippen druivenzwart
te tuiten zich voor dit
hun allerlaatste
luchtzoen.

Terwijl de camera inzoomt
op dit trage zieden
stort (een druppel
uit een lekke kraan)
zo’n bleke fluim
het mierenvolk ten prooi.

Na eerst de slakken nog
wordt van de gieren ook
het wachten nu beloond.

Verschrikt wieken zij
brakend op.

© Meulenhoff/Manteau
from: Ik en andere gedichten
Amsterdam/Antwerpen: Meulenhoff, 2007
Audio production: Flemish Literature Fund, Antwerp, 2007

[Hot and sticky]

angleščina

Hot and sticky – an iron
diktat from
the local climate.

In the afternoon
ova, babies
by the thousand
sit in the hideously swollen
eyes, nose and mouth.

Beneath moon- and halogen-light
grape-black lips prepare
it seems to pucker for this
their very final
air-kiss.

While the camera zooms
in on this slow seething
a kind of pale phlegm
falls (a drip
from a leaky tap)
into the clutches of the ants.

After first the snails the
waiting of the vultures also
is now rewarded.

Startled they take
vomiting to the air.

Translated by John Irons

[Dame Dood]

nizozemščina | Lucienne Stassaert

Dame Dood
u blijft maar op til

ademt in en uit
achter het nevelnet
van april

het eerste licht
dat de rouw
nog niet heeft afgelegd

en u nog steeds
voorbij laat gaan -

Dame Dood
ik ga aan de zwier met u

het land in
wakker van
schele groeipijn

als knoppen hun hart
vol droomzaadjes verliezen
en het groene geweld

het dorre ombuigt
in braam en stekelbrem -

Dame Dood
ik voel u in hart en nieren

bruisen als een fontein:
dit is toch het leven
na het leven niet?

Nog niet. Nog niet. Nog niet.

© Uitgeverij P
from: Afscheidsliedjes
Leuven: Uitgeverij P, 2001
Audio production: Flemish Literature Fund, Antwerp, 2007

[Lady Death]

angleščina

Lady Death
as ever at hand

breathing in and out
behind April's
net of mist

the first light
that has as yet
not laid aside its mourning

and which as yet
still lets you pass -

Lady Death
I'm out on a spree with you

into the country
awake with
skewed growing pains

as buds lose their heart
full of dream-seeds
and the green force

reforms the dryness
of bramble and needlefurze -

Lady Death
I feel you deep down in my heart

murmuring like a fountain:
isn't this what's called
life after life?

Not yet. Not yet. Not yet.

Translated by John Irons

[Aan kant gezet bij afgesleten inboedel]

nizozemščina | Lucienne Stassaert

Aan kant gezet bij afgesleten inboedel
toont haar springveren binnenste
het wel en wee van een oude matras.
't Kapok laat plots geheimen los
en in haar bobbelige noppen
kroppen refreinen en duetten:

Kom liefste, trek je nog
niet terug. Tast mij af
of ik opnieuw een vreemde ben
die je de weg vraagt naar vandaag –
Ik wil verdwijnen binnenin
een rauw lichaam klapwieken
als in een onderzeese grot.

Zo vogelvlug, met korte stoten,
klonk dit duet als een duel
als middenin een afgekuste stilte
een stem, haast verstikt, opveerde:
"Ga jij eerst dood, dan volg ik wel ... "

Kom liefste, haal mij in
zoals een slak haar voelhorentjes.
Ik wil het licht niet zien
dat in mijn ribben fluit -
Steek vlug mijn kromgesloten
lijf in brand: nog één zucht
en de fleur is eraf

© Uitgeverij P
from: Afscheidsliedjes
Leuven: Uitgeverij P, 2001
Audio production: Flemish Literature Fund, Antwerp, 2007

[Pushed out with worn-out furniture]

angleščina

Pushed out with worn-out furniture
her sprung insides show
the joys and woes of an old mattress.
The kapok suddenly releases secrets
and in its lumpy burls
refrains and duets stick:

Come my love, don't withdraw
yet. Feel me over to see
if I'm a stranger once again
asking you the way to today –
I want to disappear inside
a raw body
flap as in a cave beneath the sea.

So bird-swift, with quick jerks,
this duet sounded like a duel
when in the middle of a kissed-away silence
a voice, almost choked, sprang up:
"If you die first, then I will surely follow ... "

Come my love, pull me in
like a snail does its feelers:
I do not want to see the light
that whistles in my ribs –
Quickly set my coil-locked
body on fire: just one more sigh
and the bloom is gone.

Translated by John Irons

[Jeg sætter mig]

danščina | Morten Søndergaard

Jeg sætter mig i forundringsstolen,
den forvandler sig til katapult:
               mælkevejen hvæser på min tunge.
Der er ingen udvej mulig,
jeg ved det meste sker
               i mellemrummet
jeg findes stadigt tydeligere
på en hvid og klar baggrund, 
snekimære, solskyggens undren
               når den falder fremad i et øde landskab.
Fra danserens vansirede ansigt
pumpes hvid røg ud over papiret,
               og lette jagerfly står klar
i hver af ordenes hangarer,
præpositionerne ligger som magneter
i mørkets væske, tæt trafik på tungens startbane,
alt stof passerer gennem stjernernes munde
               og leves langsomt og omhyggeligt fremad,
hjernens vildt oplyste terminal
af synapser og dendritter
former nu et knivskarpt luftfoto af en vrede
               der ikke er til at skelne fra verden.

© Morten Søndergaard
from: Bier dør sovende
Copenhagen: Borgens Forlag, 1998
Audio production: Literaturwerkstatt Berlin 2008

[I take a seat]

angleščina

I take a seat in the amazement chair,
it transforms itself into a catapult:
               the milky way hisses on my tongue.
There is no possible way out,
I know that most things happen
               in the space in between,
I exist ever more distinctly
against a white, clear background,
snow-chimaera, the sun-shadow’s amazement
               when it topples forwards into a desolate landscape.
From the disfigured face of the dancer
white smoke is pumped out onto the paper,
and light fighter planes are ready in each word’s hangar,
the prepositions lie like magnetic needles in a clear liquid,
heavy traffic on the tongue’s runway,
all substance passes through the mouths of the stars
               and is lived forwards, slowly and carefully.
The brain’s lit-up terminal of synapses and dendrites
now form a razor-sharp aerial photo of an anger
               that cannot be distinguished from the world.

Translation: John Irons

[I det inderste]

danščina | Morten Søndergaard

I det inderste af mine tanker
bakser bedøvede hænder
               kister ind i en vertikal nat,
et apparat måler angstens styrke,
               følger den hvide
stigende lysviltre kraft
løbe gennem blodkar i lungerne,
               helt ind til
mareridtets salte smag,
sådan går jeg fremad
som en fuld
               med et åndssvagt lykkeligt smil i fjæset,
det er
               ordenes små absencer,
deres indhold
               foldet ud til solstrålesmerte.

© Morten Søndergaard
from: Bier dør sovende
Copenhagen: Borgens Forlag, 1998
Audio production: Literaturwerkstatt Berlin 2008

[In my innermost]

angleščina

In my innermost thoughts
numbed hands are labouring
               coffins into a vertical night,
a machine measures the strength of fear,
               follows the white,
rising, light-giddy force
as it runs through the lungs’ blood vessels
               right into
the salty taste of the nightmare,
that is how I proceed
like a drunkard
               with a mindless smile creasing my face,
it is
               the small absences,
their contents
               unfolded to sun-ray pain.

Translation: John Irons

[Et stort dyrs]

danščina | Morten Søndergaard

Et stort dyrs åndedrag, vær ikke bange mere
               du må godt komme hen til mig
varme mig eller give mig noget at spise,
               en kaktus er sprunget ud i løbet af natten
med gule og røde kødædende blomster,
               lad os elske igen men langsommere denne gang
så grusomheden mister sin betydning,
               en helikopter er styrtet ned i min hjerne
der ligger den med hvirvlende rotorblade
               og klipper mine tanker i stykker.

© Morten Søndergaard
from: Bier dør sovende
Copenhagen: Borgens Forlag, 1998
Audio production: Literaturwerkstatt Berlin 2008

[The breathing of a great beast]

angleščina

The breathing of a great beast, don’t be afraid any more
               it’s alright to come up close to me,
to warm me or give me something to eat,
               a cactus has begun to bloom during the night
with yellow and red flesh-eating flowers,
               let’s make love once again, but this time more slowly,
so that cruelty loses its meaning,
               a helicopter has crashed into my brain,
it’s lying there with whirling rotor blades
               slitting my thoughts to shreds.

Translation: John Irons

[Du siger]

danščina | Morten Søndergaard

Du siger
               at bier dør sovende,
men de
               styrter til jorden
ramt af en
               hjerneblødning,
der er formodentlig honning
               inde i væggen
og de kommer tilbage
               år efter år.

© Morten Søndergaard
from: Bier dør sovende
Copenhagen: Borgens Forlag, 1998
Audio production: Literaturwerkstatt Berlin 2008

[You say]

angleščina

You say
               that bees die sleeping
but they crash to the ground
               struck down by a
cerebral haemorrhage
               there is
presumably honey
               inside the wall
and they keep on returning
               year after year

Translation: John Irons

ZONDER HANDEN

nizozemščina | Paul Bogaert

Een achtarmige snelbinder zo aangespannen
dat het vanwege de haken en de spankracht
gevaarlijk is de ogen er dichter bij te houden
dan nodig om het te zien: dit is het beeld
dat u kan helpen in te komen in wat volgt.
Breng het niet in verbinding met uzelf.
Het zijn mijn kaken.
Mocht ik jonger zijn en leven in een ander tijdsgewricht,
ik had u niet geschreven. Ik had u aangeraden
uit de buurt te blijven, de spieren van uw buik
een uurlang te masseren of de beweging van de mond
als iets beperkts te zien. Ik had u links en rechts
gekust. Ik had u
op het hart gedrukt wiens adem naar bagage ruikt, te mijden.

© 1996 Meulenhoff, Amsterdam
from: Welcome hygiëne
Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1996
Audio production: Het Beschrijf, 2004

NO HANDS

angleščina

An eight-armed carrier holder stretched so tight
that due to hooks and tension
it is hazardous to bring your eyes closer
than you need to see it: this is the image
that can help you get the hang of what follows.
Don’t connect any of this with yourself.
They are my jaws.
Had I been younger and lived at a point in time other than this,
I would not have written to you. I’d have advised
keeping well away, massaging the muscles of your stomach
for an hour or viewing the motion of your mouth
as something limited. I would have kissed you right and
left. I would have impressed
on you to shun the one with luggage-smelling breath.

translated by John Irons

Zelfportret

nizozemščina | Roland Jooris

Wat ongeschonden
in hem huist
het is geen zuiverheid

het is geen kind
dat met nog stompe letters
schrijft

het is een blik
die rauw en ongenadig
kijkt

het is wat tegenstrijdig
hem ontwricht
en dwingt

het is weerbarstigheid

from: Gekras
Querido: Amsterdam, 2001
Audio production: Flemish Literature Fund, Antwerp, 2007.

Self-portrait

angleščina

What resides
intact in him
is no purity

is no child
that writes with still stubby
letters

it is a look
that gazes rough and
merciless

it is what conflictingly
disrupts and
compels him

it is recalcitrance

Translated by John Irons

WEST-VLAANDEREN

nizozemščina | Hugo Claus

Dun lied donkere draad
land als een laken
dat zinkt.

Lenteland van hoeven en melk
en kinderen van wilgehout.

Koorts en zomerland wanneer de zon
haar jongen in het koren maakt.

Blonde omheining
met de doofstomme boeren bij de dode haarden
die bidden 'Dat God ons vergeve voor
wat hij ons heeft aangedaan'.

Met de vissers die op hun boten branden
met de gevlekte dieren de schuimbekkende vrouwen
die zinken.

Land, gij breekt mij aan. Mijn ogen zijn scherven.
Ik in Ithaka met gaten in mijn vel,
ik leen uw lucht in mijn woorden.
Uw struiken uw linden schuilen in mijn taal.

Mijn letters zijn: West-Vlaanderen duin en polder.

