Outlandish (Vol. 2)

Page 1

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



by Alicia Mitchell


Editorial When JoLT began to take shape two years ago it was not immediately obvious that it

would have received as much support as it did, or that that support would increase day

by day. I am very grateful to the members of the Executive board who have served for two years alongside me, and those who stepped in at various stages to help keep the

publication running. A lot of us are moving on from Trinity at the end of this year, and I would like to wish everyone the best of luck in the future, hoping you will look back to these days with a smile—remembering that the long editing sessions, constantly jammed

email inboxes, and impossibly long to-do lists would not have been overcome without you, and the publication would not have survived its early days.

As well as the board members, the language editors have played their ever-important

role, often while juggling submissions of their own and academic assignments (alongside

all sorts of other responsibilities). Also, I would like to thank the sponsors of the publication for their continued faith, and renewed pledges; without the School of English, the School

of Languages, Trinity Publications and the Alumni Association you would not be reading the second volume of JoLT.

This year, the committee approached the selection of a theme very carefully—hoping

to identify a one-word aesthetic statement that would communicate a number of important concepts in translation, while also allowing for free interpretation. ‘Outlandish’ was chosen from a number of other potential candidates, and we believe it best expresses a number

of key concerns for translators: the otherness of the translator who straddles two (or sometimes more) semantic spaces, the topographical linguistic difficulties represented by dialect translation (something we have given special emphasis to this year), and the

otherness of. This year marks a number of firsts for the publication, chief of which is

the presentation of a variety of feature contributors—whom we thank for their generous contribution—Ciaran Carson, James Reidel, Finn O’Connor and Nicholas Johnson. This volume also marks the first inclusion of a translation from English into Irish. While the latter

may seem contradict one of the basic principles of the publication, the board wishes to recognize that Irish is more than nominally an official language of the college. The board

agreed to engage in this niche earlier this year, and we are now happy to announce that the presence of translations into Irish should constitutionally feature in all future JoLTs.

The constitution which has been drawn up will soon be available online, and it is

officially presented—concomitant with the launch of this volume—in order for the board to receive comments before ratifying it in the coming months. We hope our readers will take the time to read it and let us know their thoughts.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



I must add a crucial thank you for all the translators that have submitted work to this

year’s edition. We received work from across the English-speaking world; students from

as far apart as Los Angeles and London have contributed towards the 18 languages in this volume (we have succeeded in beating last year’s 16!).

The inclusion of JoLT’s first translations from Hittite, Afrikaans and Bulgarian (as well

as many more languages) represents only one of the milestones reached this year. The EBSCOHost indexing, alongside cataloguing requests from a number of libraries across

Ireland, mark important steps in the growth of the journal, and which we are very proud and happy to announce.

As with last year, a lot of good work had to be turned down for reasons of space, but

we hope everyone will maintain their relationship with JoLT and submit next year, as well as in the future.

Finally, I’d like to announce that, after a long selection process, the Chief Editor of

JoLT Volume III (2014-15) will be Áine Josephine Tyrrell, who is currently completing her third year of studies in TSM English & Drama. Claudio Sansone Chief Editor

The JoLT Staff

Executive Board

Language Editors

{ {

Claudio Sansone

Chief Editor

Thady Senior

Webmaster, Design & Layout Editor

Kerstina Mortensen Lola Boorman

Caroline Boreham Jessica Bernard Dr. Peter Arnds

Hadewych van Heugten Mark Kenny

Patricia Gonzalez Aneta Woźniak Ursula Scott

Jonathan Baum

Chief Language Editor

Public Relations Officer

Communications Officer Treasurer

Faculty Advisor


Copyright Every effort was made by translators and editors to secure copyright wherever it was

necessary. If you feel your work has been published here without consent or in a form that

is inappropriate, please contact us immediately and we will ratify it and/or make amends

in the errata to our online edition as soon as possible. We regret that in certain places translations had to be published without the original text and sources to reflect the wishes of certain estates and the inability of reaching the appropriate bodies.

Contents Illustration: JoLT by Alicia Mitchell

1 A True Portrait of the Author trans. John Kearns



2 Lemko Elegy trans. John Kearns


7 Online: In the Lemko Graveyard 9 trans. John Kearns


Featured Translator: Ciaran Carson The Given Name Urban Warfare Deor trans. Gerard Hynes Beowulf trans. Helen Conrad-O’Briain The Myth of Illuyanka trans. Naomi Harris Compert Con Culainn trans. Julie Leblanc From The Catalogue of Women trans. Claudio Sansone Prayer for Charasos trans. Claudio Sansone Featured Translator: James Reidel Online: The Saint Winter Path in A Minor Online: De profundis Online: Psalm Online: Elis Sebastian Dreaming

11 Online: Jack Kerouac trans. Maarten Walraven & François-Carl Svenbro 15 Online: To Rika trans. Sherence De Jongh 17 The Poetess trans. Sherence De Jongh 19 Online: Wouldn’t You Believe It? trans. Andrés Alfaro 21 Psalm 136. Super flumina Babylonis trans. Bernard Mackey 23 Online: The Concoction of Friends trans. Keith Payne 27 29 31 33 37 41


57 59 61 73 75

Pagan Rome or the Poster at the Entrance to the Cinema II 79 trans. Keith Payne Online: The Woman Who Weaves II trans. Keith Payne


Online: Time Added trans. Keith Payne


Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



Gaetano Cellini, “L’umanità contro il male” (1908)

Online: The Widows trans. Keith Payne

85 Online: An Old Man trans. Caroline Boreham


Online: The Silkworms trans. Ursula Meany Scott

87 At the Grand Theatre in Paris trans. Aaron Carr


Time of Sucession trans. Venina Kalistratova


Online: Aviva-No trans. Yael Segalovitz


Invictus trans. Colm Mac Gearailt


Featured Translator: Finn O’Connor Michelangelo 21 Michelangelo 94 Michelangelo 95 Online: Michelangelo 101 Online: Michelangelo 103 Online: Michelangelo 151 Online: Michelangelo 161 Online: Michelangelo 247 Online: A House Made of Stone trans. Emily Drumsta

103 105 107 109 111 113 115 117

Featured Translator: Nicholas Johnson On Translating Ernst Toller’s Die Maschinenstürmer 162 119 Prologue 169

A Yiddish / Hiberno-English Dictionary 178 Online: Onward, onward, noble steed 129 by Sam Slote trans. Emily Drumsta Online: Dialect to dialect translation: Online: The Sea 135 Belli, Burgess, Garioch 180 trans. Caroline Boreham by Jim Clarke

House with a Garden trans. Caroline Boreham




French • Featured Translator: Carson

Featured Translator: Ciaran Carson These poems are part of a projected book, working title From Elsewhere. Those with French/English titles are my translations of poems by Jean Follain (1903-1971); those with English titles are my response to the translations, whether spins on them, or takes on them. In other words, they form a dialogue of sorts.

Paroles: The Given Words There was talk of alleged love affairs around the antique table well versed with worm

the iron warming on the stove a pot of lentils stewing darkly through the open doorway

the beauty of the tart foliage

and some birds with red throats in the face of human words

ruled by a time-tested syntax took one’s breath away.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

The Given Name In a junk shop

from a bookcase

riddled with woodworm he takes a book

blows the dust from it opens it

at a coloured plate to behold

the emerald bird

that dazzled for a moment

on the threshold of the world outside his door

threescore years ago

whose name he did not know until now.





French • Featured Translator: Carson

L’affiche: The Poster The boy bouncing a barrel hoop along for want of a toy one

runs whooping to himself

but to him who comes to spell out

under the N and the imperial eagle

the words of the conscription poster the old man in the uneasy sunshine drinking a glass of rough cider has just this to say:

“the next century will be worse” in spite of which

the lovers passing him by go on singing.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Urban Warfare A soldier from a foot patrol

hunkers in a doorway gun scanning

the length of the street whatever might happen next unblinkingly

a woman passes

wheeling a pram,

the soldier remembers

a child opening his eyes

to a blue sky a white cloud the sound of a bird

singing from a rooftop.





Old English


Welund him be wurman

hæfde him to gesiþþe


anhydig eorl

wean oft onfond,

swoncre seonobende

on syllan monn.

siþþan hine Niðhad on Þæs ofereode,


þæt heo gearolice

on sefan swa sar

þriste geþencan, Þæs ofereode,

þæt hi seo sorglufu

wurdon grundlease Þæs ofereode,

Đeodric ahte


Þæs ofereode,

Mæringa burg;

æfre ne meahte

hu ymb þæt sceolde.

ongieten hæfde

þisses swa mæg!

We þæt Mæðhilde

hyre broþra deaþ

swa hyre sylfre þing,

þæt heo eacen wæs;


nede legde,

þisses swa mæg!

Beadohilde ne wæs

sorge ond longaþ,

wintercealde wræce;

wræces cunnade,

earfoþa dreag,

monge gefrugnon Geates frige,

slæp ealle binom.

þisses swa mæg!

þritig wintra

þæt wæs monegum cuþ. þisses swa mæg!

George Philip Krapp and Eliot Van Kirk Dobbie (eds). The Exeter Book, The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records Vol. 3 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1936), pp 178–79. Deor is both allusive and elusive. Its subject matter presupposes knowledge of Germanic legend and its grammar is in places decidedly ambiguous. Elements of it, from the first line to the final ‘refrain’ have been argued over at length. See Anne L. Kinck, The Old English Elegies: A Critical Edition and Genre Study (Montreal and Quebec: McGill-Queen’s University Press, pp 158–68.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation




trans. Gerard Hynes

Weland knew torment by the serpent,

he had sorrow and longing for his company,


the steadfast man suffered hardship; winter-cold misery, often found woe

since Niðhad had laid fetters on him

supple sinew-bonds on the better man. That passed away, so may this.

For Beadohild her brothers’ deaths


she understood all too well

hurt her less than her own heartbreak; that she grew great with child. She could not think with boldness what must be done with that. That passed away, so may this.

Many of us have heard of Mæðhild,

the sorrowful love that reft her of sleep.


how Geat’s love became bottomless, That passed away, so may this.

Þeodric held for thirty winters


That passed away, so may this.

the Mærings’ fort known to many.



Old English

We geascodan

Gotena rices.


wylfenne geþoht; Sæt secg monig


ahte wide folc

Þæt wæs grim cyning. sorgum gebunden,

wean on wenan,

wyscte geneahhe

þæt þæs cynerices Þæs ofereode,

ofercumen wære.

þisses swa mæg!

Siteð sorgcearig,

sælum bidæled,


þæt sy endeleas

earfoða dæl.

on sefan sweorceð,

Mæg þonne geþencan, witig dryhten

eorle monegum

are gesceawað,

wislicne blæd,

sumum weana dæl.

Þæt ic bi me sylfum

dryhtne dyre.


þæt geond þas woruld

wendeþ geneahhe,


sylfum þinceð

secgan wille,

þæt ic hwile wæs

Heodeninga scop,

Ahte ic fela wintra

folgað tilne,

Me wæs Deor noma.

holdne hlaford,

leoðcræftig monn

þæt me eorla hleo Þæs ofereode,

oþþæt Heorrenda nu, londryht geþah, ær gesealde.

þisses swa mæg!

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

We have learned of the wolfish thoughts

the Gothic kingdom. That was a grim king.


of Eormanric who widely ruled the peoples of Many a man sat bound by sorrows

in expectation of misfortune, wished without end that this kingdom’s rule would be overcome. That passed away, so may this.

A man sits mournful, robbed of pleasures,


that his share of troubles is without end.

grows dark in spirit; it seems to him

Then he can consider that throughout the world the wise Lord brings many changes, shows favour to many a man,

certain glory, to some others a share of woe.


I want to say this about myself

dear to their lord, Deor was my name.


that for a time I was the Heodenings’ scop, I had good standing for many winters, a loyal lord, but Heorrenda now,

a man skilled in song, received the estates that men’s guardian once gave to me. That passed away, so may this.





