Sunday, 11 April 2021

ZKG 13: 'Sine nomine'


SINE NOMINE

 

And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

 

 

farjeon

sat in his garden

full of latin names

but called them nameless

so he could take them in

 

what is it

he thought

distinguishes

the human species

from all the others?

 

the capacity

to dream up god

who is

unnecessary

among all the nameless

god asked a human to name

 

at which

farjeon gave up his name

and gazed some more

 

Friday, 9 April 2021

Marie Dauguet: 'S'asseoir sur un murger'

 


S’asseoir sur un murger

 

S’asseoir sur un murger, les pieds dans les broussailles

Et les doigts enlacés aux rugueuses pierrailles,

Seule avec les lointains où le soleil se meurt,

Seule avec sa pensée et seule avec son cœur.

 

Respirer le parfum des herbes attiédies,

Ecouter la cigale aux lentes psalmodies

Vibrer parmi les brins séchés des serpolets,

Voir s’embrumer du soir le vitrail violet.

 

Voir s’élever du creux des placides jachères,

En arceaux imprécis, l’encens crépusculaire,

Et l’orchis opalin de la lune, aux prés bleus

Du ciel, éparpiller son pollen nébuleux.

 

Savourer cette odeur de la lande que baigne

Quelque ruisseau muet et filtrant sous les sphaignes,

Savourer cette odeur enivrante qui sort

Mystérieusement de la glèbe qui dort.

 

Goûter le souffle obscur de la forêt prochaine

Dont le frisson murmure au feuillage des chênes,

La fauve et l’âcre odeur qui vient comme un baiser

De faune sur la bouche ardemment se poser.

 

Et n’être que la nuit, le parfum, la bruyère,

Le tourbillon léger des derniers éphémères,

Etre le serpolet bruissant sous ma main,

Fuir hors de ce cachot qu'on nomme un cœur humain,

 

Mais, dans l’humilité douce des moindres choses,

Devenir l’herbe morte où le grillon repose,

Ou bien le roitelet lassé de pépier

Qui perche sommeilleux aux branches des ronciers.

 

 

To sit on a stone wall

 

To sit on a stone wall, one’s feet in scrub beneath

And fingers laced in small rough stones that form a sheath,

Alone with distances where sun’s last rays depart,

Alone with all one’s thoughts and also with one’s heart.

 

To breathe the scent of grasses warmed by daytime heat,

To listen to the cricket’s chant with droning beat

Vibrating in the dried-up sprigs of creeping thyme,

To see dusk’s mauve-stained window misting as with grime.

 

To see from hollows of calm fallow fields the way

Arches of incense vaguely rise at end of day,

And see the milky orchis of the moon now strew

Its cloudy pollen on sky’s meadows’ dimming blue.

 

To savour this sweet smell of heathland some small brook

Bathes silently, trickling through every peat-mossed nook,

To savour this intoxicating smell that seeps

Mysteriously from the darkened glebe that sleeps.

 

To taste the muffled breathing of the nearby woods

Whose shivers murmur to the oak trees’ leafy hoods,

The tawny, acrid smell that comes just like a kiss

Of a faun, passionately planted on one’s lips.

 

To be no more than night, than perfume, or than heath,

The swirling of the mayflies just before their death,

To be wild thyme that rustles should my hand it part,

To flee this dungeon which is called a human heart,

 

But, in the sweet humility of lesser things,

To turn into dead grass where crickets quiet their wings,

Or just become a wren that cheeping greatly tires

And perches half-asleep on slim stems of the briars.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Hagar Peeters: 'Vannacht kwam ik mijn ouders tegen'

 

LAST NIGHT I CAME ACROSS MY PARENTS


Last night I came across my parents,

two pallid figures that inclined towards

each other in the white light of a lantern. 


Judging from their joyous state I was as yet

unborn. They were both young and much in love. 

A great sadness then came over me

because I knew the course that things would take.


She roared with laughter at something he had whispered. 

He laughed out loud as he still often does.