Ik verdrink in u,
land. gij wordt een gong in mijn schedel en soms
later in de havens
een kinkhoorn: mei en kever. duistere lichte
aarde.

© De Bezige Bij & Hugo Claus
from: Gedichten 1948-1993
Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1994
Audio production: Het Beschrijf, 2004

WEST FLANDERS

angleščina

Sparse song dark thread
Land like a sheet
That sinks

Springland of hooves and milk
And children of willow

Fever and summerland when the sun
Makes its young in the corn

Blond fencing
With the deaf-mute farmers by the dead firesides
That pray ‘May God forgive us for
What he has done to us.’

With the fishermen who burn on their boats
With the spotted animals the foaming women
That sink

Land you break into me. My eyes are shards
I in Ithaca with holes in my skin
I borrow your air in my words
Your bushes your lime trees hide in my language

My letters are: West Flanders dune and polder

I drown in you
Land you become a gong in my skull and sometimes
Later in the harbours
A conch: May and beetle Dim light
Earth.

Translation John Irons
Copyright by John Irons

WELCOME HYGIENE

nizozemščina | Paul Bogaert

Wat je zei was onverdund.
En het bleek ook efficiënt:
ik zie niks meer. Mijn hoofd is proper
nu en wit. Het is gedaan.

Ik duwde eerst mijn ogen in
en hield mijn hoofd naar achteren.
Dan goot ik de gaten vol
met eau de javel en white spirit.

Dat alles weggaat is een waan.
Het is de lucht die ijlig is.
Geef me tijd om bij te komen.

Begraaf me waar ik water
vroeg en laat me zijn – buiten bereik –
van vis.

© 1996 Meulenhoff, Amsterdam
from: Welcome hygiëne
Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1996
Audio production: Het Beschrijf, 2004

WELCOME HYGIENE

angleščina

What you said was undiluted.
And it proved effective too:
I can’t see a thing. My head is clean
now and white. It’s done.

First I pushed my eyes in
and tilted my head back.
Then I filled up the holes
with eau de javel and white spirit.

That anything goes is a delusion.
It’s the air that is tenuous.
Give me time to come round.

Bury me where I requested
water and let me be – out of reach –
of fish.

Translation: John Irons

Vi har kanskje sovet oss gjennom livet

norveščina | Torild Wardenær

Vi har kanskje sovet oss gjennom livet
flakket søvngjengeraktig omkring fra kjærlighet til kjærlighet
mumlet oss inn i språkets allmakt
drømt oss mot virkeligheters utkant
glidd ut av døgnet, ut av decenniet.

Kanskje skal vi våkne opp på dødens terskel med asurøyne
med alle somrenes gulloblater i munnen
villig gi oss selv tilbake til jorden i gave
ja, vi vet det med sikkerhet nå: framtiden skal få oss
de umælende fårene og de varmekjære sikadene skal vitne om det og
fra offerestedets høyeste punkt
skal svarttrosten, uten en flekk av synd
synge og synge.

© Aschehoug
from: Paradiseffekten
Oslo: Aschehoug, 2004
Audio production: 2007, Skrivekunst-akademiet i Hordaland

PERHAPS WE HAVE SLEPT OUR WAY THROUGH LIFE

angleščina

Perhaps we have slept our way through life
drifted like a sleepwalker from one love to the next
mumbled ourselves into the sovereign power of language
dreamt ourselves to the rim of realities
glided out of the day-cycle, out of the decade.
 
Perhaps we will awake on the threshold of death with azure eyes
with the gold wafers of all the summers in our mouths
willingly return ourselves as a gift to the earth
yes, now we know for sure: the future will get us
the dumb sheep and the warmth-loving cicadas will bear witness to it and
from the highest point of the place of sacrifice
the blackbird, with not a trace of sin,
will sing and sing.

English Translation by John Irons

Vev, mangel

norveščina | Torild Wardenær

Hva er dette, hudmangel, hornmangel, blodmangel?
Du går oppreist, stanger og stanger; er bleik og rispet og avsindig, for det er nedlagt
forbud mot en for hurtig passasje, et forbud mot å dø
og noen lover holder deg i tømme, de er de eneste realitetene og loven  om å leve til
du dør, loven om at du lever fordi det er en grunn til det, er hovedloven  og det er
den strengeste
og lovgiveren plager deg, oppholder deg, og du selv holder deg lydig, går hit og dit
stryker deg langs ukene, årene, går oppreist, faller når det er stupmørkt og påkrevd
og du lukker deg inn og ut, til for eksempel formødrene, til tiden da lysene brant,
da livet var forspillet til et uendelig og uoverskuelig løp, men akkurat langt nok
og kroppen var mindre da, vevet så hvitt og ikke helt viklet ut av mors vev, nå er hun
tilbake til stjernene, og hennes mor er også hos stjernene, og elskerne deres kan det
bare spekuleres om, om lidenskapen nå er blitt frittflytende og om det er til det
bedre?
for vevet viser seg bare å være til låns, modervevet er borte, oldemorvevet, kjæreste-
vevet er borte, ditt er det eneste som er igjen, utvokst, nesten visnende og det er
ikke snakk om å forstå, det er ikke snakk om å kreve noe, for eksempel varighet
eller å få førstevevet tilbake, eller å få løfter om evighet.

© Aschehoug
from: Titanporten
Oslo: Aschehoug, 2001
Audio production: 2007, Skrivekunst-akademiet i Hordaland

Tissue, deficiency

angleščina

What is this, skin deficiency, horn deficiency, blood deficiency?
You walk upright, butt and butt, are pale and slashed and frenzied, for passing
through too quickly has been banned, death has been banned
and certain laws restrain you, they are the sole realities and the law to live until
you die, the law that you are alive because there is a reason for it, is the main
law, which is also the strictest
and the lawgiver plagues you, delays you, and you yourself remain dutiful, go
back and forth, rub against weeks, years, walk upright, fall down when it is
suddenly pitch dark and imperative
and you let yourself in and out, to for example the foremothers, to the time when
the lights were burning, when life was the prologue to an endless, unforeseeable
course, but just long enough
and the body was less then, the tissue so white and not completely unwound
from mother’s tissue – now she is back with the stars, and her mother too
with the stars, and what has happened to their lovers is anyone’s guess, whether
passion has now become free-flowing and whether that is an improvement?
for tissue turns out to be merely borrowed, the mother tissue is gone, the
grandmother tissue, the beloved’s tissue is gone, yours is all that is left, fully
grown, almost withering and there’s nothing to be understood, there’s nothing to
be insisted on, for example, permanence or being given back the first tissue, or
to be promised eternity.

English Translation by John Irons

Underveis må jeg ha snudd om på tallene

norveščina | Torild Wardenær

Underveis må jeg ha snudd om på tallene og automatisk og med sikker skrift har jeg
skrevet 3002 i stedet for 2003. Jeg tar det uten videre som et tegn på at det vil bli sant at vi
skal være der sammen, en aprildag ett tusen år fram i tid.

Jeg skriver april 3002. Skjærene holder et spetakkel over trær og hustak. Fargen på det
nye gresset er eldgammel, men det legger sitt unge pigment rundt oss. Det er like etter
de store revolusjonene. Vi har overlevd og lært så mye, blant annet hvordan vi kan
være forbundet. Vi risikerer fremdeles at det vil være lysår mellom oss, men
avstandene
vil kunne overvinnes i løpet av sekunder og ved hjelp av tankens klarhet og hjertets
renhet.

For sikkerhets skyld maner jeg derfor allerede nå både mine og dine atomer inn i en ny
inkarnasjon, for jeg vil ikke gå glipp av disse framtidige forbindelsene, av skjærenes
elleville lek under den enorme vårhimmelen, av at verden ennå vil strutte av liv.

© Aschehoug
from: Paradiseffekten
Oslo: Aschehoug, 2004
Audio production: 2007, Skrivekunst-akademiet i Hordaland

IN WRITING I MUST HAVE REVERSED THE NUMBERS

angleščina

In writing I must have reversed the numbers and automatically and with a firm
hand I have written 3002 instead of 2003. I simply take this as a sign that it will
become true that we will be there together, on a April day a thousand years
in the future.

I write April 3002. The magpies are kicking up a racket above trees and roofs.
The colour of the new grass is ancient, but it lays its young pigment round us.
It is like after the great revolutions. We have survived and learned so much,
how we can be interconnected, for example. We still risk there being light-years
between us, but the distances will be able to be overcome in the space of
seconds and with the aid of clarity of thought and purity of the heart.

To be on the safe side I am therefore already conjuring both my and your atoms
into a new incarnation, for I do not want to miss these future connections, the
magpies’ riotous play under the enormous spring sky, that the world will still be
bursting with life.

English Translation by John Irons

THE PROFESSION

švedščina | Lars Gustafsson

Så går denna långa sommar emot slutet.
Dagarna blir kortare
orden litet långsammare varje år.
Jag valde inte detta yrke.
Detta yrke valde mig.
Det föreföll mig alltid
en smula bisarrt.
Det halvbra, det ytliga
gav alltid applåder och lagrar
medan det som var av ren metall
och ädelt smide gick spårlöst förbi.
Det skulle väl någon annanstans,
förstår sig.

Kanske betydde det något
att lyssna på morbröderna
när de spelade kort på verandan
och så ivrigt försäkrade
att lagt kort ligger.

Ordna korten och ordna igen
och Jokern får inte vara med.
Och ibland stoppas där in ett kort
som över huvud taget
aldrig fanns i leken.

© Lars Gustafsson
from: En tid i Xanadu
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 2002
Audio production: 2003, M. Mechner, literaturWERKstatt berlin

The profession

angleščina

And so this long summer draws to a close.
The days grow shorter
the words a little slower for each year.
I did not choose this profession.
This profession chose me.
It always seemed to me
a trifle bizarre.
The middling, the superficial
always gave applause and laurels
while that which was of pure metal
and fine workmanship passed by without a trace.
It was on its way elsewhere,
one might assume.

Perhaps it meant something
to listen to the uncles
when they played cards on the veranda
and so eagerly insisted
that once a card was played, it was.

Mix the pack and mix again
and the Joker is left out.
And sometimes a card is stuck in
that was never part
of the pack.

Who’s shuffling? Who’s cheating?
not always easy to know.
Not in a game where everything that succeeds is allowed?

In short: A game continuously played
far out among the lakes
that lie so gleaming in the summer light,
far out on an old-fashioned veranda
where people shout and bang the cards onto the table.

It is a continuous game of cards
out on an old-fashioned summer verandah
that could do with some more paint
where certain characters shout and bang the cards
onto the simple wax tablecloth.

And no one knows where it will end
if it ever does.

And all the time the radio is on.
Not the old set there, you blockheads!
I mean a different one, a so-called ‘inner’ radio
where four or five stations fuse
crackling into noise and interference.

And nothing in an intelligible language!

Friends!

I did not choose this profession.
This profession chose me.

Translated by John Irons

Tekening

nizozemščina | Roland Jooris

Kan men een kras van denken trekken in de inval
van een lijn die na lang kijken plots frontaal
haar eigen diepte vindt?

Kan men het zien horen in de oogopslag van het
wit, in een vleugel die zijn schaduw raakt,
in de beschouwing die een ruit arceert?

Wie tekent bakent stilte af, bezweert de tijd,
trekt zich terug, laat weg, houdt enkel vast
wat naar essentie leidt: de stengel van een
naakt, de stugge stoel, het kruis, de man
vervreemd van zijn aanwezigheid.

Wie tekent zoekt de onthechting van het niets
in de verwondering van wat een lijn, een vlek,
een veeg tot leven brengt: het bestaan dat
uit de dingen breekt, de ziel die potlood
heet of inkt, grafiet of krijt, de hand
die dan van hoger komt

from: Gekras
Amsterdam: Querido, 2001
Audio production: Flemish Literature Fund, Antwerp, 2007.

Drawing

angleščina

Can one draw a scratch of thought into the shaft
of a line that after long perusal suddenly head-on
finds its own depth?

Can one see hear it in the glance of the
white, in a wing that touches its shadow,
in the viewing that hatches a window-pane?

