Sunday, 26 April 2015

A sonnet by Kingo

Sonnet
or
sigh in sound-rhyme

How often I do sigh since fortune’s heavy weight,
Apportioned unto each by God Almighty’s hand,
Burdens unequally the fates all must withstand,
At random strikes down all, and each man separate,
No matter whether they a crown should chance to wear,
Or amongst those deemed beggars their whole life must share!
Yet each must needs accept the portion fate’s assigned,
Enhance his scrap of fortune with what he can find!
Wherefore shall I, O God! with my lot not comply?
Although to pierce my foot I know no thorn can try
Without your hand at work! And brief too is time’s stay,
That bears all on its back and blows it all away.
So do I blow, wait patiently, and blow once more
At all things time e’en so will blow off as before!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Kingo was half Scottish - here's what he wrote on his father's gravestone

HANS KINGO,
Barnfød i Schotland i Kril, efter et ærligt Levnet her paa
Jorden i 85 Aar og sit Ægteskab med sin Hustrue
KAREN SØRENS-DAATTER,
47 Aar, salig hensoved 1671 og med 3 sine Børn her begravet.

her huiler jeg i livsens haab
og paa dend over-engels raab
blant orme-sælskab lenter
min himmel-givne siæl i fred
foor op at see guds herlighed
og kroppens samling venter
med æren tiente jeg mit brød
dend kruned baade liv og død
og vaar mit dyre smykke
jeg aatte ikke verdens guld
nv eyer jeg saa megen muld
som denne steen kand trykke
min rigdom vaar et ærligt naun
et ævigt liv i himmel-staun
det har jeg alt i eye
søg læser at du det kand naa
og tænk at døden dig og saa
vil engang slæt udfeye.


Mine Dage ere lættere henfløyne end en Væve-Skytte.
Job. 7. v. 6.


HANS KINGO,
Born in Scotland in Crail, after an honest life here on the
earth for  85 years and his marriage with his wife
KAREN SØRENS-DAATTER,
47 years, blessedly departed in 1671 and buried here
with three of his children.

in hope of life i here now rest
and bide the archangel’s last behest
while worms my flesh still harry
at peace my heaven-given soul
rose to god’s glory once more whole,
for flesh reborn must tarry
with honour did i earn my bread
it crowned me both alive and dead
and was my jewel most treasured
i nothing knew of worldly gold
now all the earth i own all told
this gravestone’s weight has measured
my wealth was in an honest name
a life in heaven’s home the aim
to which i am aspiring
seek reader this to gain alway
recall: to wipe you out one day
death’s constantly conspiring.


My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle.
Job Ch. VII, v. 6.




Tuesday, 21 April 2015

A third heartfelt sigh from Kingo


O sweet Jesus, soul’s physician
See and weigh the dire condition
Of my soul’s wounds so profound!
Of my sorely troubled mind!
Of the floods that my eyes blind
Rising from my heart’s own ground!
But if all my wounds and sighs
Fail your heart to open prise,
Then, O heart of Jesus, view
Your own wounds and deep-gashed side,
And death’s savage streams so wide,
Where such pain and woe you knew!
Solace then you’ll bring my soul,
Speak these words that me console:
I’ll restore what sin’s debased!
No more shall you feel pain’s dart
In your sorely wounded heart
Once I wound on wound have placed!

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.