We exchanged a courteous greeting

and afterwards we went our separate ways. 


‘Wait a moment,’ I called after them,

we’ll surely meet again some time.

Arm in arm they silently turned a corner.


Marie Dauguet: 'Les orges' ('Pastorales', 1908)

 


Les orges

 

Les orges sous l’azur blêmi

De l’aurore à peine où frémi;

Tendrement au bord du bois rose,

Somnambulique, un merle cause.

Très loin, vers l’horizon bleuté,

Quelque part un coq a chanté.

 

L’air de velours vibre en sourdine,

Comme une pâle mandoline,

Et, colombe au bord de son nid,

De flocons d’écume garni,

La source aux palpitantes houles,

Imperceptiblement roucoule.

 

Sur les mélisses diaphanes,

Il semble que frissonne et plane,

Semant des plumes dans le vent,

Un essaim pensif d’oiseaux blancs,

Aux sonorités cristallines,

L’air est une harpe câline.

 

Les chaumes s’étirent et songent,

Où des vols d’alouettes plongent,

Où s’étouffent des gazouillis.

A la lisière des taillis,

Comme des lèvres qui sourient,

Des roses vagues sont fleuries.

 

Et mon cœur, sans maître ni glose,

Soupire avec l’odeur des roses

Sauvages aux fossés des bois;

Avec, la clarté qui croît,

Tournoiement de fuseaux d’aïeule,

Le bruisselis doux des éteules.

 

 

The fields of barley

 

The barley under stone-washed skies

Has scarcely quivered at dawn’s rise ;

At rosy wood’s edge, tenderly

A blackbird’s chatting sleepily.

The far horizon’s tinged with blue

Somewhere a cock’s been crowing too.

 

The muted velvet air vibrates,

Like some pale mandolin it quakes,

And at the far edge of its nest,

With flecks of foam discreetly dressed,

A dove, source of this pulsing swell,

Coos imperceptibly as well.

 

O’er limpid lemon balm it seems

As if a flock of white birds streams,

Trembling and hovering at ease,

Sowing small feathers in the breeze –

With crystal sounds that coalesce

The air is like a harp’s caress.

 

The stalks dream as they stretch and bend, 

There the larks’ plunging flight will end,

There all their twittering will die.

At the coppice edge nearby,

Like lips that break into a smile,

Blurred roses bloom now for a while.

 

And my heart, unmastered, unwrought,

Sighs at wild roses’ fragrance, brought

From woodland ditches far and near;

With, as all things become more clear,

Ancestral spindles’ twirling thread,

The rustling barley’s gentle tread.

 

Monday, 5 April 2021

Marie Dauguet: 'Le moulin'

 


In the previous Dauguet poem, she mentions 'Moulin Greget'. In this poem, we have 'Moulin des Oiseaux'. She was born in La Chadeau, in the municipality of d'Aillevillers, south of the first mill. Her parents moved to Le Beuchot, which is just to the south-west of Fontaine-les-Luxeuil. We are on the border between the Vosges and Haute Saône areas of France, west of Colmar.


Le moulin

 

Le vieux moulin velu, baigné de lune rose,

S'endort. Entre ses murs, aucun choc de blutoir

Et l'immobile roue dans sa fosse repose.

 

Les peupliers jaseurs ont cessé de mouvoir,

Comme paralysés par quelle étrange hypnose?

Leur cime qu'une orfraie a choisi pour juchoir.

 

Comme il se tait mon cœur! Un grand silence fuse

Du canal sommeilleux et de sa fixité;

A peine un soupir trouble aux mousses de l'écluse;

Un crapeau languissant éteint son cri flûté.

 

Mais l'orfraie, tout à coup, dans cette nuit d'été,

Et près de l'eau rosie comme une plaie contuse,

Où le reflet du bois noirâtrement infuse,

Jusqu'aux astres répand son sanglot exalté.

 

10 Août 1906

Moulin des oiseaux

 

 

The watermill

 

The ancient blurry mill, bathed in the moon’s pink light,

Now sleeps. Inside its walls, no sifters clatter still

And in its pit its inert wheel rests day and night.