The artist stakes out silence, takes over time,
retreats, omits, only holds on to
what leads to essence: the stem of a
nude, the churlish chair, the cross, the man
alienated from his presence.

The artist seeks the detachment of nothingness
in the astonishment at what a line, a spot,
a streak can bring to life: the existence that
breaks out of things, the soul called pencil
or ink, graphite or chalk, the hand
that then comes from above

Translated by John Irons

TECKNINGSSALEN

švedščina | Lars Gustafsson

Själva rummet luktade krita
och tungt, hoptorkat trä.
Generationer hade skurit i borden
så att bokstavssystemen
hakade i och över varandra
som i någon gammal sumerisk
eller varför inte babylonisk
arkeologi.
Bortglömda gudar med hundöron
och stränga träansikten
kom självmant fram ur ådringen.
På papperet däremot bara lineamtningens
stränga figurer och hörn som var så vassa
att man kunde skära sig på dem.

Och detta skulle vara den ort där konsten bodde.

© Lars Gustafsson
from: En tid i Xanadu
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 2002
Audio production: 2003, M. Mechner, literaturWERKstatt berlin

The art room

angleščina

The room itself smelled of chalk
and heavy, dried wood.
Generations had carved in the tables
so that the systems of letters
intersected each other
as in some ancient Sumerian
or why not Babylonian
archaeology.
Forgotten gods with dog’s ears
and stern wooden faces
came of their own accord out of the graining.
On the paper, though, only the strict
figures and angles of the linear drawing that were
so sharp that you could cut yourself on them.

And this was meant to be the place where art dwelt.

Translated by John Irons

Skagen

danščina | Klaus Rifbjerg

Det er mig der har malet
billederne på Skagens museum.

Jeg sagde til mig selv
der har du dit liv og så
begyndte jeg at male.

Jeg tror det startede med frokostbilledet
jeg blev så sulten
følte mig så hjemme.

Jeg malede Krøyer og Drachmann
Tuxen, Ancher - både hun og ham
og alle andre
helt ned til Tørsleff.

Det var et mægtigt arbejde
men jeg havde det jo godt
så det var ikke noget.

Drachmann hjalp mig lidt
og Krøyer
vi talte meget

og drak en lille smule.

Vi så på Skagen
malede en masse billeder
fik lyset frem
men måske mest en livsform
vores egen
den jeg faldt for.

Jeg husker timerne
med Krøyers kone
under hyldetræerne hos Drachmanns,
bourgognen i de svære glas
og alting set
i sommerbilleder
melankolsk
som var det hele længst forbi.

Jeg husker aftnerne på Grenen
vandene der mødtes
og besværet med at få farven
til at makke ret
det var jo mig der skulle
male alting
ville male alting
før det ikke var der mere.

Der er en duft af død
idyl og linnedskuffer med lavendel

over mine Skagenslærreder,
men det var livligt nok
dengang
det var det.
Vi rejste os fra bordet
oven på den lange frokost
og stemmerne var blevet mere sagte.
Vi stod i skumringen
før hver gik hjem til sit
men det var svært at bryde op.

Så vendte Anna Ancher sig
og sagde:
Vi skal sove nu.
Hun tog sin mands arm,
gik med ham igennem lågen
og langsomt fulgte alle efter.
Skridtene forsvandt imellem
husene
værten slukkede sin lampe
det var for sent at male mere.

© Klaus Rifbjerg & Gyldendal
from: Rifbjergs digte. Udvalgt af Brostrøm
København: Gyldendal , 2001
Audio production: 2005, M.Mechner / Literaturwerkstatt Berlin

Skagen

angleščina

I’m the one who’s painted
the pictures at the Skagen museum.

I said to myself
that is your life and then
I began to paint.

I think it all started with the lunch picture
I got so hungry
felt quite at home.

I painted Krøyer and Drachmann
Tuxen, Ancher – her and him
and all the others
right down to Tørsleff.

It was a colossal undertaking
but I was feeling fine
so that didn’t matter.

Drachmann helped me a bit
and Krøyer
we talked a lot
looked
and drank just a little.

We looked at Skagen
painted lots of pictures
brought out the light
but most perhaps a way of life
our own
the one I fell for.

I remember the hours
with Krøyer’s wife
beneath the elders at Drachmann’s,
the burgundy in those heavy glasses
and everything seen
in summer images
melancholy
as if it was all long over.

I remember the evenings at the Prong
the waters that met
and the trouble getting the colours
to toe the line
after all I was the one who was going
to paint everything
wanted to paint everything
before it was no longer there.

There was a scent of death
idyll and linen drawers with lavender
about my Skagen canvases,
but there was plenty of life
back then
there was that.
We got up from the table
after the long drawn-out lunch
and the voices had become more subdued.
We stood in the twilight
before going home our separate ways
but it was hard to take our leave.

Then Anna Ancher turned round
and said:
We’re going to sleep now.
She took her husband’s arm,
went with him through the gate
and slowly everyone followed suit.
The steps died away between
the houses
the host put out his lamp
it was too late to do any more painting.

Translated by John Irons

Sårytan

švedščina | Eva Ström

Trycksvärtan har försvunnit
den fläckar inga händer

Turisterna vid domkyrkan
tar ut sina skotska pengar

I kryptan kunde ett bröllop äga rum
Historien om Kristus förändras

Jag störtar ut innan vågorna bryter
Grace betyder nåd

Vid en viss given punkt
upphör all konst att verka

Det kan finnas en enda ljusuthuggen mening
i en bok av kompakt mörker

eller likgiltighet. Det finns varelser
som rättfärdigar hela tillvaron

genom blotta närvaron av sin existens
skriver Camus. Vi försöker klamra oss fast

vid denna mening, som barmhärtighet
Som sömnens mörka balsam

söm döljer den råa grunden
av rovdjursinsikt, av förtvivlan.

© Eva Strøm
from: Revbensstäderna
Stockholm: Bonnier, 2002
Audio production: M.Mechner, Literaturwerkstatt Berlin, 2005

The surface of the wound

angleščina

The printing ink has disappeared
it stains no hands

The tourists at the cathedral
take out their Scottish money

In the crypt a wedding could take place
The story of Christ is changed

I rush out before the waves break
Grace means mercy

At a certain given point
all art ceases to function

A single light-hewn sentence can be found
in a book of compact darkness

or indiffrence. There are human beings
that justify all of life

by the mere presence of their existence
Camus writes. We attempt tp cling on tightly

to this sentence, like compassion
Like sleep's dark balsam

that conceals the raw ground
of predatory instinct, of despair.

Translation by John Irons

Rauw

nizozemščina | Roland Jooris

Poëzie
is wording die
blijft steken in de
rauwe, gebarsten
onhandige gaafheid
van het ongenoemde

haar voltooiing
is toeval, het stokkend
ongerepte uit haar krom
getrokken pen

poëzie
polijst niet wat
ze zegt, ze schuurt zich uit
in haar ontluistering

from: Als het dichtklapt
Amsterdam: Querido, 2005
Audio production: Flemish Literature Fund, Antwerp, 2007.

Rough

angleščina

Poetry
is becoming that
gets stuck in the
rough, cracked
cackhanded flawlessness
of the unnamed

its completion
is chance, the haltingly
unspoiled from its
crooked pen

poetry
does not polish what
it says, it scours itself out
in its tarnishing

Translated by John Irons

NU NOG

nizozemščina | Hugo Claus

De vierregelige verzen zijn gebaseerd op een selectie uit het Sanskritische
gedicht 'De Dief van liefde' (caurisurata pancasika).


I
Nu nog, aan de galg vandaag, met een vod in de mond,
zij die wakker wordt met gezwollen lippen, ogen toe,
zij was iets dat ik wist en toen verloren heb, en hoe,
maar hoe ben ik haar kwijt, hoe blaft een dronken hond?


II
Nu nog haar gezicht als de maan en haar lijf als de maan
jong, bitter jong, met die borsten en billen en die ribben.
Vroeger had je liefdespijlen, je voelde ze voorwaar,
zij teisterden, dacht je, die blanke volle maan van haar.


III
Nu nog haar afgebeten nagels, haar gekwetste tepels,
haar gladde billen waartussen zij verticaal lachte
en zij die metafysica verachtte zei: ' Ach, schat,
in elke cel van je zaad zitten God en zijn moeder.'


IV
Nu nog de strepen schrammen vlekken tatoeëringen,
allemaal kwetsuren van liefde onder haar lichte jurk,
en ik vrees dat dit zal blijven duren, dit wrang achterbaks
krabben en klauwen naar haar ondermaatse niemandsland.


VI
Nu nog weet ik hoe moe en melig na het loom vrijen
zij 's ochtends bijna schroomvallig haar hoofd vooroverboog,
een eend die over het meer gleed en aan 't water nipte
en toen duikelde naar mij en hapte en toen nooit meer.


VII
Nu nog knoop ik haar gitzwarte haren in hanige
kammen en sprieten en stekels en verheerlijk haar als
totem en kruis in mijn huis dat onhandig en haastig
verandert in een tempel voor Minne, de steelse godin.


VIII
Nu nog al die kamers en nachten en roomkleurig naakt
en al die slaap erna en ervoor en de geur van hei.
Hoe ze snurkte toen ik vroeg of ze nu gelukkig was
en hoe ze de peluw aaide plompverloren naast mij.


IX
Nu nog haar ledematen, alle vier bezig, bekaf,
en haar pasgewassen haar over haar warme wangen,
toen greep zij mijn nek met haar enkels, giechelende beul,
onthoofd bood zij mij haar koele glinsterende wonde.


XI
Nu nog, nu ik op het punt sta over te schakelen
naar dat andere leven, leidt ze mij als door zwart water
en loert en loenst naar mij door haar gevaarlijke wimpers
en lacht als ik kletsnat opklim tegen haar gouden berm.


XII
Nu nog is haar hele lijfkarmijn en glimt van het zweet
en van babyolie glad zijn haar openingen.
Toch blijft wat ik van haar weet een zonderling gebaar,
iets zonder echo, vol bitterheid, toeval en spijt.


XIII
Nu nog vergeet ik weer de goden en hun ministers,
zij is het die mij versplintert, veroordeelt en vergeet,
zij van alle seizoenen maar vooral van de winter
want zij wordt mooier, kouder naarmate ik verder sterf.


XIV
Nu nog tussen alle vrouwen is er niet een als zij,
niet een waarvan de woeste mond mij zozeer heeft verrast.
Mijn zotte ziel zou over haar vertellen als zij kon
maar mijn ziel werd met al haar hebben en houden verwoest.


XV
Nu nog hoe zij beefde van vermoeidheid en fluisterde:
'Waarom doe je dit? Ik laat je nooit meer los, mijn koning.'
Er was geen killere vorst dan ik en overmoedig
liet ik haar zien hoe de Koning traande uit zijn éne oog.


XVI
Nu nog als ik durf te denken aan mijn verloren bruid
tril ik op mijn benen als ik denk aan wie haar nu plukt,
mijn wandelende oleander van een bruid die steeds
opnieuw het onkruid dat ik ben uit zijn lusttuin rukt.


XVII
Nu nog terwijl de bijen van de dood om mij zwermen
proef ik de honing van haar buik en hoor ik het gezoem
van haar klaarkomen en staar ik naar de natte roze
blaadjes van haar beweeglijke vleesetende bloem.


XVIII
Nu nog ons breed bed dat ruikt naar haar en haar oksels
ons bleek bed door de vogels van de wereld bescheten.
Op de vogelmarkt zei zij: 'Die wil ik, die wilde daar,
die almaardoor met zijn bek tikt tegen die tiet van haar.'


XIX
Nu nog. hoe zij zich verweerde en mijn mond weigerde,
en pas toen ik haar vloerde met mijn nagels in haar borst,
lam lag en toen, terwijl ik dronken van haar weelde sliep,
mij weer oppookte als een lang gedoofd gewaande haard.


XX
Nu nog haar beweeglijke borst die in mijn handen lag
en haar lippen dik door de beten van mijn tanden
en haar afgebeten nagels en gekwetste tepels
en hoe zij scheel keek in het wrede licht van de morgen.