Old English


F. Klaeber (ed.) Beowulf (Toronto: Toronto UP, 2008): ll. 2444-2462a.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation




trans. Helen Conrad-O’Briain

So it is a grief for an old man To live to see his boy Ride on the gallows. Then he laments, singing his grief When his son hangs for the ravens’ satisfaction –And he cannot give him any help, so old and useless wise. Always he remembers Each morning as it comes His boy’s way out of the world. He does not care to see some other heir to keep the name and lands When that one through death’s necessity left behind all that could have been. Broken with sorrow he looks at his son’s home, the desolate hall, the wind-swept bed, long beyond tears, The rider sleeps, the warrior in the grave; there is no harping No joy about the place as there once was. He goes to his bed and sings his loss of son One after another, fields and home-place all seem too large.




The Myth of Illuyanka

CTH 321; KBo III 7 and KBo XVII 5, Illuyanka Part 1: (paragraphs 1-12) Beckman, Gary “The Anatolian Myth of Illuyanka.” Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society 14 (1982): 11-25

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

The Myth of Illuyanka



trans. Naomi Harris

Thus speaks Killa, priest of the Storm-God of Nerik, the words of the purulliyaš festival […] of the Storm-God of Heaven; when they speak thus:

“Let the land grow and thrive, and let it be protected. And when it grows and thrives, they will celebrate the purulliyaš festival.”

When the Storm-God and the serpent Illuyanka scuffled in the city of Kiškilušša, Illuyanka defeated the Storm-God.

Then, the Storm-God beckoned to all of the gods: “Support me. Inara has made a feast.”

She arranged much of everything: vessels of wine, vessels of beer, vessels of walḫi. She made abundance inside the vessels.

Inara went to the city of Ziggaratta and found Ḫupašiya, a mortal. Thus Inara said to Ḫupašiya: “I will do this and that, and you must help me.” Ḫupašiya responded to Inara, saying: “If you will let me sleep with you, I will come with you and do the desires of your heart.” And he slept with her.

Inara led Hupasiya away and she hid him. She dressed herself and ornamented herself, and she called the serpent Illuyanka up from his lair: “Behold! I am making a feast. Come to eat and drink!”

Illuyanka, together with his sons, came up, and they ate and drank. They drank up all of the vessels and they became drunk.

Then, theyy were so drunk that they were unable to go back down into their hole. Ḫupašiya came and constrained Illuyanka with rope.

Then, the Storm-God came, and he killed Illuyanka. Whereupon, the gods sided with him.



Old Irish

Compert Con Culainn Boi Conchubur et maithi Uloth i n-Emuin. No:tathigtis énlaith mag ar Emuin. Na:geilltis conna:fácbatis cid mecnu na fér ná lossa hi talam. Ba tochomracht la Ultu a n-aicsiu oc colluth a n-írenn. In:laat .ix. cairptiu dia tophfunn laa n-and; ar bá bés léu sum forim én. Conchobur dano hi-ssuidiu inna charput 7 a ingen Deichtine ossí macdacht, is si ba harae dia hathair. Eirrid Uloth olchenae inna carptib .i. Conall et Loeguire 7 rl. Bricriu dano leu. Fos:rumat ind éuin remib dia ndaim tar Slíab Fuait, dar Edmuind, dar Brega. Ní:bíth clad na airbe na caisel im thír i n-Ére ind aimsir sin acht magi rédi. Ba hálaind et ba cáin int énlorcc 7 int énamar boí leu. Noí fichit én, rond argit eter cach da én. Cach fiche inna lurcc fo leith, noí luircc dóib. Samlaith da én bátar remib cuing arcit etarru. To:scartha tri éuin dib co haidchi. Lotar remib hi cenn in brogo. Is and ba hadaig for feraib Uloth. Feraid snechtae mar foroib dano. As:bert Concubur fria muintir, ara:scortis a cairptiu 7 ara:cortiss cor do chuindchid tige dóib. Luid Conall 7 Bricriu do chur cuárta, fo:fúaratar óentech núe. Lotar ind. Fo:rráncatar lánamain and. Boithus failte. Lotar ass co a muintir. As:bert Bricriu níbu fíu techt don taig cen bratt cen biad. Ba cumung dano cid ar indas. Lotar dó quammaib. Tu:bertatar a cairptiu leu. Ní:gabsat na-mmár isin tig. Con:accatar talmidu dorus cuile friu, in tan ba mithig tabert biid doib. Batar failti meiscc iarom fir Uloth 7 ba maith a tunithe. As:bert in fer fri Ultu iarom, boí a ben fri idna inna cuili. Luid Deichtine a dochum, atdises, birt macc. Laír dano bói i ndorus in tige, trogais da lurchuire. Gabsit Ulaith iarom in mac, 7 do:bert som na lurchiriu do macslabrai don macc. Alt Deichtine in mac.

Contractions have been expanded where possible. Thurneysen, Rudolf. Zu irischen Handschriften und Litteraturdenkmälern. Weidmannsche buchhandlung. Berlin, 1912-13. pp 34-36

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Compert Con Culainn



trans. Julie Leblanc

Conchobor and the great men of Ulster were at Emain Macha. A flock of birds used to visit the plain before Emain: they would graze upon it, and would leave neither roots nor grasses nor plants left in the earth. It was a vexation to the Ulstermen, to see the birds destroying their land. Thus they prepared nine chariots for hunting that day, as the hunting of birds was custom with them. Conchobor sat in his chariot with his daughter Deichtine who, of marriageable age, was her father’s charioteer. The remaining warriors of Ulster, too, took to their chariots: Conall and Lóegaire and everyone else. Bricriu, too, was with them. Of their own will, the birds moved ahead of the party, beyond Slíab Fúait, across Edmann, across Brega. There usen’t to be ditches, nor fences, nor stone walls about the land of Ireland in that time, but only level plains. Beautiful and fair the birdflight and the birdsong were to the men of Ulster. Nine times twenty birds there were, a silver chain between each pair. Each twenty flew in their own flight, nine flights to them. In that way, two birds flew ahead, a silver yoke between them. Toward night, three birds separated from the flock. They went ahead to the highpoint of the land. Night fell on the men of Ulster, and a heavy snow, besides. Conchobor told his people to unyoke their chariots and make an effort to find shelter. Conall and Bricriu went round and found a single new house. They entered, came upon a married couple within and were made welcome. They went out again to their people. Bricriu said it was not worth going to such a house without clothing and food, and their own would not go far, at any rate. The men went anyway and brought their chariots with them, but did not take up much room inside. When it was time to give them food, they suddenly noticed the storeroom door before them. The men of Ulster were joyous and drunk, then, and good was their position. Afterward, the man of the house told the Ulstermen that his wife was in her birthpangs in the storeroom. Deichtine went to her and and she bore a son. Furthermore, a mare in front of the house gave birth to 2 foals. The Ulstermen took the boy, and the man of the house gave the foals as a fosterage gift to him, and Deichtine nursed him.



Ancient Greek

Ehoeae: Iphimede


Solmsen, Friedrich. “The Sacrifice of Agamemnon’s Daughter in Hesiods Ehoeae” in The American Journal of Philology 102.4 (1981): 353-358

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

From The Catalogue of Women


trans. Claudio Sansone

...handsome Agamemnon, lord of men, married

the dark-skinned Clytamnestra, daughter of Tyndareus.

She engendered, in that Great Hall1, the beautiful-ankled Iphimede

and Electra both, whose formed2 beauty competed with that of the immortals. The well-greaved Achaeans slaughtered Iphimede at the altar of swift Artemis of the golden arrows,

so that on that day, paying the beautiful-ankled Argive —illusory phantom—3

as blood-money, the ships might might sail down to Ilium; but the deer-hunting archer4 easily kept her5 safe,

and let fall lovely ambrosia taken from deep in the earth, and placed her where her skin may set firmly, immortal and incorruptible forever.6

And now the the tribe of men in that land

call her the priestess of Artemis, renowned servant of the shooter of arrows.

1 2


The House of Atreus. I have added ‘formed’ because I felt ‘beauty’ was reductive of eidos, which in its most literal sense means ‘form, shape’. It has been translated (in this same semantic setting) as ‘countenance’ and ‘appearance’, seemingly with a similar intent to underscore the particularly human component of beauty. I have also wanted to emphasise it in order to juxtapose Electra’s eidos with Iphimede’s eidōlon. 3 As Solmsen notes, the term eidōlon (which belongs at the head of the next line, fits very clunkily into the text, gramatically speaking. This likely to be both for emphasis, and to connect the sentences through the word in a rhetorical turn that will not translate nicely, so instead I have emphasised it in a different way, much to the same effect, as an injunction. 4 Artemis. 5 The ‘real’ Iphimede, rather than her phantom left to be sacrificed. 6 Solmsen suggests that this passage promotes an “illustrious destiny which is not the same as in the Cypria” (353). However, having reviewed Proclus’ summary of the lost epic, I find the destiny is exactly the same, and have no reason not to suggest the location she is transported to is indeed Tauris. As Solmsen later notes, however, Pausanias attests that in the Ehoeae Iphemede is said to have been transformed into Hecate by Artemis—this evidence could change the way we read the passage, as the implications would then abound—I would venture to suggest the entrance to the underworld, given Hecate’s Cthonic affiliation, and the view of her presiding over liminal spaces.



Ancient Greek

“Prayer for Charasos”


αλλ’ ἄϊ θρύληϲθα Χάραξον ἔλθην

νᾶϊ ϲὺμ πλέαι· τὰ μέν̣ , οἴο̣ μα̣ ι, Ζεῦϲ

οἶδε ϲύμπαντέϲ τε θέοι· ϲὲ δ’̣ οὐ χρῆ ταῦτα νόειϲθαι,

λλὰ καὶ πέμπην ἔμε καὶ κέλ⟦η⟧`ε΄ϲθαι πόλλα λί̣ϲϲεϲθαι̣ βαϲί̣λ̣η̣αν Ἤ̣ραν ἐξίκεϲθαι τυίδε ϲάαν ἄγοντα νᾶα Χάραξον,

κἄμμ’ ἐπεύρην  ρτ̣ έ̣μεαϲ· τὰ δ’ ἄλλα πάντα δαιμόνεϲϲ̣ ιν ἐπι̣τ̣ρόπωμεν· εὐδίαι̣ γ̣ὰρ̣ ἐκ μεγάλαν  ήτα̣ ν̣ αἶψα πέ̣λ̣ο̣νται·

τῶν κε βόλληται βαϲίλευϲ Ὀλύμπω

δαίμον’ ἐκ πόνων ἐπάρ{η}`ω΄γον ἤδη περτρόπην, κῆνοι μ̣άκαρεϲ πέλονται

καὶ πολύολβοι.

From Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik (ZPE) 189 (2014) Preliminary Version Soon readers will be flooded with exacting critical analyses of this recently discovered fragment—analyses which will be composed by expert classicists with whom I cannot hope to compete. I present here a stylised translation of the recently discovered fragment by Sappho, instead to render something of the emotion and power of her poetry. Sappho’s poetry bursts off the page with energy, and I have tried to re-create that urgency, and the subtle agonising I perceive in the original, by preparing this as if it were piece for performance. This is not an entirely original idea, also because Sappho herself often addressed her poems in a very direct fashion to a listener/audience, but it is just one more way in which translation may help render a true sense of the original. I have refrained from annotating it to shreds, again because many others more qualified will be doing that soon, but I must note that I purposefully read daimon as ‘luck, fortune’, feeling it would communicate better to a modern reader in this way.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Prayer for Charasos with a full ship’, I think that it is for Zeus

(and the other Gods) to know. Whereas you, are not obliged to worry.

But instead, move me—compel me to prayers...

and that I should make many, too, to sovereign Hera: that Charasos make his way here to this land, piloting his ship.

As for our part, that he may find us safe and sound. For clear skies from black storms come about suddenly.

To those upon whom the King of Olympus wishes luck, that he lifts out of misery and is quick to protect, these become blessed and plurally rich.


trans. Claudio Sansone

Though you keep repeating ‘Charasos has arrived

Otherwise let all rest in the hands of fortune.




