Saturday, 18 April 2015

Another (of many) heartfelt sighs from Kingo


Heartfelt sigh

Ah! my Jesus! ah! I fear
Death and Grave and Hell are near!
Death has eyes that on me prey,
Gaping grave would clutch my clay,
And hell’s hideous abyss
Wills that I my soul shall miss,
Satan damns my earthly dust,
And the law says: That is just!
My life’s soon condemned to end
As all devils would intend,
Should, O Jesus!, you not guide
Me to your wide-open side,
Bloodied by my spear of sin,
And there let me enter in
So I, by your heart reviewed,
Law’s stern verdict may elude!
Judgment then can but be good,
Written with your mercy’s blood.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

A 1681 'cri de cœur' from Thomas Kingo


Hierte-Suk

Aldrig er jeg uden Vaade,
Aldrig dog foruden Naade:
     Altid har jeg Suk og Vee,
     Altid kand dog JESUM see:
Altid trykker mine Synder,
Altid JEsus Hielp tilskynder:
     Altid er jeg udi Tvang,
     Altid er jeg fuld af Sang:
Nu i Sorrig, nu i Glæde,
Nu i Fald og nu i Sæde:
     Ofte fuld af stor Uroo,
     Altid fuld af JEsu Troo!
Saa er Sorg og Glæde lenked,
Saa er Begeret iskienked
     I mit Levnets Omgangs Skaal,
     Slig er mine Levnets Maal!
Men, O JEsu, jeg vil græde,
Hielp Du til at Troens Glæde
     Fra min Synd og Sorrig maa
     Altid Over-vegten faa!


Heartfelt sigh

Never troubles fail to hurt me,
Never though does grace desert me:
     Ever sighs and pain accrue,
     Ever JESUS though I view:
Ever sins me vex and chasten,
Ever Christ to help will hasten:
     Ever cares on me do throng.
     Ever I am full of song:
Now grief-laden, now quite cheerful,
Now crestfallen, now unfearful:
     Often by unrest enticed,
     Always full of faith in Christ!
Thus is sorrow mixed with pleasure,
Thus my cup receives due measure
     In my life’s allotted span,
     Such is my life’s certain plan!
But, O Christ, on you I’m calling:
By your grace keep me from falling,
     That the joys of true faith may
     Always sin and grief outweigh!

From 'PA'. George Irons (4 March 1906 - 16 April 1980)



IN PERPETUITY

1. THE FLIGHT PATH

Gules an Eagle displayed Or beaked and membered Azure
in each claw a Sword erect proper pommel and hilt Or
on a Chief Ermine two pierced Cinquefoils Gules

in later life
pa’s consuming interests
were genealogy and heraldry
‘i intend to put this family
on the map’
said pa
‘in perpetuity’

‘the name is scottish’ pa remarked
‘originating from dundee’
‘look at your nose, pa’ i replied
‘we’re scandinavians –
iron is their word for eagle’

pa was as good as his word
his coat of arms not lightly won
was fought for with persistence

‘we need a motto’ added pa
semper pugnare paratus i replied
‘always prepared to fight’



2. THE SCOTTISH CONNECTION

Crest: On a wreath of the colours
in front of two Thistle Leaves in saltire proper
a Cross Moline Azure fimbriated Or

the iron bearing
in the middle of a mill-stone
bears it up and guides its motion:
a mill-iron, or cross moline

‘good thing the thistle’s
their national emblem
since you’re so prickly, pa’
i said
semper pugnare paratus

‘one day you’ll be glad of this’

said pa
my cross-moline
my eagle

Poem by the Norwegian writer Inger Hagerup (1905-85)


Emily Dickinson

Meget spinkel. Meget liten.
Alltid sirlig kledd i hvitt.
Gjennom huset trippet hennes
veloppdragne pikeskritt.

Tørket støv og vannet blomster
med små travle husmorhender.
Bakte brød. Gikk tur i parken,
og skrev brev til slekt og venner.

Kjærlig søster. Lydig datter.
Slik var dagens dukkelek.
Men den skjulte ilden herjet.
Og det stumme skriket skrek.

Og bak jomfruburets låste
dør og lette blondekapper
lå en fremmed ingen kjente.
Altfor ensom. Altfor tapper.

Lå en kald kirurg og lyttet
til sin egen nakne smerte.
Og mens puten kvalte skriket,
obduserte hun sitt hjerte.


Emily Dickinson

Very slender. Very tiny.
Always neatly dressed in white.
Through the house she used to trip with
girl-like steps well-bred and light.

Wiped off dust and watered flowers
with small busy housewife hands.
Baked bread. In the park went walking,
wrote to family and friends.

Loving sister. Duteous daughter.
Doll-play was her daily fare.
But the hidden fire ravaged.
And the silent scream did tear.

And behind the locked door of her
girl’s room and her bonnets’ lace
lay a stranger known to no one.
All too lonely. All too brave.