XXI
Nu nog verbeeld ik mij dat zij in de smalle tijd
tussen mij en de poolnacht de sterren is geweest,
het gras, de kakkerlakken, de vruchten en de maden
en dat ik dit aanvaardde en dat dit mij nog steeds verblijdt.


XXII
Nu nog, hoe haar beschrijven, met wat haar vergelijken?
Tot in mijn graf zal ik haar ordenen en haar verven
en bederven en haar amechtig weer tot leven blazen
met mijn ergerlijk geklaag, mijn zenuwslopend zeuren.


XXIII
Nu nog haar ogen met de rimmel en de oogschaduw
en de scharlaken lelletjes van haar oren doorboord.
'Ik heb koorts,' zei zij, 'ik kan niet meer, ik vermoord
je, die vingers van jou, niemand anders ooit, nergens, nooit.'


XXIV
Nu nog blijft zij negentien, al drinkt zij; nog zo veel,
en hebben te veel tranen rimpels over haar wangen
getrokken, oorlogsbeschildering en camouflage,
de schimmel en de diepvries van haar leven zonder mij.


XXV
Nu nog als ik haar terug zou vinden als een sprookje
van de maan na de regen en ik lik weer haar tenen,
weer op de been met mijn hart van steen dan vrees ik wordt er
weer een griezelig week lied gewekt als van Cole Porter.


XXVI
Nu nog, zij; meer dan het water in haar wonderlijk lijf
een zoutmeer waarop een eend zou drijven en beklijven
en die eend met een pik was ik - hoor me kwaken! - en zij
meer zijnde wiegde mij op de baren of deed alsof.


XXVII
Nu nog als ik haar terug zou zien met die bijziende blik
van haar, zwaarder in de heupen en voller in de kont,
ik zou haar, geloof ik, weer omhelzen, weer van haar drinken,
een hommel was niet drukker bezig blijer leniger.


XXVIII
Nu nog terwijl ik in haar verstrengeld en geknoopt zit
is de Verwoester bezig en verschroeit Hij de mensen.
Mensen van enige standing zijn hun weg verloren
als na een gevecht zonder wapens en zonder winnaars.


XXIX
Nu nog in haar boeien geklonken en met de bloedneus
van minnaars zeg ik, van haar bloeiende lente vervuld:
'Dood, folter niet langer de aarde, wacht niet, lieve dood,
tot ik klaargekomen ben, maar doe zoals zij en sla toe!'

© De Bezige Bij & Hugo Claus
from: Gedichten 1948-1993
Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1994
Audio production: Het Beschrijf, 2004

STILL NOW

angleščina

I
Still now, on the gallows today, in her mouth a rag,
she who wakes with swollen lips, her eyes still closed,
she was something I knew and since have lost and how,
but how did I lose her, how does a drunk dog bark?

II
Still now, her face as the moon and her body as the moon
young, bitter young, with those breasts and buttocks and those ribs
Earlier you had love’s darts, you truly felt them there,
they scourged, you thought, that bright full moon of hers.

III
Still now her bitten nails, her bruised nipples,
her smooth buttocks between which she smiles her vertical smile
and she who reviled metaphysics said: ‘Oh, sweetie,
in each cell of your sperm sits God and his mother.’

IV
Still now the stripes scratches stains tattoos,
all wounds of love beneath her flimsy frock,
and I fear that this will remain, this nasty underhand
scratching and clawing for her undersize no man’s land.

V
Still now, completely still she lay excessively alone,
crosswise abandoned and with paralysed palate,
and I, just as motionless in my cell, I heard them,
the tinkling chains round her left ankle.

VI
Still now I know how tired and limp after languid lovemaking
she leant her head forwards almost shyly in the morning,
a duck that slid across the lake and sipped at the water
and then dipped down to me and bit and then never again.

VII
Still now I bind her jet-black hair in horny
crests and spears and spines and worship her as
totem and cross in my house that clumsily and hastily
changes into a temple for Love, the furtive goddess.

VIII
Still now all those rooms and nights and creamily nude
and all that sleep after and before and the scent of hay.
How she snored when I asked if she now was happy
and how she caressed the pillow plump next to me.

IX
Still now her limbs, all four busy, done in,
and her newly washed hair over her warm cheeks,
then she grasped my neck with her ankles, giggling executioner,
beheaded she offered me her cool glistening wound.

X
Still now I hoist a flag and raise my arms in the air
and shout ‘Comrade’. But she was the one who surrendered.
For on the battlefield I heard her stammeringly rave
with the accent of her mother, obscene syllables.

XI
Still now, when I am on the point of switching over
to that other life, she leads me as through black water
and peers and leers at me through her dangerous lashes
and laughs when dripping-wet I clamber up to her golden verge.

XII
Still now her whole body is crimson and glistening with sweat
and her openings slippery with baby oil.
Yet what I know of her remains a curious gesture,
something without echo, full of bitterness, chance and regret.

XIII
Still now I forget the gods and their ministers,
it is she who shatters, sentences and forgets me,
she of all seasons but above all of winter
for she becomes more beautiful and cold as I continue dying.

XIV
Still now among all women there is not one like her,
not one whose savage mouth has amazed me so much.
My besotted soul would tell of her if it could
but my soul was ravaged by all her belongings.

XV
Still now how she trembled with tiredness and whispered:
‘Why are you doing this? I’ll never let you go again, my king.’
There was no chillier prince than I and recklessly
I let her see how the King wept from his one eye.

XVI
Still now when I dare think of my lost bride
I quiver on my legs when I think of who’s now plucking her,
my wandering oleander of a bride who time and time
again pulls up the weed that is me from her pleasure garden.

XVII
Still now while the bees of death swarm around me
I taste the honey of her belly and hear the humming
of her coming and stare at the moist pink
leaves of her mobile flesh-eating flower.

XVIII
Still now our broad bed that smells of her and her armpits,
our pale bed shat upon by the birds of the world.
At the bird market she said: ‘I want that one, that wild one there,
that keeps on tapping with its beak against her tit.’

XIX
Still now, how she resisted and refused my mouth,
and only when I floored her with my nails in her breast
lay null and void and then, while I slept drunk on her abundance,
poked me up again like a hearth long since thought extinguished.

XX
Still now her mobile breast that lay there in my hands
and her lips thickened by my tooth-bites
and her bitten nails and bruised nipples,
and how she squinted in the angry morning light.

XXI
Still now I imagine that she in the narrow space of time
between me and the polar night has been the stars,
the grass, the cockroaches, the fruits and the worms
and that I accepted this and that it still delights me.

XXII
Still now, how to describe her hair, with what can I compare her?
Until I’m in my grave I’ll arrange her and tint
and spoil her and breathlessly blow her back to life
with my tiresome moaning, my nerve-racking whining.

XXIII
Still now her eyes with the mascara and the eye-shadow
and the scarlet lobes of her ears pierced.
‘I’ve a fever,’ she says, ‘ I can’t any more, I’ll kill
you, your fingers, no one else ever, nowhere, never.’

XXIV
Still now she’ll be nineteen, although she drinks quite a lot,
and too many tears have traced furrows over her
cheeks, war-paint and camouflage,
the mould and the rigorous frost of her life without me.

XXV
Still now if I should find her again like a fairy tale
of the moon after rain and lick once more her toes,
on my legs once more with my heart of stone I’m afraid a
weird weak song might be reawoken like one by Cole Porter.

XXVI
Still now, she more than the water in her curious body
a salt lake on which a duck would drift and stick
and I was that duck with a dick - hear me quack! - and she
being a lake rocked me on the waves or pretended to.

XXVII
Still now if I were to see her again with that shortsighted look
of hers, heavier in the hips and broader in the beam,
I would, I think, embrace her, drink once more of her,
no drone would be busier more joyful suppler.

XVIII
Still now while I sit entangled and entwined in her
the Destroyer is at work scorching humanity.
Respectable humans have lost their way
as after a fight without weapons and without winners.

Still now riveted in her fetters and with the bloody nose
of lovers I say, filled with her blossoming spring:
‘Death, torture the earth no longer, do not wait, dear death,
until I have finally come, but do as she and strike now!’

Translation John Irons
Copyright by John Irons

DICHTER

nizozemščina | Hugo Claus

Herfst. Hoor. Geknetter. Hoor je dat zwaar geratel?
Het nadert in onze kleren, in onze haren.
Luizen van geluid. Wat is dit melaats geprevel?
Kind, het zijn de dichters buiten die klappertanden.

Hoe dichter de dichters bij hun sterven geraken
Des te grimmiger kermen zij naar de sterren.
In de ochtendmist waarin hun beelden smelten  
Bevriezen de dichters in een herkenbaar colbert.

Hoor hoe koortsig zij hun naderend vergaan verklaren  
Want hun laatste gereutel moet doorzichtig zijn,
Hun weduwen van lezers doen snikken.

'0, ons ego was te duister!' klagen zij.
'Dat vroeg de tijd, polyinterpretabel als wij!'
En kijk, zij kruipen uit de windsels van hun ziel,
De mond vol kroket en gebed om genade
Voor hun prostaat, hun plagiaat.

Ei op sterven na ontdekken de dichters plots
De bedarende mirakels van goden, aforismen,  
Aspirines, tederheden. Voor het eerst kan hun lief
Iets van haar lief met haar lippen lezen.

En voordat de dichters, loze winterappels
Daar de plukkers als ondermaats versmaad  
Uiteindelijk ook vallen in november
Willen zij voor eeuwig voor de buren verstaanbaar  
Vallen. In melkboerentaal, als ooft natuurlijk beurs.

Zij blijven bitter luisteren naar het gefrommel
Van de krant die hun naam verkeerd blijft spellen  
En zij vullen hun kruiswoordraadsels in
Vol anekdotes, angst en struikelende liefdes.

Maar te laat, te doof worden de dichters gewaar  
Dat wat duister en bot was in hun verzen
Niet lichter wordt door sleet, door de duur,
Maar dat het blijft bederven. Ondoorgrondelijk  
Blijven hun huis, hun woord, de evenaar, het azuur.  
Hun stuurse donkerte blijft gemeen als geld
En als de dood zo vluchtig.

'Maar apropos, jij zelf? Ja, jij! Vereerde jij ook niet
De splitsing, de gisting eerder dan het monument?
Zocht jij ook niet in elk motet een epitaaf?  
Wrong jij niet een embleem uit elk letsel?  
Vond jij je geblutste ik niet in elk bord zwezerik?'

- 'Jawel. Nog overeind droom ik van het letterlijke.
Zeker. Tot het einde toe die muizenissen, rozen,
Paradijzen, radijzen, voze gelijkenissen. Met  
Tot op dit papier deze lijken van letters.'

Adieu schrijven de dichters een leven lang
En vergrijzend als lavendel in november  
Blijven zij, gangreen en grap en raadsel,  
Erbarmelijk bedelen om mededogen,
Zoals ik voor de sleet op mijn oren en ogen  
Die jou beminden, beminnen.

© De Bezige Bij & Hugo Claus
from: Wreed Geluk
Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1999
Audio production: Het Beschrijf, 2004

POET

angleščina

Autumn. Listen. Crackling. Can you hear that heavy rattling?
It draws near in our clothes, in our hair.
Lice of sound. What is this leprous mumbling?
Child, its the poets outside, their teeth chattering.

The closer the poets get to their moment of dying
The more furiously they groan for the stars.
In the morning mist in which their images melt
The poets freeze in a recognisable jacket.

Hear how feverishly they explain their imminent demise
For their death rattle has to be transparent,
Cause their widow readers to sob.

‘Oh, our ego was too obscure!’ they complain.
‘Time required that, polyinterpretable like us!’
And look, they crawl out the swathes of their souls,
Their mouths full of rissoles and prayers for mercy
For their prostates, their plagiaries.

Oh close to death the poets suddenly discover
The calming miracles of gods, aphorisms,
Aspirins, caresses. For the first time their love
Can read something of her love with her lips.

And before the poets, loose winter apples
Rejected by the pickers because undersize
Finally also fall in November
They want to fall for ever comprehensible to the
neighbours. In milkman language, bruised fruit.

They continue to listen bitterly to the crumpling
Of the newspaper than keeps on spelling their name wrong
And they do their crosswords
Full of anecdotes, fear and stumbling loves.