Ancient Greek κ̣ ἄμμεϲ, αἴ κε τὰν κεφάλα̣ ν  έργ̣η

Λάρι̣χοϲ καὶ δήποτ’ ἄνη̣ρ γένηται,

καὶ μάλ’ ἐκ πόλλ⟦η⟧`αν΄ βαρ̣υθύ̣μιάν̣ κεν

αἶψα λύθειμεν.

πώ {ϲ̣ } κε δή τιϲ οὐ θαμέω̣ϲ̣ ἄϲαιτ̣ ο, Κύπρι δέϲ̣ π̣ο̣ ι̣ν̣’̣, ὄτ̣ τ̣ ι̣ν̣[α δ]ὴ̣ φι̣λ̣[είη

καὶ] θέλοι μάλιϲτα π̣ ά̣λ̣ι̣ν̣ κάλ̣ [εϲϲαι; πόθ]ον ἔχηϲθα

παρ]κ̣ άλοιϲα̣ μ’  λεμά̣τ̣ω̣ϲ̣ δ̣ αΐ̣ϲ̣δ̣[ην ἰμέ]ρω λύ{ι̣}ϲαντι γ̣όν̣ ω̣ μ̣ ⏑̣ ε ̣‒̣ [ ×

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation As for us, if Larichos would only hold up his head and become a true man...

then indeed, from innumerable sadnesses, we would suddenly be released.

How am I, then, to sleep through the night uninterruptedly, mistress Venus, for I love him

and wish—at all costs—to call him back? I yearn he may return...

Having laid myself down in vain some time I long for the release of that youth...





German • Featured Translator: Reidel

Featured Translator: James Reidel Despite his short life, addiction to drugs and incest, and enervating depressions, the Austrian Expressionist poet Georg Trakl (b. 1887) produced poems that are as important, beautiful, and fascinating for their range of meanings as any produced by other early moderns during the early twentieth century. The new English renderings published here mark the hundredth anniversary of Trakl’s death in November 1914, when he died of an overdose in a Cracow military hospital. James Reidel recently published a new book of poems, Jim’s Book (Black Lawrence Press, 2014). In addition to Georg Trakl, he has also translated and published works by Robert Walser, Franz Werfel, and Thomas Bernhard.

Online: Der Heilige Wenn in der Hölle selbstgeschaffener Leiden Grausam-unzüchtige Bilder ihn bedrängen— Kein Herz ward je von lasser Geilheit so

Berückt wie seins, und so von Gott gequält

Kein Herz—Hebt er die abgezehrten Hände, Die unerlösten, betend auf zum Himmel. Doch formt nur qualvoll-ungestillte Lust

Sein brünstig-fieberndes Gebet, des Glut

Hinströmt durch mystische Unendlichkeiten. Und nicht so trunken tönt das Evoe Des Dionys, als wenn in tödlicher,

Wutgeifernder Ekstase Erfüllung sich

Erzwingt sein Qualschrei: Exaudi me, o Maria!

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: The Saint When in that hell of self-created afflictions, Ghastly obscene images oppressed him—

No heart was ever so beguiled by the thrall

Of lasciviousness as his, and no heart so racked By God—he lifts his withered hands,

Those undelivered, praying up to heaven. Only a painfully unslaked lust forms

His rutting, fevered prayer, whose fire Sweeps through mystic eternities, And that evoë1 of Dionysus

Does not sound as drunk as when in deadly, Rage-sputtering ecstasy his tortured cry Wrings fulfillment: Exaudi me, o Maria! 1

Note: evoë, the traditional Greek–Latin exclamation to honor the wine god Dionysus; line 13, Exaudi me (hear me), is found in such Latin prayers to the Virgin Mary as “Obsecro te” (I beseech thee) and “Memorare, O piissima Virgo Maria” (Remember, O gracious Virgin Mary).





German • Featured Translator: Reidel

Wintergang in a-Moll Oft tauchen rote Kugeln aus Geästen,

Die langer Schneefall sanft und schwarz verschneit. Der Priester gibt dem Toten das Geleit.

Die Nächte sind erfüllt von Maskenfesten. Dann streichen übers Dorf zerzauste Krähen; In Büchern stehen Märchen wunderbar.

Ans Fenster flattert eines Greisen Haar.

Dämonen durch die kranke Seele gehen. Der Brunnen friert im Hof. Im Dunkel stürzen Verfallne Stiegen und es weht ein Wind

Durch alte Schächte, die verschüttet sind.

Der Gaumen schmeckt des Frostes starke Würzen.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Winter Path in A Minor Oftentimes red orbs emerge from the branches, Soft and black blanketed the long snowfall. The priest provides the dead a funeral.

Nights are occupied with masked festivities. Then wind-tossed crows sweep over the village; Wonderful folktales are recorded in books. An old man’s hair flutters in the window.

The transit of demons passes through sick souls. The well freezes in the courtyard. In the dark

Ruined stairs collapse and there blows a wind

Through old tunnel shafts that have been sealed shut. The palate smacks of the frost’s heavy spices.





German • Featured Translator: Reidel

Online: De profundis Es ist ein Stoppelfeld, in das ein schwarzer Regen fällt. Es ist ein brauner Baum, der einsam dasteht.

Es ist ein Zischelwind, der leere Hütten umkreist. Wie traurig dieser Abend. Am Weiler vorbei

Sammelt die sanfte Waise noch spärliche Ähren ein.

Ihre Augen weiden rund und goldig in der Dämmerung Und ihr Schoß harrt des himmlischen Bräutigams. Bei der Heimkehr

Fanden die Hirten den süßen Leib Verwest im Dornenbusch.

Ein Schatten bin ich ferne finsteren Dörfern. Gottes Schweigen

Trank ich aus dem Brunnen des Hains. Auf meine Stirne tritt kaltes Metall Spinnen suchen mein Herz.

Es ist ein Licht, das in meinem Mund erlöscht. Nachts fand ich mich auf einer Heide,

Starrend von Unrat und Staub der Sterne. Im Haselgebüsch

Klangen wieder kristallne Engel.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: De profundis1 There is a stubble field in which a black rain falls. There is a brown tree that stands alone.

There is a whispering wind that circles empty cottages. How sad this evening. Past the hamlet

The meek orphan still gleans scant spikes of grain. Her eyes feast round and precious in the twilight And her loins await the heavenly bridegroom. On coming home

The herdsmen found the sweet body Rotted in the thorn bush.

I am a shadow far from dark villages. God’s silence

I drank from the well of the grove. Cold metal comes to my brow Spiders seek my heart.

There is a light that is put out in my mouth. Nights I find myself on a heath, Matted with filth and star dust. In the hazel bush

Crystalline angels tingled once more.


De profundis, the penitential opening line of the Latin text of Psalm 130 meaning “from the depths.”





German • Featured Translator: Reidel

Online: Psalm 2. Fassung

Karl Kraus zugeeignet Es ist ein Licht, das der Wind ausgelöscht hat.

Es ist ein Heidekrug, den am Nachmittag ein Betrunkener verläßt.

Es ist ein Weinberg, verbrannt und schwarz mit Löchern voll Spinnen. Es ist ein Raum, den sie mit Milch getüncht haben.

Der Wahnsinnige ist gestorben. Es ist eine Insel der Südsee, Den Sonnengott zu empfangen. Man rührt die Trommeln. Die Männer führen kriegerische Tänze auf.

Die Frauen wiegen die Hüften in Schlinggewächsen und Feuerblumen, Wenn das Meer singt. O unser verlorenes Paradies.

Die Nymphen haben die goldenen Wälder verlassen.

Man begräbt den Fremden. Dann hebt ein Flimmerregen an. Der Sohn des Pan erscheint in Gestalt eines Erdarbeiters, Der den Mittag am glühenden Asphalt verschläft.

Es sind kleine Mädchen in einem Hof in Kleidchen voll herzzerreißender Armut. Es sind Zimmer, erfüllt von Akkorden und Sonaten.

Es sind Schatten, die sich vor einem erblindeten Spiegel umarmen. An den Fenstern des Spitals wärmen sich Genesende.

Ein weißer Dampfer am Kanal trägt blutige Seuchen herauf. Die fremde Schwester erscheint wieder in jemands bösen Träumen. Ruhend im Haselgebüsch spielt sie mit seinen Sternen.

Der Student, vielleicht ein Doppelgänger, schaut ihr lange vom Fenster nach. Hinter ihm steht sein toter Bruder, oder er geht die alte Wendeltreppe herab. Im Dunkel brauner Kastanien verblaßt die Gestalt des jungen Novizen.

Der Garten ist im Abend. Im Kreuzgang flattern die Fledermäuse umher.

Die Kinder des Hausmeisters hören zu spielen auf und suchen das Gold des Himmels. Endakkorde eines Quartetts. Die kleine Blinde läuft zitternd durch die Allee,

Und später tastet ihr Schatten an kalten Mauern hin, umgeben vom Märchen und heiligen Legenden.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation


Online: Psalm 2nd version

dedicated to Karl Kraus1 There is a candle that the wind has blown out.

There is a tavern-on-the-heath that a drunk departs in the afternoon. There is a vineyard burnt and black with holes full of spiders. There is a room that they have whitewashed with milk.

The maniac is dead. There is an island in the South Seas To welcome the sun god. Someone is beating drums. The men perform war dances.

The women sway their hips in creeping vines and fire blossoms When the sea sings. O our lost paradise.

The nymphs have forsaken the golden woods.

Someone buries the stranger. Then a glittering rain commences. The son of Pan appears disguised as a ditch digger Sleeping through lunch on the burning asphalt.

In the courtyard there are little girls in little dresses ripe with heart-rending poverty. There is a room filled with chord runs and sonatas.

There are shadows that embrace themselves before a blind mirror. The patients warm themselves in the windows of the hospital. A white steamer brings blood plagues up the canal.

The strange sister reappears in someone’s bad dreams. Sleeping in the hazel bush she toys with his stars.

The student, maybe a double, gazes after her for a long time from the window. Behind him stands his dead brother, or he goes down the old spiral stairs. In the dark of brown chestnuts the figure of the young novitiate wanes. The garden is in dusk. Bats flutter about the cloister yard.

The caretaker’s children stop playing and search for the gold of heaven.

A quartet’s end-chords. The little blind girl runs unsteadily through the alley,

And later her shadow fingers away along cold walls, surrounded by fairy tales and saintly legends. 1

Karl Kraus (1874–1936), Austrian writer and cultural journalist.




German • Featured Translator: Reidel

Es ist ein leeres Boot, das am Abend den schwarzen Kanal heruntertreibt. In der Düsternis des alten Asyls verfallen menschliche Ruinen. Die toten Waisen liegen an der Gartenmauer.

Aus grauen Zimmern treten Engel mit kotgefleckten Flügeln. Würmer tropfen von ihren vergilbten Lidern.

Der Platz vor der Kirche ist finster und schweigsam, wie in den Tagen der Kindheit. Auf silbernen Sohlen gleiten frühere Leben vorbei

Und die Schatten der Verdammten steigen zu den seufzenden Wassern nieder. In seinem Grab spielt der weiße Magier mit seinen Schlangen.

Schweigsam über der Schädelstätte öffnen sich Gottes goldene Augen.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation There is an empty boat that drifts down the black canal during the evening. In the gloom of the old asylum human wrecks fall apart. The dead orphans lie against the garden wall.

From gray rooms angels appear with shit-spattered wings. Worms drop from their yellowed eyelids.

The plaza outside the church is sinister and silent as in the days of childhood. On their silver feet previous lives glide past

And the shadows of the damned climb down into the sighing waters. In his grave the white magician dandles his snakes. Silently over Golgotha God’s golden eyes open.





German • Featured Translator: Reidel

Online: Elis 3. Fassung 1 Vollkommen ist die Stille dieses goldenen Tags. Unter alten Eichen

Erscheinst du, Elis, ein Ruhender mit runden Augen. Ihre Bläue spiegelt den Schlummer der Liebenden. An deinem Mund

Verstummten ihre rosigen Seufzer. Am Abend zog der Fischer die schweren Netze ein. Ein guter Hirt

Führt seine Herde am Waldsaum hin.