 

The prattling poplar trees no longer toss and lurch –

As if quite paralysed by some hypnotic will?

Their crowns a white-tailed eagle has as chosen perch.

 

How quiet my heart has grown! Vast silence seems to block

The somnolent canal where echoes choke and die;

There’s scarce a sigh disturbs the mosses of the lock;

A languid toad brings to an end its flute-like cry.

 

Suddenly, though, the eagle in this summer night –

Down by rose-tinted water like some violet bruise

Which the reflected woods now blackishly infuse –

Up to the stars lets out its sob of sheer delight.

 

10 August 1906

Moulin des oiseaux

 




Sunday, 4 April 2021

Hagar Peeters: 'Kanttekeningen van de muze'

 

THE MUSE’S MARGINAL NOTES 


IV


Don’t lay your hand on my hand when I’m holding a pen. 

Even when I’m not holding a pen I’m gripping one.

It’s the air between my fingers I caress.

Sometimes I stroke the world with it.


Your tormented heart’s too bloody for me.

It pounds too hard, a headache’s what I get.

I want it stripped of all that’s tangible.


Your written voice is more melodious

than all the words you say to me each day.

All pales though if compared to black on white.


Your mouth is just unable to compete

with the description of how your lips meet.

Your mind’s too full for me, your thoughts don’t 

fit in next to mine.

They can only amaze on paper.


An actor can really weep while feeling nothing

yet all my tears congeal

before they fall to form small paper boats

because a ship capsized inside me.


Every word’s a sailor on a paper boat

each letter is a sweetheart peering at the mast,

the meaning an aster, an anchor

but please use real arms when you hold me tight.

Marie Dauguet: 'Minuit'

 



Minuit

 

Plus de soleil vautré sur l’éteule haletante,

Amant inexorable à l’emprise tenace,

Dont la fougue la blesse et comble son attente;

Débordant l’horizon, l’ombre molle s’entasse.

 

Tout s’endeuille; il n’est plus de clartés palpitantes:

Roses en tourbillons s’effeuillant dans l’espace;

Plus de ces lourds baisers dont la troublante audace

Extasiait la chair, que nul désir ne tente.

 

Mais seuls, parmi la nuit où des astres s’éteignent,

Où, confus, meurt l’écho des souvenirs qui saignent,

Des lis anémiés et chastes s’allongeant,

 

Comme parfois au fond des obscurs sanctuaires,

Tout embaumés d’encens, de mornes lampadaires,

Laissent rigidement tomber des pleurs d’argent.

 

 

Midnight

 

No more sun sprawled on breathless stubble at last gasp,

Inexorable lover with tenacious hold,

Whose ardour sorely wounds and thus completes its clasp;

Overspilling the skyline, soft shadows unfold.

 

All starts to mourn; pulsating clarities now end:

Wide-whirling roses, shedding their petals in space;

No more heavy kissing whose wild, unsettling pace

Brought flesh to ecstasy which no desire could tempt.

 

Alone, though, in the night where stars fade and recede –

Where die, confused, echoes of memories that bleed –

Are chaste, anaemic lilies spreading out in tiers,

 

As sometimes deep in sanctuaries hid from sight

Embalmed in incense, dreary long-stemmed lamps their light

Stiffly allow to fall in shafts of silver tears.

 

 

Friday, 2 April 2021

Knud Sørensen: 'Drømmen'

 



THE DREAM

 

I want things to be simple

and easy to understand:

One starts by tilling the soil and afterwards one

sows. Then the sun shines and it rains and the sun shines again

and one day the green shoots have appeared. Then one sees that

the shoots grow into plants and the plants grow and

flower and seed and the sun shines and the seeds mature

and it is time to harvest.

Then one harvests. Then one threshes and hides some of the

seeds so that one can sow then the following spring and one hides

some of the seeds to use then during the winter and the rest of

the seeds one sells.

During the winter one takes care of one’s animals.