But too late, too deaf, the poets realise
That what was obscure and obtuse in their verses
Does not become clearer by wear, by duration,
But that it goes on decaying. Their house, their word,
The equator, the azure remain unfathomable.
Their surly dark remains as volatile as money
And as vulgar as death.

‘But, by the way, yourself? Yes, you! Did you not revere
Fission, ferment rather than the monument?
Also seek an epitaph in each motet?
Wring an emblem out of each injury?
Find your dented ego in each plate of thymus?’

- ‘Oh yes. Still upright I dream of the literal.
For sure. Until the end those worries, roses.
Paradises, radishes, dried-out likenesses. With
To this sheet of paper these corpses of letters.’

Adieu the poets write all life long
And greying like lavender in November
They continue - gangrene and jest and puzzle -To
pitifully beg for sympathy,
As I for the wear and tear on my ears and eyes
That loved you, love you.

Translation John Irons
Copyright by John Irons

Det er august

norveščina | Torild Wardenær

Det er august, jeg studerer kartet over Spania, fjellmassivene, de store inntørkede
elvene, vindmølleregionen, grensetraktene, det barske Extremadura.
Jeg ser på plansjen Mating av fuglene om vinteren. Kråkefuglene, spettmeisene og
spurvene er avbildet, men falmet. Jeg studerer i det hele tatt alt som henger på
veggene i det lyse rommet mitt; ansikter og landskap er rammet inn som om det
kunne hjelpe.
Det begynner å bli lenge siden jeg ble født. Jeg forsøker å gjenskape denne
hendelsen, tålmodig som en modellflybygger; var det en melkehvit og blodstenket
kamp, langsom som tai chi, som trykk under vann, ubegripelig, glemt? Jeg er full av
gjetninger nå, men fratatt alle minner om emosjoner, press og avskjed.
Jeg sitter i stolen min til det mørkner, det er august, lyden av en hund bærer langt,
jeg sørger over at logikk ikke er min sterkeste side. Hunden nærmer seg, glefser etter
meg, er stri og raggete og i sin beste alder. Den snuser seg fram, værer: hvem der?
Og jeg som er av godt kjøtt svarer: ingen, ingen. Dette har jeg fra Odyssevs, og
tenker at det er et like godt svar som noe. Jeg dekker til strupen, går på full av
overmot og lokker blidt for å roe den, kaster ut bein for å holde den på avstand. Gjør
det ikke, ler jeg som om den skulle overfalle meg med kjærtegn, i det neste lyder det
advarende skarpt fra meg: ligg, sitt! -men den er uberegnelig, legger seg ikke på
ryggen som jeg håper, men biter etter meg. Dette er nemlig hundenes hund, den
har ikledd seg framtidshammen og jeg er dens helt sikre, saktmodige bytte.

© Aschehoug
from: Døgndrift
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1998
Audio production: 2007, Skrivekunst-akademiet i Hordaland

It is August

angleščina

It is August, I study the map of Spain, the mountain ranges, the great dried-out rivers,
the region of windmills, the border areas, the rugged Estramadura.
I look at the illustration Feeding the birds in winter. The crows, the nuthatches and
the sparrows are shown, although faded. I study in general everything hanging on the
walls in my light-filled room; faces and landscapes are framed as if that could help.
A long time has soon passed since I came into the world. I try to recreate this event,
patient as a builder of model-planes; was it a milky-white and bloody battle, as in
tai chi, or underwater pressure, incomprehensible, forgotten? I am full of guesses now,
though deprived of all memories of emotions, stress and farewells.
I sit in my chair until it becomes dark, it is august, the sound of a dog carries, I regret
the fact that logic is not my strong point. The dog approaches, snaps at me, is wiry and
shaggy and in the prime of life. It noses its way forward, sniffs the air: Who’s there?
And I, who am of prime flesh, reply: nobody, nobody. I’ve got that from Odysseus, and
feel it is as good an answer as any. I cover my throat, advance full of over-confidence
and call out gently so as to calm it, throw a few bones out to keep it at a distance. Don’t
you do that I laugh at it, as if it was going to assault me with caresses, then a sharp
warning comes from me: lie down, sit! - but it is unpredictable, does not lie on its back
as I hope, but has a bite at me. For it is the dog of dogs, it has decked itself out in the
skin of the future and I am its meek, certain prey.

English Translation by John Irons

DE SMÄRRE GUDARNA

švedščina | Lars Gustafsson

Större gudar, en Baal, en El,
besegrar kaosmakterna i en heroisk kamp

(tror de)
och bygger sedan omsorgsfullt sin borg

på traktens högsta bergstopp.
Nöjda sitter de sedan där

och ser rökarna stiga, rakt eller mindre rakt
från svedjor, krematorieugnar och kaffekokning.

De smärre gudarna, småfolket,
larer, vättar och de kloka små grå,

bökar på i den gamla askens höstliga rötter
och sänder sällsamma svampar

upp i dagsljuset. De är lata, långsamma gudar.

Men någonting ville de också ha sagt.

© Lars Gustafsson
from: En tid i Xanadu
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 2002
Audio production: 2003, M. Mechner, literaturWERKstatt berlin

Minor gods

angleščina

Major gods, a Baal, an El,
defeat the Powers of Chaos in a heroic battle

(they think)
and then carefully erect their fortress

on the highest mountain to be found.
And then they sit there content

and watch the smoke rising, straight up or less straight
from burn-beating, crematorium ovens and coffee-brewing.

The minor gods, the small fry,
lars, gnomes and the little clever grey ones,

dig away in the autumn roots of the old ash
and send strange fungi

up into the light of day. They are lazy, languid gods.

But they want to have a say as well.

Translated by John Irons

DE MOEDER

nizozemščina | Hugo Claus

Ik ben niet, ik ben niet dan in uw aarde.
Toen gij schreeuwde en uw vel beefde
Vatten mijn beenderen vuur.

(Mijn moeder, gevangen in haar vel,  
Verandert naar de maat der jaren.

Haar oog is licht, ontsnapt aan de drift
Der jaren door mij aan te zien en mij
Haar blijde zoon te noemen.

Zij was geen stenen bed, geen dierenkoorts,  
Haar gewrichten waren jonge katten,

Maar onvergeeflijk blijft mijn huid voor haar  
En onbeweeglijk zijn de krekels in mijn stem.

'Je bent mij ontgroeid,' zegt zij traag mijn
Vaders voeten wassend, en zij zwijgt
als een vrouw zonder mond.)

Toen uw vel schreeuwde vatten mijn beenderen vuur.
Gij legde mij neder, nooit kan ik dit beeld herdragen,
Ik was de genode maar de dodende gast.

En nu, later, mannelijk word ik u vreemd.  
Gij ziet mij naar u komen, gij denkt: 'Hij is  
De zomer, hij maakt mijn vlees en houdt
De honden in mij wakker.'

Terwijl gij elke dag te sterven staat, niet met mij
Samen, ben ik niet, ben ik niet dan in uw aarde.
In mij vergaat uw leven wentelend, gij keert  
Niet naar mij terug. van u herstel ik niet.

© De Bezige Bij & Hugo Claus
from: Gedichten 1948-1993
Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1994
Audio production: Het Beschrijf, 2004

THE MOTHER

angleščina

I am not, I am only in your earth.
When you screamed and your skin quivered
My bones caught fire.

(My mother, caught in her skin,
Changes with the measure of the years.

Her eye is bright, escaped from the urge
Of the years through looking at me and
Calling me her happy son.

She was no stony bed, no animal fever,
Her joints were young cats,

But my skin remains unforgivable to her
And the crickets in my voice are motionless.

‘You have outgrown me,’ she says dully
Washing my father’s feet, and she is silent
Like a woman without a mouth.)

When you screamed my bones caught fire.
You put me down, I can never rebear this picture,
I was the invited but deadly guest.

And now, later, I in my manhood am strange to you.
You see me approach you, you think: ‘He is
The summer, he makes my flesh and keeps
The dogs in me alive.’

While you must die every day, not together
With me, I am not, I am not except in your earth.
In me your life perishes in rotation, you do not
Return to me, from you I do not recover.

Translation John Irons
Copyright by John Irons

Jeg kan hva tid som helst bli grepet av en plutselig udødelighetens galskap

norveščina | Torild Wardenær

Jeg kan hva tid som helst bli grepet av en plutselig udødelighetens galskap og
også bli besatt av alle de liv som til nå er gått med.
Besatt av at jeg selv har overlevd, av dagene som eter de elskende opp
av den uopphørlige avlyttingen av kroppens røde indre.
Jeg er blitt gal, men er beskyttet mot nordavinden og er omgitt av varsler.
Kneskålene er fylt av sølv og blodvann. En nattmester messer og en mamma
står bøyd over meg.
Om dagen er håret hennes dekket av et tranebærfarget skjerf.
Om natten henger det ned i ansiktet mitt mens hun våker over meg, og det er nå
mens jeg som novise ligger og prøver ut mitt fremtidige dødsleie, det er nå
i den korte stunden det varer før hun tenner en lampe og det glimter
i en innfattet stein hun bærer i øret, at varslene tar form.
Det er her i sonen mellom barndommen og guds rike at hun gir tegn til
nattmesteren og livgiveren, og rommet utvider seg på ny til et større rom
der jeg skal våkne opp og forelske meg igjen, forlove meg.

© Aschehoug
from: Paradiseffekten
Oslo: Aschehoug, 2004
Audio production: 2007, Skrivekunst-akademiet i Hordaland

AT ANY TIME AT ALL I CAN BE SEIZED BY A SUDDEN/ MADNESS OF INFINITY

angleščina

At any time at all I can be seized by a sudden madness of infinity and
also be possessed by all the lives that until now have been lost.
Possessed by the fact I myself have survived, by the days that consume lovers,
by the incessant listening to the body’s red interior.
I have gone mad, but am protected against the north wind and surrounded by warnings.
My knee-caps are full of silver and serum. A master of the night chants and a
mummy stands bending over me.
During the day her hair is covered by a cranberry-coloured scarf.
At night it hangs over my face while she watches over me, and it is now
while I lie like a novice and try out my future deathbed, it is nowin the short
while it takes before she lights a lamp and it gleams
in an inlaid stone she wears in her ear, that the warnings take shape.
It is here in the zone between childhood and god’s kingdom that she gives a
sign to the master of the night and giver of life, and the room expands
once more into a larger room where I shall wake up and fall in
love again, promise too much.

English Translation by John Irons

In memoriam André du Bouchet

nizozemščina | Roland Jooris

Het blad
               scheurt
het vlak uit zijn
venster, de lucht krijt wit,
de haan vlamt op
in zijn kam

De tafel ruimt af
wat de nadag nog
ophoopt. De deur verjaagt
hem niet, ze laat
op een kier het vermoeden
een uitweg

Verstilling
vult nabijheid in

De kamer ankert

In de vertrappelde hitte
verstommen de keien
onder de tong

from: Als het dichtklapt
Amsterdam: Querido, 2005
Audio production: Flemish Literature Fund, Antwerp, 2007.

In memoriam André du Bouchet

angleščina

The sheet of paper
               tears
the plane from its
window, the sky chalks white,
the cock flares up
in its comb

The tables clears off
what the dying day still
stacks. The door does
not chase it away, it
leaves the assumption ajar
an exit

A quietening down
fills in closeness

The room anchors

In the trampled heat
the boulders under the tongue
fall silent

Translated by John Irons

GYMNASIUM

švedščina | Lars Gustafsson

Det var egentligen bara fyra korta vintrar.
Med Thomas Mann och Hesse
och grekiska grammatiken.
Och biografen Skandia.
Sånt går fort numera.
Men då, på den tiden
var alltsammans så stort, så långt
som ett halvt liv.
 
Cyklarna där låsen rostade.
Det innersta av dessa rostande cykellås:
Ett av dessa ställen
som vi inte studerade
tillräckligt noga.

© Lars Gustafsson
from: En tid i Xanadu
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 2002
Audio production: 2003, M. Mechner, literaturWERKstatt berlin

Senior high

angleščina

Actually it was only four short winters.
With Thomas Mann and Hesse
and Greek grammar.
And the Skandia movie theatre.
Tings like that pass quickly nowadays.
But then, at that time
everything was so big, so long
like half a life.