O! wie gerecht sind, Elis, alle deine Tage. Leise sinkt

An kahlen Mauern des Ölbaums blaue Stille, Erstirbt eines Greisen dunkler Gesang. Ein goldener Kahn

Schaukelt, Elis, dein Herz am einsamen Himmel.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: Elis 3rd version 1 Utter is the stillness of this golden day. Amid ancient oaks

You appear, Elis, one leaning1 wide eyed. Their blueness reflects the sleep of lovers. On your mouth

Your rose-colored sighs grow silent. With evening the fisherman pulled in his black nets. A good shepherd

Drives his flock to the forest’s edge. O! how just, Elis, are all your days. Quietly falls

The blue stillness of the olive tree on bare walls, An old man’s dark song dies away. A golden boat

Heaves, Elis, your heart in a lonely sky.


one leaning, the original (ein Ruhender) evokes the German title for a pose often found in classical art (e.g., Praxiteles’s “Resting Faun”); line 7, the fisherman, and line 8, a good shepherd, appellations of Jesus Christ, here perhaps reconciled with the heathen.





German • Featured Translator: Reidel

2 Ein sanftes Glockenspiel tönt in Elis’ Brust Am Abend,

Da sein Haupt ins schwarze Kissen sinkt. Ein blaues Wild

Blutet leise im Dornengestrüpp. Ein brauner Baum steht abgeschieden da; Seine blauen Früchte fielen von ihm. Zeichen und Sterne

Versinken leise im Abendweiher. Hinter dem Hügel ist es Winter geworden. Blaue Tauben

Trinken nachts den eisigen Schweiß, Der von Elis’ kristallener Stirne rinnt. Immer tönt

An schwarzen Mauern Gottes einsamer Wind.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

2 A gentle glockenspiel hammers in Elis’s breast With evening,

Then his head sinks into the black pillow. A blue deer

Quietly bleeds in the thorn brake. A brown tree stands by itself there; Its blue fruit fell from it. Signs and stars

Quietly sink into the pond of evening. Over the hill it has become winter. Blue doves

Drink the icy sweat at night

Beading down Elis’s crystal brow. Ever hammers

God’s lonely wind on black walls.





German • Featured Translator: Reidel

Sebastian im Traum Für Adolf Loos Mutter trug das Kindlein im weißen Mond,

Im Schatten des Nußbaums, uralten Hollunders,

Trunken vom Safte des Mohns, der Klage der Drossel; Und stille

Neigte in Mitleid sich über jene ein bärtiges Antlitz Leise im Dunkel des Fensters; und altes Hausgerät Der Väter

Lag im Verfall; Liebe und herbstliche Träumerei. Also dunkel der Tag des Jahrs, traurige Kindheit,

Da der Knabe leise zu kühlen Wassern, silbernen Fischen hinabstieg, Ruh und Antlitz;

Da er steinern sich vor rasende Rappen warf, In grauer Nacht sein Stern über ihn kam;

Oder wenn er an der frierenden Hand der Mutter

Abends über Sankt Peters herbstlichen Friedhof ging, Ein zarter Leichnam stille im Dunkel der Kammer lag Und jener die kalten Lider über ihn aufhob.

Er aber war ein kleiner Vogel im kahlen Geäst, Die Glocke lang im Abendnovember,

Des Vaters Stille, da er im Schlaf die dämmernde Wendeltreppe hinabstieg.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Sebastian Dreaming For Adolf Loos1 Mother bore the babe in the white moon,

In the shadow of the walnut tree, ancient elderberry, Drunk on poppy juice, the lament of the thrush; And silently

A bearded face bows with compassion over her Quietly in the dark of the window; and the old chattel Of ancestors

Lay broken up; love and autumn reverie. So dark a day in the year, a sad childhood,

As the boy quietly descended into cool water, silver fish, Calm and a face;

As he flung himself hard as stone in front of wild black horses, His star came over him in a gray night;

Or when he, in mother’s freezing hand,

Walked about Saint Peter’s2 autumn cemetery at dusk, A frail corpse lay quiet in the dark of its cell And it lifted cold lids above him.

But he was a little bird in the bare branches, The long bells in the November evening,

The father’s stillness, as he asleep descended winding stairs in twilight.

1 2

Adolf Loos (1870–1933), Austrian architect, whose Viennese circle included many artists and writers, including Oskar Kokoschka and Georg Trakl Saint Peter’s, the cemetery and catacombs at the base of the Festungsberg, a hill overlooking the city of Salzburg.





German • Featured Translator: Reidel

2 Frieden der Seele. Einsamer Winterabend,

Die dunklen Gestalten der Hirten am alten Weiher; Kindlein in der Hütte von Stroh; o wie leise Sank in schwarzem Fieber das Antlitz hin. Heilige Nacht.

Oder wenn er an der harten Hand des Vaters Stille den finstern Kalvarienberg hinanstieg Und in dämmernden Felsennischen

Die blaue Gestalt des Menschen durch seine Legende ging, Aus der Wunde unter dem Herzen purpurn das Blut rann. O wie leise stand in dunkler Seele das Kreuz auf.

Liebe; da in schwarzen Winkeln der Schnee schmolz,

Ein blaues Lüftchen sich heiter im alten Hollunder fing, In dem Schattengewölbe des Nußbaums;

Und dem Knaben leise sein rosiger Engel erschien. Freude; da in kühlen Zimmern eine Abendsonate erklang, Im braunen Holzgebälk

Ein blauer Falter aus der silbernen Puppe kroch. O die Nähe des Todes. In steinerner Mauer

Neigte sich ein gelbes Haupt, schweigend das Kind, Da in jenem März der Mond verfiel.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

2 Peace for the soul. A lonely winter evening,

The dark shapes of the herdsmen at the old pond; A baby in a cottage of straw; o how quiet The face sank into a black fever. Holy night.

Or when he, in his father’s calloused hand, Silently ascended Calvary’s grim hill

And in the gloaming niches of the rocks

The blue embodiment of man underwent his legend,

From the wound beneath the heart blood ran crimson. O how quietly the cross stands erect in a dark soul. Love; as the snow melted in black corners,

A fair blue breeze picked itself up in the old elderberry, In the shadowy canopy of the walnut tree;

And to the boy quietly appeared his rose-colored angel. Joy; as an evening sonata plays in cool rooms, In the brown wood beams

A blue moth crawled from its silver cocoon. O the closeness of death. Inside a stone wall A yellow head bows, silencing the child, For in that March the moon decayed.





German • Featured Translator: Reidel

3 Rosige Osterglocke im Grabgewölbe der Nacht Und die Silberstimmen der Sterne,

Daß in Schauern ein dunkler Wahnsinn von der Stirne des Schläfers sank. O wie stille ein Gang den blauen Fluß hinab Vergessenes sinnend, da im grünen Geäst

Die Drossel ein Fremdes in den Untergang rief. Oder wenn er an der knöchernen Hand des Greisen Abends vor die verfallene Mauer der Stadt ging

Und jener in schwarzem Mantel ein rosiges Kindlein trug,

Im Schatten des Nußbaums der Geist des Bösen erschien. Tasten über die grünen Stufen des Sommers. O wie leise Verfiel der Garten in der braunen Stille des Herbstes, Duft und Schwermut des alten Hollunders,

Da in Sebastians Schatten die Silberstimme des Engels erstarb.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

3 Pink daffodils in the mausoleum of night And the silver voices of stars,

So that a dark madness eased in shivers from the sleeper’s brow. O how still a walk down to the blue river

Contemplating forgotten things, as one thrush called

In the green branches to another during the descent. Or when he, in the old man’s bone hand,

Walked before the crumbling wall of the city at dusk And that old man bore a pink babe in a black coat,

The spirit of evil appeared in the shadow of the walnut tree. Groping across the green ascent of summer. O how quietly The garden rotted in the brown stillness of the autumn, That smell and melancholy of the old elderberry,

For the silver voice of the angel died in Sebastian’s shadow.






Prawdziwy portret autora

Jerzy Harasymowicz

Oto jestem, o włosach bez granic, o butach

uśmiechniętych od ucha do ucha, stoję na tle świerków, w których gnieździ się moje serce (obok chromy zajączek zaznacza takt cichutko na piszczałce).

A oto moje serce: naiwne kurczątko w rozpiętym

kaftaniku. Zaś moja praca to tokowiska kartek, których żywiołowy wrzask zabija patriarchalnych

redaktorów, którzy uchodzą, zaangażowani w sprawie

niebiańskich knedli... Oto jestem, a nade mną mój znak: potężna flaga lenistwa, zielona i niebotyczna.

Jerzy Harasymowicz (1933–1999) was a Polish poet whose work displays a great affinity with the Lemko community from the Carpathian region of south-eastern Poland. His first volume Wonders (Cuda) appeared in 1956, around the same time as the debut collections of Miron Białoszewski, Stanisław Czycz, Bohdan Drozdowski and Zbigniew Herbert. The poetry of this generation of writers represents a milestone in twentiethcentury Polish literature, signalling a clear departure from the social-realist poetry of the day. Harasymowicz went on to publish over sixty collections of poetry and his work has recently been the study of a major scholarly assessment by Ewa Stańczyk: Contact Zone Identities in the Poetry of Jerzy Harasymowicz: A Postcolonial Analysis (Peter Lang, 2012). The poems here are taken from Jerzy Harasymowicz - Wybór wierszy 1955-1973 [Jerzy Harasymowicz: Selected Poems 1955-1973], Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1975.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

A True Portrait of the Author



trans. John Kearns

Here I am, with limitless hair, with boots that smile

from ear to ear, I stand before the background of

spruce in which my heart has nested (beside a lame leveret playing soft pipe cadences).

And here is my heart – an innocent chick in an

unbuttoned smock. While my work is a mating ground of papers, whose exuberant screech kills patriarchal

editors making good their escape and taken up with

matters of heavenly dumplings... Here I am, and over me my sign: the mighty flag of sloth, green and vast.




Elegia łemkowska

Jerzy Harasymowicz

Pusto w cerkwi tu tylko słońce i księżyc Leżą na posadzce krzyżem

Drogą zamiast wiernych dziś mrówki idą do cerkwi I rosną świętym w rękach kwiaty prawdziwe Jesienią dach cerkwi na wielkim wietrze Zakotłował i jak jastrząb uleciał Dziś strugi łez płyną świętym Gdy błyskawica przyświeca Lub śnieg ich kryje

Białym gronostajem

Lub czeremchy kwiatem Są przyprószeni majem

I śpi łemkowski święty jak puchacz biały W złotej dziupli ikony

Samotny jak palec jego Do góry podniesiony

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Lemko Elegy

Lying prostrate on the floor

Today not the faithful, but ants go to church

And wild flowers grow in the hands of the saints In the strong winds of autumn the roof of the church Today streams of tears flow holy In the forks of lightning

Or under cover of snow Under its white ermine Or bird cherry flowers Are dusted with May

And sleep holy Lemko, like a white eagle owl In the icon’s golden hollows

Solitary, like his finger upraised.


trans. John Kearns

The church here empty, only sun and moon

Surged up and took off like a hawk





Online: Na cmentarz łemkowski

Oto cmentarz

ziełem zarosły Oto poręba

po krzyżach zwalonych Wiatrołom

świętego drzewa Oto cmentarze Łemków W Złockiem

w Szczawniku w Leluchowie

Oto śpią na podłodze

Dawno już spróchniałej Bez krzyża nad głową Fiłypy


Włodzimierze Jesień im tylko ostu zapala świecę

Liści szumi wieniec

Czort niepotrzebny chyłkiem w zarośla czmycha

Jerzy Harasymowicz

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: In the Lemko Graveyard

This graveyard

overgrown with weeds This clearing

of stone cross ruins The holy tree windfallen

These Lemko graveyards In Złockie

in Szczawnik in Leluchów

Here sleeping on the ground Long since decayed

Without a cross at their heads Fiłyps


Włodzimierzes Autumn alone

lights a candle of thistle for them

Leaves rustle in wreaths

An unwanted bad spirit darts stealthily off

through the brushwood



trans. John Kearns




Online: Jack Kerouac

Simon Vinkenoog

Courts métrages Come again

One World Poetry

Started started started Long live the eighties life and life only-

Verder niet veel over mee te delen, je moet het zelf maar uitvinden-

laat je door de dichten verslinden en verorberhem, nuttig hem,

slik hem in en spuug hem uit : waaiend met de winden schrap in de storm los in het toverbos

onderweg met de taal

scheurend een spleet in het geheim winnaar en verliezer van pijn. Laat het je eigen leven zijn

laat je niet misleiden door een ander geef je over en geef mee : de poëzie is een zee

die de sterre weerspiegelt waterpas

geboortegrond ieders mond ieders ogen

tranen die nooit drogen

lachen dat nooit verdwijnt.