Lay a surgeon listening coldly
to her naked pain apart.
And while cushions choked her screaming,
she dissected her own heart.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

'Arguably the godfather of Dutch performance poets' - Rob Schouten on J.A. Deelder

Stadsgezicht (Rotterdam)

Tegenwoordigheid van geest
en realisme in 't kwadraat
vieren onverstoorbaar feest
in een opgebroken straat

Hoog en spijkerhard de hemel
met een blikkerende zon of
zwart en laag in wilde wemel
langs skeletten van beton

Doorheen geloken luxaflexen
tórenhoog de wooncomplexen
stapelen den einder dicht

Posthistorisch vergezicht -
Rotterdam gehakt uit marmer
kant'lend in het tegenlicht


Cityscape (Rotterdam)

Self-possessed resourcefulness
and realism that’s been squared
coolly go to town no less
in a street dug-up and bared

Tall and hard as nails the sky
with a sharply glinting sun or
black and low in disarray
past cemented skeletons

Through venetian blinds’ closed slats
soaring high-rise blocks of flats
stack the skyline shut, unseen

Posthistorical wide-screen –
Rotterdam hewn out of marble
toppling in the backlit scene

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A Wim Hofman poem based on a painting by Rembrandt

To see the translation, please go to here

A Bloem poem I have been trying to translate for over eight years. Still trying!

insomnia

Denkend aan de dood kan ik niet slapen,
En niet slapend denk ik aan de dood,
En het leven vliedt gelijk het vlood,
En elk zijn is tot niet zijn geschapen.

Hoe onmachtig klinkt het schriel 'te wapen',
Waar de levenswil ten strijd mee noodt,
Naast der doodsklaroenen schrille stoot,
Die de grijsaards oproept met de knapen.

Evenals een vrouw, die eens zich gaf,
Baren moet, of ze al dan niet wil baren,
Want het kind is groeiende in haar schoot,

Is elk wezen zwanger van de dood,
En het voorbestemde doel van ’t paren
Is niet minder dan de wieg het graf.


insomnia

Thinking about death stops me from sleeping,
And not sleeping death’s my every thought,
And life’s flowing, then as now, is short,
And each being its non-being’s seeking.

How weak the cry ‘to arms’ – and how fleeting –
With which the will to live summons all,
Next to death’s shrill, strident clarion call
To young and old for that final meeting.

Just as nothing a woman can save
From birth once she has condoned creating,
Since the child in her womb gathers breath,

Each being is pregnant with its death,
And the predestined purpose of mating
Is no less the cradle than the grave.

Friday, 10 April 2015

A Danish translation of Wallace Stevens' 'Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird'

Tretten måder at se en solsort på

Wallace Stevens

I
Mellem tyve snehvide bjerge,
Var det eneste der bevægede sig
Solsortens øje.

II
Jeg var i tre sind,
Som et træ
Hvor der sidder tre solsorte.

III
Solsorten hvirvlede i efterårsvindene.
Den var en lille del af pantomimen.

IV
En mand og en kvinde
er ét.
En mand og en kvinde og en solsort
Er ét.
 
V
Jeg ved ikke hvad man skal foretrække,
Tonefaldenes skønhed
Eller hentydningernes skønhed,
Solsorten der fløjter
Eller lige bagefter.

VI
Istapper fyldte det lange vindue
Med barbarisk glas.
Solsortens skygge
Krydsede det, frem og tilbage.
Stemningen
Tegnet i skyggen
En årsag umulig at tyde.

VII
O tynde mænd af Haddam,
Hvorfor forestiller I Jer gyldne fugle?
Ser I ikke hvordan solsorten
Piler rundt om fødderne
på kvinderne der omgiver Jer?

 
VIII
Jeg kender ædle accenter
Og klare, uundgåelige rytmer;
Men tillige ved jeg
At solsorten er inddraget
I det jeg ved.
 
IX
Da solsorten fløj ud af syne,
Markerede den kanten
Af en ud af mange cirkler.

X
Ved synet af solsorte
Der flyver i et grønt lys
Ville selv velklangens ruffersker
Udstøde et skarpt skrig.

XI
Han kørte over Connecticut
I en glaskaret.
En gang blev han gennemboret af frygt,
fordi han forvekslede
Ekvipagens skygge
Med solsorte.

XII
Åen bevæger sig.
Solsorten må være på vingerne.

XIII
Hele eftermiddagen var det aften.
Det sneede
Og var på nippet til at sne.
Solsorten sad
I cederens grene.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

And now - Yeats' 'Innisfree' in three languages!

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.



Jag skall stå upp och gå nu, skall gå till Innisfree,
En liten stuga bygga, av flätat ris och ler;
Ha nio rader bönor, en kupa med honungsbin,
I surr-fylld glänta bo ensam där.

Och fred där skall jag finna, en fred som sjunker lätt,
Sjunker från morgonens slöjor till syrsans filande brus,
Där skimrar midnatts mörker, middagens violett,
Och kvällen med hämplingvingars sus.

Jag skall stå upp och gå nu, ty alltid dag och natt
Sjöns vatten hör jag klucka när stranden lätt berörs;
Även på bullrig gata, trottoaren grå och matt,
I hjärtats innersta det hörs.



Jeg skal stå op og gå nu, skal gå til Innisfree,
En enkel hytte bygge, af flettet ris og ler;
Ni rækker bønner ha’ mig, en stade til honningbien,
I surr-fyldt lysning bo ensom dér.

Og fred dér skal jeg finde, en fred der daler let,
Daler fra tilsløret morgen til græshoppens skurrende brus,
Fornemme midnatsglimten, middagens violet,
Og torniriskvingens aftensus.

Jeg skal stå op og gå nu, for altid dag og nat
Hører jeg søens klukken, når vandet stranden når;
Endog på byens gade, på fortov gråt og mat,
I hjertets inderste det slår.

Another poem by Katrine Marie Guldager


It is nerve-racking to write poems
for you never know where they will end.
If you will wake up in a strange town
with a glowing cigarette in the corner of your mouth
if you will lose all of those
you have already lost once
one more time:
If the poem will demand that.
Or just spit your bones out on a bare field
in Kolding.