The bikes with locks that rusted.
The innermost part of these rusting bike-locks:
One of the places
we did not study
close enough.

Translated by John Irons

Gavetid

norveščina | Torild Wardenær

Jeg lever allernådigst og storslått, og ved årsskiftet er det gavetid; presanger til pater
O, til peter pan, til mamma, til de snille grandonklene og alle mine venner, vi skal
leve evig
jeg gir dem evighetsgavene; et villdyrskinn, sterke grønne lianer, jeg har temmet litt
tid for dem, jeg tenner lys, binder lianene, jeg leser tekstene, dveler ved første avsnitt,
tredje linje, jager bort helveteshundene, alt som kan plage dem, strør om meg med
trylleord og fromme bønner.
Jeg går en sikksakkrute gjennom byen, samler mot, ser på dem med noe som må ligne
gudenes blikk, ømt, tordnende ømt
men døden sitter med makten, tilbyr antigaven, den uakseptable, den som skaper
gjeld.

© Aschehoug
from: Døgndrift
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1998
Audio production: 2007, Skrivekunst-akademiet i Hordaland

Time for presents

angleščina

I live most graciously and magnificently, and at the turn of the year it is time for
presents - presents to Pater O, to Peter Pan, to mother, to the kind grand uncles and all
my friends, we will live for ever
I give them the presents of eternity: a wild beast’s pelt, strong green lianas, I have
tamed
a little time for them, I light candles, bind the lianas, I read the texts, pause
at the first paragraph, third line, chase off the hounds of hell, everything that can
torment them, scatter magic words and devout prayers around me.
I take a zigzag route through the town, screw up my courage, look at them with
something that must resemble the look of the gods, gentle, thunderingly gentle
   but death holds sway, offers the anti-present, the unacceptable, that which/
   creates debt.

English Translation by John Irons

Fremstøt fra proletariatet

norveščina | Torild Wardenær

Det kjennes som om jeg har blått blod i årene
jeg tilhører nok aristokratiet, jakter rev og hare
legger land under meg, holder hoff
inntar galleriet og pukker på min rett,
men proletaren Død fotfølger meg
det smeller: et vådeskudd, streifer meg bare
det røde blodet avslører meg, det ytterste laget mitt svir
Og adelskapet står i dobbelt fare
derfor dekker jeg fort til såret,
så lett det har vært å unnslippe
tenker jeg, inntar plassen min igjen
og til tross for at jeg siden bare gir ut små almisser,
skrumper den svære, formuende framtida inn.

© Aschehoug
from: Døgndrift
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1998
Audio production: 2007, Skrivekunst-akademiet i Hordaland

Offensive from the proletariat

angleščina

It feels as if I had blue blood in my veins
I must belong to the aristocracy, I hunt foxes and hares
acquire land, hold court
take over the gallery and stand on my rights,
but Death the proletarian stalks me close
there is a crack: an accidental shot, merely grazes me
the red blood betrays me, my outermost layer smarts
and nobility is exposed to a double danger
so I cover the wound quickly,
so easy it has been to escape
I think, retake my place
and although since then I only give meagre alms,
the heavy, wealthy future shrinks and shrinks.

English Translation by John Irons

FLICKAN

švedščina | Lars Gustafsson

En dag står livet
milt leende som en flicka
plötsligt på den andra sidan utav bäcken
och frågar
(på sitt förargliga sätt)

Men hur hamnade Du där?

© Lars Gustafsson
from: En tid i Xanadu
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 2002
Audio production: 2003, M. Mechner, literaturWERKstatt berlin

The girl

angleščina

One day life stands
gently smiling like a girl
suddenly on the far side of the stream
and asks
(in her vexatious style)

But how did you end up there?

Translated by John Irons

FICHTE VID FOTOGENLAMPAN

švedščina | Lars Gustafsson

När augusti månads mjuka mörker
plötsligt slöt sig
var det som om sjön slog därnere
med kortare slag, andades annorlunda
okända djur kanske tittade ut ur
sina hålor i strandkanten.
Och fotogenlampan tändes.
Den var som ett litet fyrtorn
i olika avsatser av glas och porslin
och den heta strömmen av upphettad luft
fick inte komma i gardinen.
Mycket noga med detta,
aldrig ställa lampan under gardinen.
Den gjorde, noga taget, mycken hetta
(skillnaden kändes tydligt i rummet)
och litet ljus. Och kring denna lampa flög
en arg liten metallblå insekt
filosofen Fichte hade på något sätt
tagit sig ut ur den tjocka bruna boken
på bordet,
där han förmodades bo.
Kretsade tills lågan tog honom.
Men då var kvällen slut.

© Lars Gustafsson
from: En tid i Xanadu
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 2002
Audio production: 2003, M. Mechner, literaturWERKstatt berlin

Fichte by the kerosene lamp

angleščina

When the soft darkness of August
suddenly closed in
it was as if the lake down there
quickened its pulse, breathed otherwise
unknown animals peered perhaps out of
their holes in the bank.
And the kerosene lamp was lit.
It was like a small lighthouse
in various ledges of glass and porcelain
and the hot stream of heated air
must be kept away from the curtain.
Very careful about that,
never place the lamp under the curtain.
It produced, strictly speaking, a great deal of heat
(the difference could clearly be felt in the room)
and not much light. And around this lamp flew
an angry small steel-blue insect
the philosopher Fichte had somehow
extracted himself from the thick brown book
on the table,
where he presumably lived.
Circled until the flame took him.
But then the evening was over.

Translated by John Irons

FÄRGLÄRAN AV ÅR 1808

švedščina | Lars Gustafsson

Det var en parkeringsplats.
En alldeles vanlig parkeringsplats.

Men under de starka lamporna

fångade de täta gröna kronorna ljuset,
och skuggorna mot asfalten
rörde sig ivriga och mörkröda
i skuggfärgens rytm.

Så skuggorna är röda?
Ja.
Men en skugga är ett ingenting.
Ett ingenting alls.

© Lars Gustafsson
from: En tid i Xanadu
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 2002
Audio production: 2003, M. Mechner, literaturWERKstatt berlin

Theory of colour 1808

angleščina

It was a parking lot.
A completely ordinary parking lot.

But below the powerful lamps

the close green tree-tops caught the light
and the shadows on the asphalt
moved eagerly and dark-red
in the rhythm of the shadow colour.

So shadows are red?
Yes.
But a shadow is a nothing.
An absolutely nothing.

Translated by John Irons

ENVOI

nizozemščina | Hugo Claus

Mijn verzen staan nog wat te gapen.
Ik word dit nooit gewoon. Zij hebben hier lang
genoeg gewoond.
Genoeg. Ik stuur ze 't huis uit. ik wil niet wachten
tot hun tenen koud zijn.
Ongehinderd door hun onhelder misbaar  
wil ik het gegons van de zon horen
of dat van mijn hart, die verraderlijke spons die verhardt.

Mijn verzen neuken niet klassiek,
zij brabbelen ordinair of brallen al te nobel.
In de winter springen hun lippen,
in de lente liggen zij plat bij de eerste warmte,  
zij verzieken mijn zomer
en in de herfst ruiken zij naar vrouwen.

Genoeg. Nog twaalf regels lang op dit blad  
hou ik ze de hand boven het hoofd
en dan krijgen zij een schop in hun gat.
Ga elders drammen, rijmen van een cent,
elders beven voor twaalf lezers
en een snurkende recensent.

Ga nu, verzen, op jullie lichte voeten,  
jullie hebben niet hard getrapt op de oude aarde
waar de graven lachen als zij hun gasten zien,  
het ene lijk gestapeld op het andere.
Ga nu en wankel naar haar
die ik niet ken.

© De Bezige Bij & Hugo Claus
from: Gedichten 1948-1993
Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1994
Audio production: Het Beschrijf, 2004

ENVOI

angleščina

My verses stand gawping a bit.
I never get used to this. They’ve lived here
long enough.
Enough. I send them out of the house, I don’t want to wait
until their toes are cold.
Unhampered by their unclear clamour
I want to hear the humming of the sun
or that of my heart, that treacherous sponge that hardens.

My verses don’t screw classically,
they babble commonly and bluster far too nobly.
In winter their lips leap.
in spring they lie flat at the first warmth,
they ruin my summer
and in autumn they smell of women.

Enough. For another twelve lines on this sheet
I’ll hold my hand over their head
and then they’ll get a boot up the arse.
Go and pester elsewhere, one-cent rhymes
tremble elsewhere before twelve readers
and a snoring reviewer.

Go now, verses, on your light feet,
you have not trodden hard on the old earth
where the graves laugh when they see their guests,
the one corpse stacked on top of the other.
Go now and stagger to her
whom I do not know.

Translation John Irons
Copyright by John Irons

Eedverbond der ijdelen

nizozemščina | Stefaan Van Den Bremt

1

Ze zou hém krijgen, had ze gezworen,
maar ze kreeg mij.

Wat haar in me aantrok waren woorden,
die vroege, weifelende, nog onrijpe.
Wat haar naar me toe trok was niet ik,
toen niet. (Jaren later,

toen we ons genoeg aan elkaar hadden
bezeerd en de woorden zich aan harde
feiten beurs hadden gestoten, was ik
het die zwoer dat ik haar zou krijgen.

Wat me in haar aantrok waren al die
schitterlichtjes in een oogopslag.
Wat mij naar haar toe trok was dat
ijle en opeens felle in één blik.)

Als je met het blote oog een ster
scherp wilt onderscheiden, moet je er
net naast kijken. Ik zou haar krijgen
en liet haar los.


2

Ik zou haar krijgen, wedde ik met mijn schaduw,
en liet haar los.

En ik verloor ze, verloor ze, verloor ze
bijna. Woest en leeg werd de plaats waar
zij zoek raakte, nog bijna ongeschapen
de schemerwereld waarin ze verdween.

Welke God sprak: ‘Er zij geen licht meer’?
Er was geen licht meer, en het werd nacht.
Dolende aarde zocht onder de hemel
nieuwe, in wiens schaduw gedoken maan.

Nacht laat niet naast zich kijken, daarom
zagen we hem niet. Hemellichamen stoten
elkaar van zich af. Alleen aardse aaien
elkaars tekort, strelen mekaars schimmen.

Ik zou die weddenschap winnen, ik kon niet
tegen verlies.


3

Zij liep weg met mijn schaduw. Ik greep er nog naar
en roofde de hare.

Die liet ik niet los, ik maakte haar het hof
en mijn beklag. Vroeg of laat
kwam zijzelf wel terug om haar weer op te eisen,
zou ik haar inruilen tegen haar huid
en haar en mijn bestaan.

Ik hield me flink, met een schim aan mijn zijde,
en geen mens die zag hoe ik in levenden lijve
een schaduw omhelsde, en hoe ver weg de mijne
was gelopen, tot waar er geen daglicht meer was.


4

En hoe ik heimelijk, schimmigerwijze
aan haar zijde bleef. En zij aan de mijne,
tot het haar daagde dat haar schaduw
niet zou wijken van wie zij waande
te zijn afgevallen. En hoe verder
weg zij van me was, des te dichter
sloot zich aaneen wat van elkaar
verschilde gelijk dag en nacht.

En mij schemerde het duister,
en haar duizelde het licht


5

Ik zou háár krijgen, wist ik,
zo zeker als zij het weersprak.

Zo zeker als nacht de dag weersprak,
zo zeker als een vogel de lucht.

Ik zou haar handen en haar voeten krijgen,
ik zou haar wangen en haar dijen krijgen,
ik zou haar vlugste vleugelslag krijgen,
ik zou haar trage schaamveren krijgen.

Zo zeker als taal de stilte weersprak,
zo zeker als een vis de zee.


6

Elk eedverbond wil eeuwig zijn, maar alle eden
zijn ijdel. Wij zwoeren woorden
en wij zwoeren ze af. Wij zwoeren
dwalingen en heel de wereld, wij zwoeren
gevoelens tot goden, maar alle goden
waren ijdel. Ik bezwoer
een vrouw.