Jack Kerouac in Amsterdam: een one-world-poetry-suite voor dicters in de Melkweg 261-producties, 1980

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: Jack Kerouac



trans. Maarten Walraven & François-Carl Svenbro

Short films

Come again

One World Poetry

Started started started Long live the Eighties Life and life only –

Not much to say about otherwise

you have to find it out for yourself

let yourself be devoured by the poetry and gorge on it, enjoy it

swallow it and spit it out : waving with the winds solid in the storm

free in the magic forest

on the road with language

tearing a crevice in the secret winner and loser of pain Let it be your own life

don’t get misled by another surrender and give way: poetry is a sea

that reflects the stars water level

native land

everyone’s mouth everyone’s eyes

tears that never dry

smile that never disappears



Dutch Stem zonder storing op wereldreis

tijd en ruimtereis:

hé hier nu overal en alles, Jack Kerouac,

Amsterdam calling : Kerouac, Kerouac, Kerouac, Kerouac.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation Voice without interference world tour

space and space travel

hey, here and now everywhere and everything Jack Kerouac

Amsterdam calling : Kerouac, Kerouac, Kerouac Kerouac.






Online: Aan Rika

Piet Paaltjens

Slechts éénmaal heb ik u gezien. Gij waart Gezeten in een sneltrein, die den trein,

Waar ik mee reed, passeerde in volle vaart.11 De kennismaking kon niet korter zijn.

En toch, zij duurde lang genoeg, om mij

Het eindloos levenspad met fletsen lach Te doen vervolgen. Ach! Geen enkel blij Glimlachje liet ik meer, sinds ik u zag.

Waarom ook hebt gij van dat blonde haar,

Daar de englen aan te kennen zijn? En dan,11

Waarom blauwe oogen, wonderdiep en klaar?11 Gij wist toch, dat ik daar niet tegen kan! En waarom mij dan zoo voorbijgesneld,

En niet, als ‘t weerlicht, ’t rijtuig opgerukt,12 En om mijn hals uw armen vastgekneld,

En op mijn mond uw lippen vastgedrukt? Gij vreesdet mooglijk voor een spoorwegramp? Maar, RIKA, wat kon zaalger voor mij zijn, Dan, onder helsch geratel en gestamp,

Met u verplet te worden door één trein?

Piet Paaltjens (nom de plus) François Haverschmidt (Leeuwarden, February 14, 1835 – Schiedam, January 19, 1894 Piet Paaltjens, Tijgerlelies 1851-1853

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: To Rika

Seated in an express train, which then passed, My train, and with full speed going faster

The acquaintance could not be more curtailed Yet still, it lasted long enough, for me To continue on this endless life path

With a faded smile. Ah! Since I saw thee

Not one little smile was filled with such glee Also, why do you have such fair blonde hair

Which bears the resemblance of angels? And then Why those blue eyes, wonderfully deep and clear? You sure knew, that I could not withstand them! Why then did your train race past myself, And not if a flash pushes the carriage,

And our mouths and lips are met in marriage? Perhaps you feared a railroad tragedy?

But, RIKA, what could be more delicious, Than, under clamour and calamity,

To be crushed with you under a carriage?


trans. Sherence De Jongh

Only one time have I seen you. You were

And around my neck your arms are held,





Die digteres

Ingrid Jonker Ek laat die fakkellig van sterre in my hare en in my oë brand,

en in die stadsnag met sy verre

wysheid hou ek die robots in my hand.

Ek is die hoof en wagter van my

stad, en in die skou is ek die danseres, In hierdie glorie het ek jou nooit liefgehad –

is jy die bode, ek die kroonprinses. En tog, as ek jou so sien gaan, jy wat eenmaal my lewe was,

bly ek in eensaamheid ontnugter staan,

bly ek tog menslik aan jou vas.

Ag, laat my dan geen digter wees, maar net ’n soet, onskuldig kind

wat in jou arms eindelik onbevrees beskermd lê teen hierdie bitter wind.

Laat my ’n onbewuste meisie wees, wat needrig om jou gunste vra,

maar wat jou liggaam en jou gees

se einddoel eendag heilig in my dra.

Ingrid Jonker. 19 September 1933 Douglas, Northern Cape. – 19 July 1965 Cape town. Die Huisgenoot Magazine, 18 March 1955

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

The Poetess



trans. Sherence De Jongh I let the flickering of the stars

Burn into my hair and into my eyes, and in the city night with its far

wisdom I hold, in my hand, the traffic lights.

I am head and guardian of my

City, And in the show I am the great dancer, I have never loved you in this glory –

I’m the crown princess, you the messenger. Still, when I see you go like that, You, who after all were my life,

I remain lonely and disillusioned, I remain humanely connected to you.

Ah, let me not be a poet then,

But just like a sweet innocent child

Whom in your arms can finally

lie fearlessly protected against this bitter wind.

Let me be an ignorant little girl,

Who humbly asks you for favours, That the end goal of your body

and mind, will one day carry holy in me.





Carmen Naranjo

La Fortuna es un pueblo costarricense del norte, cerca de la frontera con Nicaragua.

Para ir allá hay que tomar curvas a la derecha y otras a la izquierda. Se trepan y bajan montañas. Se tocan las nubes y se tiembla de frío. Algunas veces estremecen las cataratas, otras el ancho de un río de aguas claras y sonoras, en ocasiones la profundidad

de un caudal que apenas si se divisa desde el alto, altísimo, de un puente estrecho con una siembra de cruces en recuerdo de accidentes.

Siempre que se baja se va al encuentro de un puente y de un río, siempre que se

sube se alcanza alguna nube apegada a la montaña, que puede extenderse y tomar formas de neblina en varios kilómetros de obligada miopía.

La Fortuna más que un pueblo es un centro urbano que sirve a muchas fincas,

algunas grandes y otras pequeñas. En ellas se trabaja desde el amanecer y preocupa el ganado, la siembra de plátanos, la yuca, la víbora que apareció (¡ qué terrible !), el pobre de don Albino (que se murió de lo mal que se vio) y el cuento que se cuenta al principio de la noche.

El cuentista más famoso de La Fortuna es don Fulminante, tanto que lo apoden

Fulminante Mentira.

Vive en un rancho abierto a los vientos y a las cortinas de lluvia que no faltan en el

año, desde muy temprano, antes del almuerzo y frecuentemente durante todo el día.

Tiene dos vacas lecheras, tres perros corrientes que ha adiestrado para la cacería,

una milpa entre palmeras de cocos y ima hamaca en que duerme la siesta y entresueña la noche. Por su rancho pasean alegres las mariposas, las lagartijas, las chicharras y

hasta algún sapo. Jamás una serpiente porque don Fulminante lleva colgado al cuello un amuleto que lo protege de todo animal venenoso.

Es un hombre vital, cariñoso, buen vecino, capaz de hacer el bien siempre, ágil

observador y muy diestro con la palabra. Sabe contar un cuento con la agilidad de un

buen torero que busca el toro y lo esquiva como si no fuera con él. Además es bueno para todo, para arreglar un tubo, levantar un rancho, componer una máquina, bajar la subida

de los tragos, descargar una indigestión y hasta traer hijos al mundo cuando se presenta un caso de urgencia. No hay nada a que no le entre, pues sabe de electricidad, de mecánica, de albañilería y hace muebles muy bonitos, cómodos y eternos porque conoce las maderas buenas, las que son inmunes a las polillas y a otras pestes semejantes.

Se hizo famoso como milagroso cuando alguien trajo al pueblo un tractor desahuciado

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: Wouldn’t You Believe It?



trans. Andrés Alfaro

In the north of Costa Rica, nearing Nicaragua, there is a town called La Fortuna. To

get there you take roads wending left and right, roads trailing up and down mountains. You graze the clouds and shiver from the cold. Sometimes the waterfalls tremble; other

times the width of a river will with its clear, bubbling waters; occasionally, the depths of a riverbed quiver, barely visible from the tippy-top of a narrow bridge lined by rows of crosses that memorialize traffic deaths.

Whenever you go downhill you’re bound to cross a bridge over a river. Whenever

you go up you’ll inevitably happen upon some cloud clinging to the mountain. It may even stretch out and take the form of fog making for several kilometers of squinty vision.

More than just a town, La Fortuna is an urban center that caters to many farms both

big and small. These farms have workers who begin at the crack of dawn. They take care

of the livestock, the sowing of plantains and yucca, the viper that turned up (how awful!), poor old don Albino (who died from how awful he looked), and the story to be told at the start of each evening.

The most famous storyteller in La Fortuna is don Fulminante. That’s the reason for his

nickname: The Fulminant Fibber.

He lives on a ranch exposed to the winds and to the sheets of rain that fall year round.

These rains start very early, before lunch, and often last all day.

He has two milk cows, three ordinary dogs he’s trained to hunt, a small cornfield

surrounded by coconut trees and a hammock where he takes his siesta and daydreams

the night away. Many animals happily pass by his ranch including butterflies, lizards, cicadas and, at times, even the occasional toad.

Never snakes, however, as don

Fulminante has an amulet around his neck to protect him from any poisonous creatures.

He is a lively, affectionate, neighborly man who is capable of always doing right. He

is a sharp observer and a skillful orator. He knows how to tell a story with the dexterity of

a trained bullfighter who courts the bull and skirts it as if it were never there. He’s simply

good at everything. He’s able to fix a leaky pipe, build a house, repair a machine, cure a hangover, relieve indigestion and even deliver a baby should the emergency arise. He

can turn his hand to just about anything. He’s been an electrician, mechanic, bricklayer, and has even crafted beautiful, comfortable, and durable furniture as he knows how to choose quality wood resistant to moths and other such pests.

He became famous as a miracle-worker when someone brought an old, broken-down




y lo dejó botado cerca de un arroyo. Empezó a visitarlo como por casualidad y en un dos

por tres lo dejó como nuevo. Entonces lo estacionó en la Alcadía y le puso un rótulo : « lo puede utilizar quien lo necesite ». Y se ha usado en mucha obra buena y de necesidad, porque ése era el mandato de don Fulminante.

Cada noche, sea lunes o domingo, todos los días sin faltar uno, se acercan a su

rancho los vecinos y algunos que van de paso y que conocen su fama de buen cuentista.

Don Fulminante los saluda alegremente y les pregunta por el trabajo, por la salud, por lo que se dice por allá y por aquí. Como buen estratega deja que se llene el público para soltar su cuentazo y sabe que lo van a repetir en una y otra parte. Sabe desde siempre

que con cuentos se mata el silencio y se alimenta un pueblo que trabaja, siente y sueña. ¿A que no me van a creer?, empieza siempre diciendo. Pues me fui a La Fortuna

para comprarme unas alka-seltzer y yo me las voy encontrando cada vez más caras. Entonces se me ocurrió alquilar aquel lomito que ven ahí, tan lindo, esbelto y fértil, y lo fui sembrando con un gran amor, que para sembrar se necesita amar la tierra, cantarle y abrazarse a ella. Cada pastilla a medio metro de distancia, en forma de círculo porque

el lomito se prestaba para ello y porque la tierra rinde mejor con la belleza. Hay que ver como agradecen las flores y los cantos de los pájaros. Hice la siembra en abril y esperaba la cosecha de alka-seltzercitas en julio. Pero no andaba con la mejor suerte. El tiempo

me traicionó como traiciona a todos los campesinos. En mayo empezó el cielo a nublarse

y se vino <un torrencial de lluvias, la colina se puso blanca y empezó a bajar en una nube

blanca que corrió por todos los campos y carreteras. Era realmente inpresionante, con

decirles que llegó hasta Ciudad Quesada, más de cuarenta kilómetros de aquí. Todavía la gente se acuerda en la ciudad de ese hecho fantástico porque fue la primera y ‘única vez que nevó por toda esta zona.