That is how one lives until one dies. Everything else is merely

ripples on the surface. Dairy cooperatives factories revolutions

rates of return on investments beef cattle versus dairy cattle

all this is unreal. What is real is earth sun rain and the air

which is warmer in summer than in winter.

It’s that simple.

 

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Knud Sørensen: 'Om historien'

 



CONCERNING HISTORY

 

the salt meadow at aggersborggaard

 

 

Stop somewhere in

history. See

the salt meadow, always

the same salt meadow, here

the grass survives, here

the blades are led back

through rumbling digestive tracts

and again become

blades. Stop

somewhere in history, see

burning buildings,

burning human beings,

see

the fields rise up

burning

also see

the salt meadow

always the same

salt meadow. Stop

somewhere in history,

see

a geometrical fortified stronghold,

and geometrical wills,

see

the fall of geometry into

new chaotic ages, see

also the salt meadow,

always the same

salt meadow. Stop

somewhere in history,

see

villeins, copyholders,

see freeholders

burst out of the herd

on its way

towards individual

loneliness

see also the salt meadow,

always the same

salt meadow. Stop

somewhere in history,

see

a fragile image,

carefully preserved,

soundlessly inhabited, a national refuge

for game, a refuge

for impossible dreams, see also

the salt meadow, always the same

salt meadow, see

the smell of sedges

lady’s smock, gentian,

see

the call of curlews from a thin

blue sky,

stop

and grasp the sound

with both hands.

 

Monday, 29 March 2021

Dan Andersson: 'Kolvaktaren'



Kolvaktaren

 

Tåligt, manligt vakande,

kärlig sömn försakande

vakt vid kolen satt.

Spröda, hårda händerna

röra lamt i bränderna,

som gnistrande och glödande,

av röda flammor flödande,

ge ljus åt snårens natt.

 

Röken kväljer kvävande,

nät av ångor vävande,

het och stark och frän.

Kolen kallna klingande,

knäppande och ringande,

i höga svarta hoparna

vid askbeströdda groparna

emellan frusna trän.

 

Långa äro stunderna

långt i ödelunderna,

mil från folk och hus.

Rävarna gå jagande,

skallen gnälla klagande

som hungergråt från skogarna

och hagarna och slogarna

och frusna hedars grus.

 

Glatt från gula lågorna

flyta värmevågorna

mot mitt breda bröst.

Flammorna gå lekande

skänka kärligt smekande

värme åt en frysande

och med glädje lysande

sken till ögontröst.

 

Snart är morgon gryende,

då gå jättar flyende

ned till Hanga hed.

Där är lugnt bland enarna,

där är bon i stenarna

där bli trollen räddade,

i djupa gömslen bäddade,

vid aldrig vandrad led.

 

 

The charcoal-burner

 

Patient figure waking, the

longed-for sleep forsaking, the

charcoal burner sat.

Hands now gnarled and furrowing

in his fires are burrowing

which glittering and glimmering

with red flames gently shimmering

give light where scrub is mat.

 

Choking smoke asphyxiates, 

net of vapours enervates,

burns and makes one wheeze.

Charcoal cools down clinklingly

Ringingly and chinkingly,

to mighty stacks that skywards rise

by pits where ashes pulverise

among the frozen trees.

 

Hours are slow, disconsolate,

in far groves so desolate,

miles from neighbours’ doors.

Foxes hunt rapaciously

skulls complain insatiably

like hunger’s tears from forestland

and bog-hayfields and pastureland

and gravel from icy moors.

 

Waves of warmth flow smooth and free,

leave the bright blaze, soothingly

calm my aching breast.

See the flames leap playfully

offer gently, gracefully

warmth to one who’s freezing there

and a gleam so pleasing where

eyes have been hard-pressed.

 

Soon will come the break of day

when the giants all fly away

down to Hanga moor.

Junipers stand calm and straight,

nests among the stones await,

where the trolls are saved from dread,

in deep hiding put to bed

near paths ne’er roamed before.