Elk eedverbond wil edel zijn, maar al wat edel lijkt
is ijdel. Ik bezwoer
haar. Ik bezwoer een geest en alle
duivels. Ik bezwoer een storm met een stroom
van woorden. Zij zweeg.


7

Ze zóu hem krijgen, had ze gezworen,
maar waar was hij?

Zij zocht hem en miste haar schaduw,
zij zocht hem onder de mijne.

Zij zocht een lichaam en omhelsde een schim,
greep naar een wolk en het was een rots.

Als zij hem herkende veranderde hij.
Wat met de springvloed kwam ging bij eb.

En scheen de zon in de zee, híj was
al aan de nachtzijde van een oceaan.

Hij was een god die niet kon blijven.
Zij was een vrouw en zóu hem krijgen,

en ze kreeg mij. Ze kreeg degene
die haar niet genoeg was, ze kreeg

er een die ze niet zocht, ze vond
hem waar ik me liet vinden.

from: In een mum van taal
Tielt: Lannoo, 2002
Audio production: Flemish Literature Fund, Antwerp, 2007.

Plighted troth of the show-offs

angleščina

1

She would get him, she had sworn,
but it was me she got.

What attracted her about me was words,
early, hesitant, still immature.
What attracted her to me was not me,
not then. (Years later,

when we had hurt each other
enough and the words had knocked
themselves to pulp against hard facts, it was
I who swore that I’d get her.

What attracted me about her were all those
dazzling sparkles in a glance.
What attracted me to her was that
absent and suddenly fierce quality in a single look.)

If you wish to distinguish a star
with the naked eye, you must
look just next to it. I wanted to get her
and I let her loose.


2

I would get her, I bet my shadow,
and I let her loose.

And I lost her, lost her, lost her
almost. Without form and void the place became
where she got lost, still almost uncreated
the twilight world into which she disappeared.

Which God said: ‘Let there be no more light?’
There was no more light, and it was night.
Wandering earth sought beneath the sky
a new moon that had plunged into its shadow.

Night cannot be looked next to, so
we did not see it. Heavenly bodies repel
each other. Only earthly ones caress
each other’s faults, stroke each other’s spectres.

I was to win that bet, I could not
stand losing.


3

She ran off with my shadow. I clutched for it
and robbed her of hers.

And I did not let go of it, I courted it and made
my appeal to it. Sooner or later
she would probably come back to claim it again,
I would exchange it for her skin
and hair and my existence.

I was pretending to be unabashed, a spectre at my side,
and no one saw how alive and well I
embraced a shadow, and how far off mine had
fled, to where there was no more daylight.


4

And how I deviously, spectre-like
remained at her side. And she at mine,
until it dawned on her that her shadow
would not retreat from the one she imagined
she’d fallen away from. And the further
away she got, the closer
our differences caused us to unite,
as day and night both differ.

And I was dimmed by darkness
and she was dazzled by light.


5

Her I would get, I knew,
as sure as she denied it.

As sure as night denied the day,
as sure as a bird the air.

I would get her hands and feet,
I would get her cheeks and thighs,
I would get her swiftest wing-beat,
I would get her sluggish pubic feathers.

As sure as language denied silence,
as sure as a fish the sea.


6

Each plighted troth would be eternal, but
all oaths are vain. We swore words
and we forswore them. We swore
deviations and the whole world, we swore
feelings into gods, but all the gods
were vain. I allayed
a woman.

Each plighted troth would be noble, but
all that seems noble is vain. I allayed
her. I allayed a spirit and all
devils. I allayed a storm with a stream
of words. She was silent.


7

She would get him, she had sworn,
but where was he?

She sought him and lost her shadow,
she sought him under mine.

She sought a body and embraced a spectre,
clutched at a cloud and it was a rock.

When she recognised him he changed.
What came with the spring tide left with the ebb.

And if the sun shone in the sea, he was
on the night-side of an ocean.

He was a god that could not stay.
She was a woman and would get him,

and she got me. She got the one
who was not enough for her, she got

one of those she did not seek, she found
him where I let myself be found.

Translated by John Irons

Sirena: poesía, arte y crítica, Carlisle, 2007

CITYWIDE GARAGE SALE,
AUSTIN, TEXAS 1998

švedščina | Lars Gustafsson

Gamla mynt och sedlar
Däribland En dollar 1810
utställd av Mechanical Bank i Saint Louis
En rolig ölsejdel med röd näsa
En medalj från frivilliga brandkåren i Lubbock
för berömvärda insatser
Ett arbetskort, utfärdat av Tredje Riket
för Werner Hoffmann 16 år
tryckerilärling
Ett inplastat exemplar av tidskriften Look
med Marilyn Monroe på omslaget
Två mycket gamla hyvlar
säkert hemgjorda,
bruna och något skavda,
med en doft av många långa dagar
i getternas och tummelsnårens land

Jag undrar: hur dog Werner Hoffmann?

© Lars Gustafsson
from: En tid i Xanadu
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 2002
Audio production: 2003, M. Mechner, literaturWERKstatt berlin

Citywide garage sale
Austin, Texas 1998

angleščina

Old coins and bills
Including a One dollar 1810
issued by Mechanical Bank in Saint Louis
An amusing beer mug with a red nose
A medal from the volunteer fire corps in Lubbock
for commendable deeds
A worker’s card, issued by Das Dritte Reich
to Werner Hoffmann 16 years old
printing works apprentice
A copy of Look magazine in plastic
with Marilyn Monroe on the cover
Two very old planes
certainly homemade,
brown and rather well-worn,
with a smell of many long days
in the land of goats and scrub

I wonder: how did Werner Hoffmann die?

Translated by John Irons

CIRCULAIRE SYSTEMEN – NR. 9

nizozemščina | Paul Bogaert

Men staat voor een sluis
die bedomptheid garandeert.
Dan vindt men instinctief de truc:
men spant wat spieren op, men verraadt
een aarzeling, men duwt zich dan erdoor.
Men ervaart een druk op het oor.
Een weerzinwekkende boventoon.
Een onpersoonlijk denkpatroon.
Maar een systeem verstoort men niet
als men in een draaideur het geliefde ziet.

© 2002 Meulenhoff, Amsterdam
from: Circulaire systemen
Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 2002
Audio production: Het Beschrijf, 2004

CIRCULAR SYSTEMS – NR. 9

angleščina

One stands at a lock
that guarantees mustiness.
Then one instinctively finds out the trick:
one tightens certain muscles, betrays
some hesitation, but then pushes through and clear.
One feels some pressure in the ear.
A quite abhorrent overtone.
A way of thinking not one’s own.
But one does not disturb a system’s core
when seeing the beloved in a revolving door.

Translation: John Irons

CIRCULAIRE SYSTEMEN – NR. 7

nizozemščina | Paul Bogaert

Het is de wanklank uit de hijger zelf
die hem/haar zo hijgen doet. De onderlip
krult naar wat een hersenkwab
vol echo’s in gevangenschap dicteert.
Men hijgt, pauzeert en hijgt
in een oorzakelijk verband. Niemand
die er tijdens het hijgen last van heeft.
Later verschijnen dieren:
de angsthaas in het reuzenrad,
de kermispony die ’s nachts alles herbeleeft.

© 2002 Meulenhoff, Amsterdam
from: Circulaire systemen
Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 2002
Audio production: Het Beschrijf, 2004

CIRCULAR SYSTEMS - NR. 7

angleščina

It’s the jerky wheeze from the one who pants
makes him/her pant like that. The lower lip
curls to what a cerebral lobe
full of echoes in captivity dictates.
One pants, pauses and pants
in a causal connection. Nobody at all
is bothered by it while the panting lasts.
Later animals appear:
the scaredy-cat in the big wheel,
the fairground pony that relives everything at night.

Translation: John Irons

CIRCULAIRE SYSTEMEN – NR. 13

nizozemščina | Paul Bogaert

Men neemt een hoeveelheid details
alsof men een operatie voorbereidt.
Meteen klinken de slaven van de zeggingskracht
zich vast. Een rilling maakt zich klaar.
Hoe snel is men geroerd!
Hoe snel is men afhankelijk!
Hoe snel verleid door iets wat past!
Men ziet de slotgracht niet.
Men hoort een koor, een prachtig lied.
Een menigte, gevankelijk weggevoerd.

© 2002 Meulenhoff, Amsterdam
from: Circulaire systemen
Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 2002
Audio production: Het Beschrijf, 2004

CIRCULAR SYSTEMS – NR. 13

angleščina

One takes a quantity of details
as if preparing for an operation.
At once the slaves of eloquence rivet themselves
together. A shiver makes ready.
How quickly one feels moved!
How quickly one becomes dependent!
How quickly tempted by something that fits!
One does not see the castle moat.
One hears a choir, a splendid song.
A crowd led off into captivity.

Translation: John Irons

BEGYNDELSE

danščina | Morten Søndergaard

En krydderhave i sol,
               en sommer, bagest i haven
og min farmor mellem kartofler,
gulerødder og pastinakker,
hvor gammel er du farmor,
               din hud er rynket,
ikke glat og spændstig som kartoflerne i jorden,
               eller lyden af kartoflerne
når du smider dem ned i spanden
og skrubber dem rene med en kost på gårdspladsen, 
for vandet løber ud af spanden og ned i gruset,
ned mellem de gule og hvide sten,
               som jeg kommer i munden,
kølige sten imod tændernes inderside,
jeg kender deres form og smag,
og kartoflerne i den store aluminiumsgryde
               med dild og salt og smør,
og vi kommer varme og forpustede ind
og vi sætter os på bænken,
               vi var i færd med noget,
noget vi ikke vidste hvad var,
noget der bragte os steder hen
               der ikke var til at forudset,
noget der traf os med enorm styrke,
               en indlysende hemmelighed der udslettede os,
fordi vi et øjeblik var uopmærksomme,
               din hud er gul og voksagtig, farmor,
de synger dig ud og lukker låget
med små forsølvede skruer,
               du skal ned i jorden
til kartoflerne.

© Morten Søndergaard
from: Bier dør sovende
Copenhagen: Borgens Forlag, 1998
Audio production: Literaturwerkstatt Berlin 2008

BEGINING

angleščina

A herbarium in the sun,
               a summer, at the bottom of the garden
and my grandma among the potatoes,
carrots and parsnips,
how old are you, grandma,
               you skin is wrinkled,
not smooth and pliant like the potatoes in the soil,
               or the sound of the potatoes
when you throw them into the bucket
and scrub them clean with a broom in the yard,
the water runs out of the bucket into the gravel,
down between the yellow and white stones
               which I put in my mouth,
cool stones against the inside of my teeth,
I know their shape and taste,
and the potatoes in the big aluminium saucepan
               with dill and salt and butter,
and we come in hot and out of breath,
we sit down on the bench,
               we were busy doing something,
something we didn’t know what it was,
something that took us places
that could not be seen in advance,
something that struck us with enormous force,
               an obvious secret that annihilated us
because our minds wandered for a moment,
               your skin is yellow and waxy, grandma,
they’re singing for you and closing the lid
with small silver-plated screws,
you’re to go down into the soil
               down to the potatoes.

Translation: John Irons

ATT SOVA MED EN KATT I SÄNGEN

švedščina | Lars Gustafsson

Jag vet inte om jag tycker om katter
Hundar är mera mina djur
Hundar ljuger mera sällan
Men det är skönt att sova med katter
i sängen, någonstans nere
i fotregionen just där tårna
försiktigt kikar ut i en nattlig värld
likt väktare på muren
till en mycket gammal stad
Staden Sömn på Mörkrets Slätt.
Katten alltså på ett lämpligt avstånd
men i ett slags hemligt samförstånd
med tårna, dessa tio väktare
mot mörkret, kaos, intigheten
och det avlägsna tågets ljud.

Och kattens sömn skapar i mig
en djupare sömn,
dess sätt att embryoniskt ringla sig
kring sin egen mittpunkt
ger en känsla av förtrogenhet
ja, hemmastaddhet, i denna världen,
som om den vore
ett helt naturligt ställe
att vistas på.