Después de una sonrisa plagada de malicia alegre, empieza de nuevo. ¿ A que no

me van a creer ? Un día se me ocurrió ir a pescar y me fui a la ribera del río La Fortuna. Apenas me asomé a las aguas vi un montón de pececitos lindos y de colores que

jugueteaban nadando de un lado para otro, como unos niños que se despiertan a la vida. Me enamoré de uno de ellos, el de los ojos más grandes. Con mucho cuidado y costo

lo logré meter en un tarro. Con más esfuerzo y empeño me puse a enseñarle a respirar fuera del agua, boca a boca lo llenaba de aire, lo ponía en tierra unos minutos y luego

de nuevo al agua. Repetí la operación más de cien veces y al fin el bandido aprendió a

respirar por sí solo. Me lo traje al rancho y le enseñé a convivir con las gallinas, que al principio lo trataron como a un extraño y después se convencieron de que era un pobre gallo desnudo. También le enseñé a comer maiz y plátano, así como a escarbar gusanos. Iba todo muy bien y el pececito parecía muy feliz. Ya llevaba un año conmigo cuando

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



tractor to town and abandoned it next to a creek. Don Fulminante began to visit the tractor as if by accident and, in no time at all, he had it fixed up good as new. He then parked it in front of the town hall and placed a sign on it reading: “free to use for those in

need.” And, indeed, it has been used for many projects of vital importance because that was how don Fulminante wanted it.

Each evening, be it Monday or Sunday – every day without fault – the neighbors,

and even some travelers who have heard of the legendary storyteller, come to don

Fulminante’s ranch. He always greets them cheerfully and inquires about their jobs, their health, about news both near and far. As a master strategist, he waits until the audience has filled in before launching into his story, knowing it will be passed along in one place

or another. He’s always known that stories eradicate silence and nourish a people that work, feel and dream.

He always begins by saying, “Wouldn’t you believe it? Well, I ventured down to La

Fortuna to pick up some alka-seltzer and it seems to get pricier every time I go. So, I

had the bright idea of renting that plot of land you see over there, so beautiful, fertile, and

well-proportioned and went about seeding it with love. In order to plant one must love the earth, sing to her and hug her while sowing your seeds. I planted each alka-seltzer

at half-meter intervals, forming a circle because the land is suited to such a task and the earth is more bountiful with beauty. You simply have to see how grateful the flowers are and how the birds sing their songs. I planted in April and waited until July to harvest

the little alka-seltzers. But fortune was not to be on my side. Time betrayed me as it betrays all campesinos. In May the sky began to get cloudy and torrential rains swept in,

turning the hill completely white, sending a frothy cloud spilling down over all the fields and roadways. It was truly remarkable and I must add that the torrent reached all the

way to Ciudad Quesada, more than forty kilometers away. The people of the town still remember this bizarre event well as it was the first and only time it snowed in the area.”

After flashing a smile ridden with mischievous joy, he starts up again. “Wouldn’t you

believe it? One day I decided to go fishing and headed down to the banks of the La

Fortuna River. Hardly had I reached the riverbank before I noticed a large shoal of cute,

colorful little fish playing around, swimming back and forth, like kids opening their eyes to life. I fell in love with one of these fish, the one with the biggest eyes. It was not easy

but, in time, I managed to catch it and place it in a container. After much struggle and determination I undertook the long process of teaching it to breathe out of water. I would pluck him from the water, give him mouth to mouth, then keep him on land a few minutes

before returning him to the water. I repeated this procedure more than 100 times and, after all was said and done, the little rascal was able to breathe air all by himself. I brought




ocurrió lo triste bien triste. Estábamos en octubre y empezó a llover torrencialmente

desde muy temprano, no paró en todo el día, a la mañana siguiente fue peor. Tanto así que aquella zanja seca que ven ahí se tornó en un río de aguas revueltas. El pececito

cayó en el remolino, lo vi desesperado y a pesar que me metí no pude salvarlo. Al pobre se le había olvidado que era pez y ya tampoco se acordaba de como nadar.

En el pueblo uno a otro se dicen con frecuencia que las hoches con don Fulminante

se hacen más cortas y sonrientes.

Desde muy temprano el cuentista está ya en pie haciendo miles de oficios. ¿ De

dónde sacará tiempo para hacer sus historias ?, se pregunta la gente. A lo mejor con ese poder de inventiva que tiene, inventa el tiempo para elaborar sus cuentos.

¿A que no me van a creer? Sucedió un día muy claro, clarísimo, el sol caía brillante

y directo para hacer todo transparente. No sé si se han fijado pero hay días en que el

sol se dedica a desnudar, entonces se ven los nervios de las hojas, la savia que baja y

sube por las ramas, las semillas de las frutas. Pues decidí que la claridad invitaba a la

cacería y convidé a mis perros a que me acompañaran. Yo hablo mucho con ellos, son mis compañeros y amigos, la única familia que tengo. Se pusieron felices e impacientes,

ya saltaban en dos patas, ya bailaban, ya ladraban. ¡ Cómo les gusta correr tras la caza ! Entonces busqué la escopeta y la fui a cargar, ¡ qué mala suerte !, sólo tenía un cartucho y pensé que con uno solo tal vez por milagro podría cazar un conejo de monte. Pero, qué

equivocado estaba. Me puse al camino y en el cruce de una vereda me encuentro con

una pava hermosísima. Afiné la puntería y paf le di en el mero corazón, pero la pava se fue rodando por la ladera y yo, ni lerdo ni perezoso me eché a correr con mis perros. En las vueltas la pava dejó estripados tres conejos que fui recogiendo y al final ya cerca del

río la pava tiró a las aguas a un venado, el que cayó desnucado. Regresé con la pava y los tres conejos para ya con las manos libres sacar al venado. Muy contento me puse de

nuevo al camino, ahora también acompañado por aquel carretillo que ven ahí. No quería que me saliera ima hernia al subir con el peso de aquel animal. Pues llego al río y qué sorpresa. De verdad, les va a costar creerme.

Hizo una pausa don Fulminante para observar con su mirada maliciosa los rostros

de los oyentes. Estaban todos atentos y casi con miedo de que las aguas se hubieran llevado al venado

Pues... saco al venado con cuidado. Bien que pesaba el animal y ya en tierra me

encuentro que en cada cuerno se habían insertado cuatro pescados. Invité por ocho días completos a mis vecinos a almorzar y comer. Por eso ellos recuerdan muy bien aquel día

de suerte en que con un único cartucho cacé una pava, tres conejos, un venado y ocho

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him to my ranch and taught him to live side by side with the chickens. At first, they treated

him like an outsider. But, after some time, they became convinced he was one of their

own, just a poor, naked chicken. I also taught him to eat corn and plantains as well as to peck about for worms. Everything was going well and the fish seemed quite happy. He

had been with me for a year when the saddest of sad stories took place. It was October

and it began to rain torrentially very early in the morning and didn’t let up the entire day.

The next morning was worse yet. So much so that the dry ditch you see over there turned into a river of rushing water. The little fish fell into a whirlpool and desperately floundered

about. I rushed after him but was unable to save him despite my efforts. The poor thing had forgotten he was a fish. He had forgotten how to swim.”

The townspeople constantly talk amongst each other of how don Fulminante makes

the nights go by more quickly and cheerfully.

By early morning the storyteller is already on his feet and performing thousands of

tasks. Everybody wonders: where does he find the time to make up his stories? Perhaps with such prowess for invention he manages to invent time in order to work them out.

“Wouldn’t you believe it? This took place on a clear day, one of the clearest, and the

sun shone down brilliantly, turning everything translucent. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this before but there are days the sun devotes itself to stripping everything naked. These

are the days you can see the veins in the leaves, the sap that rises and falls through the

branches, the seeds in the fruits. I decided that, given such clarity, conditions for hunting

were favorable. I called my dogs over for the hunt. I converse with them often. They are my companions and friends, the only family I have. They became happy and impatient, jumping about on their hind legs, dancing and barking. How they love to run and hunt! I looked for my shotgun and went to load it but, unhappily, I had but one shell left. I

reckoned that maybe by some miracle I might be able to hit a wild rabbit. How wrong I

was. I began walking along the path and when I came to a fork in the trail I caught sight

of an extremely lovely turkey. I steadied my sight, aimed, and wham, hit her right in the heart. But the turkey began to tumble down the mountainside. Being neither clumsy nor

lazy I ran after it with my dogs. As it rolled down, the turkey flattened three rabbits which

I went about collecting. At the bottom, next to the river, the turkey struck a deer, knocking

it into the water and breaking its neck from the fall. I decided to bring the turkey and rabbits home so I could return for the deer unburdened. Feeling pleased, I again headed

down the path, taking with me that wheelbarrow you see over there. I didn’t want to get a

hernia trying to lift such a heavy animal. So, when I reached the river there was a surprise waiting for me. You really might have a hard time believing me here.”




peces. Nadie sabía la edad de don Fulminante. Aparentaba la de un hombre viejo pero

fuerte, lleno de vida. También daba la impresión de haber estado en muchas partes, algo en su rostro y en sus manos evocaba un infinito camino que parecía andar eternamente. En sus ojos achinados, rodeados de muchas arrugas, se asomaban a veces otras vidas, otros tiempos. Eran la clave que une la distancia y el alejamiento.

Tampoco se le conocía a don Fulminante ni familia ni amores. Nunca mencionaba

cosas de su pasado, salvo sus asombrosas aventuras. Con todos era respetuoso y afecto. La gente lo sentía su pariente, un ser muy cercano, una especie de amigo del

alma. No era para menos pues encabeza sin duda el patrimonio cultural de aquel pueblo

y a él lo siguen los jinetes, los arrieros, los comerciantes, los tractoristas y todos los demás que en algún punto de la noche o de madrugada inventan su propio cuento.

¿ A que no me van a creer ? Una tarde cuando me empecé a familiarizar con la

malaria, tal vez por el peso de la calentura me recosté en la hamaca envuelto en un paño.

No sé en qué momento se subió una rana verde con ojos saltones. Se quedó mirando con

un gran temor que la hizo encogerse, lista para dar el brinco. La vi con enorme ternura y ella se fue destensando, hasta se atrevió a pestañear. El amor, cuando se sabe expresar, es el elemento más vinculante posible. Fui bajando mi mano lentamente y ella brincó a

su encuentro. Empecé a acariciarla con devoción y la rana respondió extendiéndose por

completo. ¡ Qué lindo gesto !, pensé, ¿ cómo corresponderle ? Por primera vez me di cuenta, a pesar de haber visto tantas ranas en vida, de que era el animal más desnudo del mundo. Nada tenía que la tapara, ni pelos, ni rabo, ni una piel dura. Allá estaba

ella sin algo que la vistiera de rana, absoluta y púdicamente desnuda. Se me ocurrió entonces que yo también debía desnudarme para igualarme, no debía haber distancia

entre nosotros. Pensado y hecho, me quedé como Dios me trajo al mundo, aunque más

viejo y más crecido de todo. Se me arrimó como si comprendiera mi gesto y empezó a « ranear » con un sonido hondo y agradable. Un coro le respondió de varias partes. La comunicación era perfecta. En eso, ¡ qué impresión !, la hamaca se llenó de ranas y la

primera que llegó me estaba acariciando la mejilla. Ya no podía moverme pues no quería echar a ninguna, entonces otra vez la primera me abrió, casi a la fuerza, la boca y dio un

brinco adentro. Tuve que tragármela porque me estaba ahogando y cuando pasó más adentro sentí que la garganta se me destrozaba. Desde entonces algo de rana me habita adentro y muchas ranas me siguen a todas partes con gran confianza y sin miedo alguno.

Miren qué cerca están, por aquí, por allá, hasta en el techo. Y también desde entonces siempre me desnudo para dormir, me gustan los insectos y ya en el suelo brinco como

ellas, también canto como ellas. Cuando conté esto por primera vez, alguien al verme

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Don Fulminante paused to observe the faces of his audience through mischievous

eyes. Each person was enthralled, almost afraid the water might have carried the deer away.

“So…I carefully hauled the deer out of the water. It was no easy task. Once out,

I noticed each of its horns had impaled four fish. For eight straight days I invited my

neighbors to lunch with me. That’s why they still reminisce about that fateful day when, with only one shot, I managed to bring home one turkey, three rabbits, a deer and eight fish.”

Nobody knew how old don Fulminante was. He had the looks of a strong, old man,

brimming with life. He also gave the impression of having traveled a great deal. There was something in his face and hands that evoked an infinite path, one that stretched on

forever. In his slanted eyes surrounded by wrinkles you could sometimes see other lives and ages shine through. They were the key to uniting distance and estrangement.

Nor was don Fulminante known to have any family or lovers. He never mentioned his

past aside from his amazing adventures. He was a respectful and affectionate person to all he encountered. The townspeople thought of him like a relative, a close friend with a

kindred soul. He was nothing less than that and there was no doubt he commanded the cultural heritage of the town. Everybody including horsemen, muleteers, merchants, and

farmers followed his lead. At some point in the night or early mornings, they would also create their own stories.

“Wouldn’t you believe it? One afternoon I began to get acquainted with malaria.

Perhaps it was due to the oppressive heat but I decided to lie down in my hammock,

wrapped in a towel. I don’t recall exactly when but a little green frog with bulging eyes

came up to me. It stood there looking at me fearfully, cowering and ready to jump away. I gazed at her warmly and she began to relax, eventually daring to blink. Love, when one

knows how to show it, is the most binding force in the world. I started to reach my hand down slowly and she hopped up on it. I began to pet her tenderly and the frog responded

by stretching her whole body out. I thought: what a beautiful gesture! But, how was I to

reciprocate? For the first time, despite having seen many frogs in my life, I realized the

frog had to be the most naked animal in the world. It had nothing to cover itself with, not even hair or a tail or tough skin. She was there with nothing on, absolutely and bashfully

exposed. It then occurred to me that I, too, should be naked if we were to be equals. I wanted no differences between us. My thoughts soon became a reality and I was as God

brought me into the world, only older and more grown. She approached me as if she understood and began to ribbit out a deep, pleasing sound. A chorus responded from the




con tantas ranas que me seguían, me llamó el señor de las ranas. A mí no me disgustó el título, al fin y al cabo era el único título que me gané en eso que llaman la universidad de la vida.

Después, cuando iban de regreso a sus casas, un vecino comentó a otro que el señor

de las ranas parecía ignorar que muchos lo apodaban con inmenso cariño y admiración Fulminante mentira. Y es que la mentira cuando es una exageración obvia en cualquier parte se recibe como una fruta fresca en un día caliente. Produce alegría y ese admitir

qué cuento bueno nos contó don Fulminante. Y lo repetían sin la gracia de los detalles y

de los ademanes de aquel viejo querido. Decían, por ejemplo, ese don Fulminante tiene sus cosas. Anoche nos relató que las abejas lo quieren tanto que hicieron un panal en

su techo, en la medida justa para que la miel se caiga en la boca cuando perecea en la hamaca.

¿ A que no me van a creer ? Pues resulta que me empieza a doler una muela, una

de las de aquí atrás. La jodida no me dejaba en paz. i Que si una punzada aguda, que

si otra peor ! Lo terrible es que me creció y ya no podía ni cerrar la boca. Me dolía tanto que hasta dejé de contar cuentos. A la gente que venía les enseñaba un rótulo que decía : no puedo hablar, estoy transitoriamente mudo. Con decirles que se me olvidó qué era

dormir porque en cuanto cerraba los ojos, la maldita muela se complacía en perforarme

la mandíbula y hasta los oídos se me tapaban con el ruido de un taladro casi de minas. La cara se me hinchó de tal manera que la nariz se me desapareció, ya no tenía perfil, era una bola completa y con orejas. Ante ya lo insufrible me empecé a remediar con cuanta planta sabía que me podría aliviar. Hasta tomé tecitos de yerbabuena con hojas

de reina de la noche, que me repararon el sueño. Ya sin esperanza alguna me vine al pueblo y busqué al dentista. Me dijo que había que sacar la tal desgraciada muela y para

eso era necesario que me deshinchara. No fue tarea fácil, pero con esperanza, rezos y conversaciones de convencimiento con mi propia piel, se me volvió a ver la nariz, esta misma que ven aquí. Recuperado el rostro y descrecida la muela, volví donde el dentista, quien me aseguró que no me dolería mucho. Me puso una inyección que para qué les cuento, fue un pinchazo tan agudo que me abrió los esfínteres y a mí me dio mucho miedo hacer la gracia de dar del cuerpo en aquel momento. ¡ Qué vergüenza hubiera

pasado ! Por dicha me puse aquí la mano derecha y pude sostener lo que se venía. El dentista me abrió la boca, metió las tenazas y empezó a echar fuerzas. Nada, la muela

inmóvil. ¡ Qué terca la condenada ! Entonces llamó a su ayudante y entre los dos jalaron.

Nada. Inmóvil la desgraciada. Llamaron a otra gente y se fue haciendo una cadena, que llenó la clínica y recorrió tres cuadras hasta la iglesia. Todos muy empeñados en hacer

fuerzas. Nada. Quieta como una roca. Alguien sugirió una yunta de bueyes. Todavía no

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surrounding area. Our communication was perfect. And what an impression she made!

My hammock began filling with frogs and the first to arrive started rubbing my cheek. I could no longer move as I didn’t want to scare any of them away. It was then that the

first frog pried my mouth open, practically by force, and jumped in. I had to swallow her

because she was choking me and as she passed further inside I felt like my throat might shatter. Ever since, I’ve had something of a frog inside me and frogs everywhere follow me around with the utmost confidence, lacking any fear. Look how close they are right now, over here, over there. Even on the roof! And every day since, I’ve always undressed

before going to sleep. I like insects and when I’m on the floor I jump like them. I even

sing like them. When I told this story for the first time someone called me the Frogmaster given that so many frogs were constantly following me. I did not dislike the nickname and,

at any rate, it’s been the only title conferred to me in this place people call the University of Life.”

Later, when everyone was heading home, a neighbor commented to another that the

Frogmaster seemed to be unaware of the fact that many had affectionately nicknamed

him the Fulminant Fibber. A lie, when it is an obvious exaggeration, is welcomed everywhere like fresh fruit on a hot day. Lies bring joy and each acknowledged how good don Fulminante’s stories were. And they would pass the story on to others but without the grace of detail and gesture that the beloved old man employed in his execution. They would say, for example: that don Fulminante has his things. Last night he told us about the bees that love him so much they built a honeycomb on his ceiling. They built it in

such a way that the honey would drip right down into his mouth while he was lounging in his hammock.

“Wouldn’t you believe it? It so happened that one day I began to have a toothache,

it was one of these back here. The wretched thing wouldn’t leave me alone. As soon as one sharp pain struck a sharper one followed! The pains got so bad I couldn’t even close my mouth anymore. I stopped telling stories from the agony. When people came by I

had to show them a sign that read: “Can’t talk. Temporarily mute.” I forgot what it was to sleep because as soon as I closed my eyes the damned molar would indulge itself in

stabbing my jaw. It got to the point I could no longer hear thanks to a noise that filled my ears like that of a jackhammer. My face swelled up and my nose disappeared. I no longer

had a profile; my head was like a soccer ball with ears. Faced with such excruciating conditions I began trying to cure myself with any kind of plant I knew might bring relief. I

drank spearmint teas with brugmansia leaves. This allowed me to sleep. Feeling quite hopeless, I journeyed to town in search of a dentist. The dentist informed me he would

need to remove the nasty little molar and, in order to do this, it would be necessary for the




me explico cómo la conectaron con mi muela. Los puyaron y los dos muy juntos y parejos

arrancaron calle arriba hasta que sentí que la muela iba para afuera. Fue una sensación

falsa y absolutamente ilusoria. Ahí estaba la muela pegadita hasta que se rompió la conexión. El dentista me dijo, mire don Fulminante esa muela es muy suya y no quiere dejarlo, mejor quédese con ella, aunque he hecho más fuerzas que nunca y he perdido toda la mañana, no me debe nada. Me pareció justa su decisión y me quedé con la muela

que véanla está enterita y buena, además desde aquellos esfuerzos nunca más me ha molestado ni dolido.

Don Fulminante, buenos días, ¿cómo le va? Bien gracias a Dios. En la nochecita lo

espero pero, ¿a que no me va a creer?

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



swelling in my face to go down. That was no easy task. But with hope, prayer, and a few persuasive conversations with my own skin, my nose began to be visible again, the same one you see in front of you. With my face back to normal and the molar down to size,

I went back to the dentist. He assured me the procedure would not hurt too much. He gave me an injection which, let me tell you, poked me so hard that my sphincter opened

and I was quite afraid I might lose control of myself. How embarrassing that would have

been! Luckily I was able to put my right hand down and hold back what was certain to come. The dentist opened my mouth, stuck his forceps in, and began forcefully pulling.

But, alas! The molar would not budge! How stubborn that wretched tooth was! So, the

dentist called in his assistant and between the two of them they pulled together. Zilch. The vile thing refused to move. They called still more people in and they began forming a chain that ran out of the clinic and stretched three blocks until it reached the church. Each person was determined to do their best. Still nothing. Immovable as a mountain.

Someone suggested calling in a yoke of oxen. I’m still not sure how they tied them up to

my tooth. Some folks prodded the oxen and the pair practically tore the ground up until I thought I felt the tooth come out. But it was false hope, completely fictitious. The molar

was still there, unmoving. It stayed that way until the ropes broke. The dentist then said, “Look, don Fulminante, that molar is very much yours and has no desire to part from you.

It would be better if you kept it despite all our efforts to pull it out. Although we’ve spent the entire morning trying, you owe me nothing.” His decision seemed fair and so I kept

the tooth which, if you’ll have a look, is still there, healthy and whole. And what’s more, after all those struggles, it hasn’t once given me trouble or pained me in the slightest again.

Good morning, don Fulminante. How do you do? I’m doing well, thank you very

much. In the early evening I wait for him but: wouldn’t he believe it?




136 Psalmus David, Jeremiæ.


From Clementine Vulgate

Super flumina Babylonis illic sedimus et flevimus,

cum recordaremur Sion. 2

In salicibus in medio ejus

suspendimus organa nostra : 3

quia illic interrogaverunt nos, qui captivos duxerunt nos,

verba cantionum ;

et qui abduxerunt nos :

Hymnum cantate nobis de canticis Sion. 4

Quomodo cantabimus canticum Domini

in terra aliena ? 5

Si oblitus fuero tui, Jerusalem,

oblivioni detur dextera mea. 6

Adhæreat lingua mea faucibus meis,

si non meminero tui ;

si non proposuero Jerusalem in principio lætitiæ meæ. 7

Memor esto, Domine, filiorum Edom,

in die Jerusalem :

qui dicunt : Exinanite, exinanite usque ad fundamentum in ea. 8

Filia Babylonis misera ! beatus qui retribuet tibi

retributionem tuam quam retribuisti nobis. 9

Beatus qui tenebit,

et allidet parvulos tuos ad petram.