© Lars Gustafsson
from: En tid i Xanadu
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 2002
Audio production: 2003, M. Mechner, literaturWERKstatt berlin

Sleeping with a cat in the bad

angleščina

I don’t know if I like cats
Dogs are more my sort of animal
Dogs don’t lie as often
But it’s nice sleeping with cats
in bed, somewhere down
in the foot area just where the toes
cautiously peep out into a nocturnal world
like watchmen on the wall
of a very old city
Sleep City on the Plain of Dark.
The cat then at a suitable distance
but in a kind of secret understanding
with the toes, these ten watchmen
against the dark, chaos, the void
and the sound of the distant train.

And the cat’s sleep creates in me
a deeper sleep,
its way of curling around its
own centre like an embryo
gives a feeling of intimacy
yes, snugness, in this world,
as if it was
a perfectly natural place
to stay in.

Translated by John Irons

Altijd

nizozemščina | Luuk Gruwez

(I)

Er zijn heel tedere machines nodig
om op een mooie dag naar nergens te vliegen.
Propellers, buizen, bouten zijn er nodig,
het vallend blad van een plataan,
misschien het oorsmeer van een kind

en veel van het onmogelijke mooiste.
Er moet, heel opgewekt, een witte merel zingen,
een voorjaarsochtend in een schrikkeljaar.
Dit alles is beslist vereist
voor wie naar nergens wenst te vliegen.

Want nergens is een plek met pech
en als niet alles fout kan gaan,
dan is er niets wat lukken zal.
De tederste machines zijn er nodig
om op een mooie dag naar nergens te vliegen.

© beim Verlag
from: Dieven en Geliefden
Amsterdam: De Arbeiderspers, 2000
Audio production: het beschrijf, brüssel 2002

Always

angleščina

For Toon Tellegen

[I]

Machines quite gentle are called for
for one fine day to fly to nowhere.
Propellers, pipes and bolts are needed,
the leaf that’s falling from a plane tree,
the ear-wax of a child perhaps

and much of the impossibly beautiful.
A pure-white blackbird piping merrily,
one fine spring morning in a leap year.
All of this is certainly required
of one who would be flying nowhere.

For nowhere is a place where bad luck reigns
and even if not everything can go amiss,
there’s nothing even so that goes aright.
The gentlest of machines are needed
for one fine day to fly to nowhere.

Translation: John Irons

ALLA GALNA SMÅ FÖREMÅL

švedščina | Lars Gustafsson

Alla dessa underliga
små föremål
som under en livstid kommer till oss
vart och ett från sitt ställe
var och en från sin Logos.

Den gamla trädgårdskniven
med sitt slitna skaft av trä
och blad som slipats tunt
hittad på en trottoar i Arles.
Och den skulptur
av numera ärgad mässing
som en gång en konstnär
svetsade ihop åt mig av gamla dörrhandtag
i en ateljé nära dåvarande Berlinmuren
i Marie Louisenstadt.

Denne konstnär var fullständigt galen
och kunde bara tilltalas
det schizofreniska språket.
Hans verk liknar, om det liknar något alls,
en spindel. Men utan nät.

En liten azurblå flaska
med en fiskmun uppe vid korken
från någon sophög.

© Lars Gustafsson
from: En tid i Xanadu
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 2002
Audio production: 2003, M. Mechner, literaturWERKstatt berlin

All crazy small objects

angleščina

All these strange
small objects
that come to us in the course of our lives
each one from its own location
each one from its Logos.

The old pruning knife
with its worn wooden haft
and its blade worn thin
found on a pavement in Arles.
And the sculpture
of brass turned green
that an artist once
welded for me out of old door handles
in a studio close to what was once the Berlin Wall
in Marie Louisenstadt.

That artist was completely crazy
and could only be addressed
in the schizophrenic language.
His work resembles, if anything at all,
a spider. But without a web.

A small azure bottle
with a fish’s mouth up at the cork
from some rubbish tip.
A child once gave it to me.

They do not speak of course.
And neither are they ‘symbols’
of something or other.

They have come down
from the firmament of forms
to stay
for a short while
on writing desks
and in window recesses

And one is grateful for their visit.

Translated by John Irons

Afscheidsliedje

nizozemščina | Lucienne Stassaert

Er is een liedje
dat de tijd
doet keren

weet je nog hoe
nu dan hoe
nu dan hoe

wat een stem
geluk zou noemen
onverdraaglijk

helder klinkt
in het begin
en aan het begin

van het einde?
irgendwo
irgendwo

loopt de melodie
daarna
verloren

weet je nog hoe
nu dan hoe
nu dan hoe

ze tintelde
en pinkelde
tot je een belletje

hoorde rinkelen:
de liefde is op
de maat is vol -

Er blijft een stem
in een muziekdoos
achter

ze zegt niet hoe
zegt niet hoe lang
ze klem zit

en om het kistdeksel
te openen
weet je nog hoe

nu dan hoe
nu dan hoe
zal je een steen

moeten oplichten:
ik ben het, vader,
laat mij binnen

het geeft niet hoe
het geeft niet hoe

© Uitgeverij P
from: Afscheidsliedjes
Leuven: Uitgeverij P, 2001
Audio production: Flemish Literature Fund, Antwerp, 2007

Song of Farewell

angleščina

There is a song
that time
turns around

do you still know how
and now how
and now how

what a voice
would call happiness
sounds

unbearably clear
to begin with
and at the beginning

of the end?
irgendwo
irgendwo

the melody is
then
lost

do you still know how
and now how
and now how

it twinkled
and sparkled
until you heard

a bell tinkle:
love is used up
the measure's full

A voice is left
behind
in a music-box

it does not say how
say how long
it is stuck

and the way to open
the box-lid
you still know how

and now how
and now how
you will have

to lift up a stone:
it’s me, father,
let me in

no matter how
no matter how

Translated by John Irons

Udenfor har vinden lagt sig

danščina | Klaus Rifbjerg


Den dag jeg frygter mest er når de enkle ting bliver meningsløse.
Jeg ved, det er sket, når fanfaren i »Maden står på bordet« ikke
længere opfattes. Jeg ved, at når serviettens kølighed mod læber-
ne ved »Velbekomme« ikke længere gør indtryk og føles som et
kys, er det forbi. Vi sætter os til bordet, og alt er som altid.
Vi bryder brødet, hælder vin og vand op. Vi taler dæmpet, udenfor
har vinden lagt sig. Jeg rejser mig, og vi tager sammen ud. Vi
vasker op. Vi sætter ting på plads og fejer krummerne af bordet.
Vasen med blomster står nu, hvor den stod. Vi læser. Snart venter
sengen og den lange nat. Jeg slukker og ser efter om dørene er
låst. Om natten vågner jeg og hører vinden, lægger hånden på dit
hår og lytter til dit åndedræt. Falder i søvn igen, drømmer,
vågner. Det er morgen.

© Klaus Rifbjerg & Gyldendal
from: Rifbjergs digte. Udvalgt af Brostrøm
København: Gyldendal , 2001
Audio production: 2005, M.Mechner / Literaturwerkstatt Berlin

Outside the wind has died down

angleščina


The day I’m most afraid of is when simple things become meaningless. I’ll know it has happened when the fanfare in ‘The food’s on the table’ can no longer be taken in. I’ll know when the coolness of the serviette against the lips at ‘Enjoy your meal’ no longer makes any impression and feels like a kiss that it’s all over. We sit down at the table, and everything is as always. We break bread, pour out wine and water. Speak subduedly, outside the wind has died down. I get up, and we both take things out. We wash up. We put the things back in their places and sweep up the crumbs on the table. The vase with flowers now stands where it stood. We read. Soon bed will be waiting and the long night ahead. I turn out the lights and check that the door is locked. In the night I wake up and can hear the wind, place my hand on your hair and listen to your breathing. Fall asleep again, dream, wake up. It is morning.

Translated by John Irons

Tafelen met een stoel

nizozemščina | Stefaan Van Den Bremt

denkend aan C. K.

1

Doe die kalender vol scheurwijsheid weg.
Die dag wil niet overgaan.

Die dag schoof iemand een stoel bij.
Op een blauwe maandag kwam een vreemde gast.

Hij kon niet blijven, maar zat mee aan tafel,
schepte een bord vol schaduw, vulde een glas

met licht, slurpte het op en ging;
hij kon niet blijven waar hij was.

Sinds die dag huist in jou die gast.
Eenmaal kwam hij voor één etmaal.

Nu nog weet je met jezelf geen blijf
en tafelt met de stoel waarop hij zat.


2

Hij kon niet blijven en wou niets kwijt,
spaarde schaduw en dronk licht.

Met de dag wijzer dan minuut en uur,
met de tijd die niet wil overgaan –

en ook hem staat het als gast vrij  
huis te houden in jouw huid.

Andermaal trekt hij een etmaal
af en blijft een eeuwigheid.
 
Nu nog vreet zijn schim je uit
bij het natafelen, stoelvast.


3

Op een blauwe maandag schoof iemand een stoel bij.
Op een dolle dinsdag stond hij op.
 
Op een woensdag staat alleen die stoel daar
van niets te gebaren, ook hij is

voor wie open tafel houdt een vreemde,
voor wie hem uit wil vragen stom.

Hij blijft daar maar staan en wil niets kwijt
dan die krabbengang van dagen.


4

Wie helpt hem die maandag dragen
en de gast die daar toen zat.

Hij zat daar breeduit en hij stond op
weggaan waar hij op adem kwam.

Hij kan niets zeggen dan in dingtaal,
in stramme gebarenspraak.


5

Tafelen zal hij daar bij tegenlicht
tot in lengte van dagen.

Soms zit hij daar alsof hij weer
op sprong staat weg te gaan.


6

Kijk tegen de jaren in,
heel die tijd van scheurwijsheid.

from: A
Tielt: Lannoo, 2005
Audio production: Flemish Literature Fund, Antwerp, 2007.

At table with a chair

angleščina

thinking of C. K.

1

Get rid of that calendar full of tear-off wisdom.
That day will not go away.

Once in a blue moon someone pulled up a chair.
For a short spell an unknown guest came.

He couldn’t stay, but sat at the table,
ladled a plate full of shadow, filled a glass

with light, slurped it up and left;
he could not stay where he was.

Since then that guest resides in you.
One day he came for a whole day.

Even now you don’t know what to do with yourself
And sit at table with the chair on which he sat.


2

He could not stay and would not say a word,
saved shadow and drank light.

Wiser by the day than minute and hour,
by the time that will not pass away –

and as a guest he’s also free
to wreak havoc in your skin.

Again he pulls up a whole day
and stays an eternity.

Even now his spectre eats you away
lingering at the table, chair-bound.


3

Once in a blue moon someone pulled up a chair.
At the next quarter he stood up.

At the next nothing but the chair is there
playing the innocent, he too is

a stranger to whoever is hospitable
is mute to whoever would question him.

He just stays standing there wanting only
to be rid of that crab-walk of days.


4

Who helps him to bear that day
and the guest that sat there then.

He sat there sprawling and he made
to leave to where he would catch breath.

He can only speak in thing language,
in a tongue of stiff gestures.


5

He shall sit back-lit at table
for all eternity.

He sometimes sits there as if
poised to leave once more.


6
     
Look into the years,
all that time of tear-off wisdom.

Translated by John Irons

Sirena: poesía, arte y crítica, Carlisle, 2007

HALLOWEEN

nizozemščina | Hugo Claus

Stil als de dood van een dode die niemand kent
is het overal buiten je kamer
waar je danst in je eentje als tevoren.
Maar ook daar hoor ik wat je niet zegt
zoals ik het wil horen.
Ver van het verfomfaaid Europa  
waarover het heiige dodelijke daalt binnenkort  
staan wij naar elkaar te staren
bijna dood als plastic stoelen
en jij noch ik die de moord op mij of jou bekent.

© De Bezige Bij & Hugo Claus
from: Gedichten 1948-1993
Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1994
Audio production: Het Beschrijf, 2004

HALLOWEEN

angleščina

Still as the death of a dead man no one knows
it is everywhere but your room
where you’re dancing on your own as before.
There too though I hear
what you do not say
in the way I wish to hear it.
Far from tousled Europe over which
what is hazy deadly will soon descend
we stand next to each other staring
almost dead like plastic chairs
and neither you nor me confessing the murder of me or you.

Translation John Irons
Copyright by John Irons