Ref: The Clementine Vulgate Project. Online. http://vulsearch.sourceforge.net/html/Ps.html Accessed: 13 Feb. 2014.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Psalm 136. Super flumina Babylonis



trans. Bernard Mackey

A Psalm of David, in Jeremiah’s time.

Over the flowing waters of Babylon, there we have sat down and we have wept, when we used to call Sion to mind. 2

On the willows at interval there

we have suspended our musical instruments: 3

they have enquired of us there, who brought us into captivity,

for words of songs;

and they who have led us away:

produce for us a psalm of praise from the hymns of Sion. 4

In what manner can we produce monody of the Lord

within a land not our own? 5

If living I having forgotten you, Jerusalem,

may my right hand be delivered to oblivion. 6

May my speech cleave in my throat,

if I am not mindful of you; if I do not set Jerusalem

in the origin of my delight. 7

Be mindful, Lord, of the sons of Edom,

in the day of Jerusalem:

they who declare: desolate, desolate take it to its foundation. 8

Wretched daughter of Babylon! fortunate be the one who

shall give back recompense to you

in what manner you have given to us. 9

Fortunate be the one who shall hold fast

and strike your little ones against a rock.





Online: La Invención de los Amigos

Víctor Hugo Díaz

Los extraños que conocemos son cada vez más jóvenes

Es igual para todos, una calle lateral

batiendo los brazos a distintas velocidades pero siempre cuesta abajo

Afluentes de una misma inundación. El mendigo se sienta al lado y hace picar el cuerpo Interrumpe el viaje con sólo tocar sus cabellos La ciudad se muestra teñida al forastero pero oculta su negra vellosidad

Siempre es mejor una vida larga llena de suturas

de espacios en blanco – cuando todo lo hecho es un error pero un error bien hecho –

Porque nunca dejas esa casa…la casa te deja. Durante la noche ensancharon la calle En el paradero reseco bajo el sol

la sombra del camión se detiene, se orina y deja su huella

Víctor Hugo Díaz was born in Santiago de Chile in 1965. Publications include: “La comarca de senos caídos” in 1987, “Doble vida” in 1989, “Lugares de uso” in 2000, “No tocar” in 2003, “Segundas intensiones” in 2007, “falta” in 2007 Antología de baja pureza in 2013. In 1988 he was awarded the Pablo Neruda Creative Writing Grant; in 2002 the National Book & Reading Council’s Creative Writing Grant and in 2011, 2012 and 2013 the South to North Writing Project’s Grant; Chilean Poetry in Mexico, supported by the Book & Reading Fund. In 2004 he won the Pablo Neruda Prize in its centenary year. Víctor Hugo Díaz is recognised as one of Chile’s most important living poetic voices. First published: Lugares de Uso, Cuarto Propio, Santiago, Chile, 2000.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: The Concoction of Friends

are getting younger

It’s the same all over, back an alley flapping your wings good oh but then the slippery slope streams bursting to floods

The bum takes a seat and makes my skin crawl

it’s enough to put me off him playing with his hair. The city dolls herself up for the visitor but keeps the dark bits well hid.

It’s all for the best the long life; well stitched up, nice white rooms – ‘cause it’s gone to the wall

Because you never leave this house…this house throws you out. They widened the street during the night on the bypass the shadow of a truck stops under the sun, pisses and leaves its mark.


trans. Keith Payne

The freaks you know

but well laid out all the same –




Spanish Las antenas de televisión son una especie casi extinta sobre los techos

Escucha el esfínter dentado de su boca, escúchalo una fiesta sin música y mucho ritmo.

Al otro lado de la puerta una procesión de evangélicos corta la luz de la tarde; hace rato que partieron Un fuerte viento baja seco y desconocido resistiendo a cuantos caminan

Nadie sabe cuándo vendrá la próxima ráfaga Igual al condenado protegido y cómodo

conectado a una maquinaria que no maneja ignorante del momento de su ejecución . Se sienta al lado y hace picar el cuerpo

El tañer de la botella desechable en la pisadera nos distrae A su edad sólo pensaba en cama y sábanas limpias: cosas que suceden en el momento justo. Se movía en la cabeza como un balazo siguiendo el rastro de la noche anterior

la ruta de desperdicios sobre la alfombra.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation TV aerials are becoming an

endangered species on the roofs.

Listen to the teething sphincter of their mouths, listen to it It’s a party with no music but plenty a’ rhythm. There’s Jesus freaks blocking the light

the other side of the door; they only just left there’s a strong wind blowing out there take the face off you.

Never know where the next blow might fall

like the condemned fella hooked up to the machine happy out

hasn’t a clue.

He takes a seat and my skin crawls. The clinking of the disposable bottles on the step distracts us when I was his age I only thought about clean sheets and a bed: one on top of the other.

It rattled about his head like a bullet

following the path of the night before the path of rubbish across the floor.






Pagan Rome o el Afiche a la Entrada de un Cine II

Víctor Hugo Díaz

Pagan Rome poseía colinas

Desde arriba la ciudad le parecía [un gran juego de videos

que la noche hace emerger. Allí fuimos exhibidos ellos todos

como una redada ante sus ojos

Bebíamos de los pequeños pechos

manados de los muros de por estos sitios Una breve postal

un destello

Altivas crestas de edificios

que los últimos celajes lamen. Pagan Rome Chile Night Club

El cuadrilátero y la llanura donde descansamos [la cabeza

El sueño de Calígula la noche anterior [a su asesinato

Cuando creyó ser uno de nosotros y bailó desnudo

sin decir palabra

First published: Doble Vida, Venus Negra, Santiago, Chile. 1989.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



Pagan Rome or the Poster at the Entrance to the Cinema II

trans. Keith Payne

Pagan Rome was built on hills

from the sky it looked like a great

video game that came out at night. They put us on show there they

all of them prey for their display.

We drank from the small breasts

that gushed from the walls for us a picture postcard

a glimmer.

Buildings soared were crowned then withered by cloud wisp.

Pagan Rome Chile Night Club

The arena and the plain where we get the head down

Caligula’s dream the night before his assassination

when he believed he was one of us and danced naked

without a word.




Online: La Mujer Que Teje II

Lado B, después de horas volverse a encontrar es tejer mirando la ventana cerrada sin cortinas.

Afuera es suave la piel del paisaje pero hay algo raro y nuevo; dulzura

caramelo cristalizado

y el mismo libretto por años turista que por un buen precio

vuelve de visita al asiento numerado

al paradero de micros y al diseño de carátula que ahora están sin afeitar cubiertos de maleza

– El tipo de la barra no entiende nada está demasiado duro

Pero el espejo te informa, él te pone al día. ¿Sabes leer las piedras?

Yo las he pateado como envases y letras vacías camino mirando al suelo.

De vez en cuando, una pausa el cigarillo que espera los labios humeante en el cenicero.

First published: Falta, Cuarto Propio, Santiago, Chile, 2007.

Víctor Hugo Díaz

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: The Woman Who Weaves II

and find her weaving at the closed window the blinds up.

Outside the hide of the landscape is sleek but something is off, something new; sweetness,

crystallized candy

and the same old libretto for years a tourist who for a good price

returns to the numbered seat,

the bus stop and the book cover they’re all overgrown now covered in weeds

– Your man at the bar hasn’t a clue he’s too thick

but the mirror tells all, that’ll keep you up to score.

I’ve kicked them around like tin cans and empty lyrics I walk with my eyes to the ground. Now and then, a pause the cigarette that awaits the lips smoking in the ashtray.


trans. Keith Payne

B Side, hours later you come round again

Do you know how to read the stones?





Online: Tiempo Agregado

Víctor Hugo Díaz

El anciano lee el diario

De vez en cuando lleva la cuchara a su boca La cotona azul desteñida se descosió bajo el brazo (en la misma mesa, frente a él

sentada ante el plato humeante, la mujer que de joven – todavía se nota – tenía el mejor cuerpo y el apetito más tímido de la fábrica) Ahora come de todo

se está recuperando lo peor ya pasó.

First published: No tocar, Cuarto Propio, Santiago, Chile, 2003.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: Time Added

The old man reads the daily

occasionally lifts the spoon to his mouth. The washed out blue shirt frayed at the seam (at the same table in front of him

sat to a steaming plate, the woman who

– and you can still see it – who had the best body and the tiniest appetite in the factory.) She eats everything now she’s getting better the worst is over.



trans. Keith Payne




Online: Las Viudas

Murió el primero de los hermanos Penetró en el muro a pausas entró negro y erecto

negra madera, vestido blanco quejido y exhalación.

Las viudas contraen nupcias en la cama vacía en ropa interior de luto no lloran de felicidad

el ramillete no es obsequio y promesa [para las solteras

Más tarde en privado las flores se marchitan flores rojas, blancas, hojas de papel se marchitan en círculo coronas secas final.

First published: No tocar, Cuarto Propio, Santiago, Chile, 2003.

Víctor Hugo Díaz

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: The Widows

The first of the brothers died

down he went into the ground

black and stiff they lowered him down the wood black, the suit white murmur breath.

The widows wed their empty beds in mourning drawers

there’s no tears of joy or bouquet gift no spinster’s promise.

Later alone the flowers fade

red flowers, white, paper leaves that fade endlessly to wreathes end.



trans. Keith Payne




Online: Los gusanos de seda

Paula Cifuentes

A pesar de la prohibición, Claudia llevó unos gusanos de seda a casa. Los sacó del

tarro de cristal donde tarde o temprano acabarían sofocándose y los metió en una caja de cartón que por su forma cuadrada habría contenido cedés y que encontró en el armario

del pasillo. Agujereó la tapa con la punta de las tijeras de la cocina. Y escondió la caja en el cesto de los juguetes, allí donde su madre nunca miraba.

La madre de Claudia decía que los animales solo eran bonitos cuando estaban sueltos

por el campo. Que las ciudades son para las personas. Pero muchos fines de semana,

cuando todavía vivían con el padre de Claudia, las llevaban a ella y a su hermana al zoo. Todos eran felices: la familia que posaba en las fotos con globos y manzanas cubiertas de caramelo, y los animales que vivían encerrados en las jaulas.

Aquel día, para que la madre no sospechara nada, Claudia se portó excepcionalmente

bien: recogió la cocina, hizo sus deberes y ayudó a bañar a su hermana pequeña. Se cepilló el pelo y se puso las zapatillas de andar por casa a pesar de que le hacían daño.

A su madre este comportamiento le pareció normal y no la felicitó. Últimamente estaba muy distraída. Se le caían las tazas de las manos mientras fregaba, se dejaba las gafas olvidadas en todas partes y cada vez que alguien llamaba por teléfono le pedía a Claudia que saliera de la cocina y que cerrara la puerta.

Esa misma noche, a su madre se le olvidó darle un beso después de que Claudia se

acostara. Tampoco dejó encendida la luz del pasillo. Toda la noche Claudia tuvo miedo de que algo saliera de debajo de la cama.

Durante los días siguientes Claudia aprovechó el tiempo que mediaba entre el

momento en el que ella regresaba del colegio y lo que tardaba su madre en ir a buscar a

la hermana a la guardería para dar de comer a los gusanos un par de hojas de morera. Claudia había decidido que los gusanos con las rayas negras eran los machos y los de cuerpo liso y blanco eran las hembras. Había tres machos y cuatro hembras. Le gustaba

sobre todo pasarles el dedo por encima porque eran suaves. En cambio, cuando los

ponía sobre su mano, resultaban más bien pegajosos. Las patas de los gusanos eran como ventosas.

Había muy poca gente en su clase que tuviera gusanos de seda. Estaba muy

orgullosa. Claudia ya no era la niña rara por pasarse el día pintando o porque sus padres no durmieran juntos. Claudia era especial porque podía hacer algo que los demás tenían

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: The Silkworms



trans. Ursula Meany Scott

Despite it being forbidden, Claudia brought some silkworms home. She took them out

of the glass jar where sooner or later they would run out of air and put them in a cardboard

box that must have contained cds going by its shape, and which she found in the hall cupboard. She pierced holes in the lid with the tip of the kitchen scissors. And she hid the box in the toy basket, where her mother would never look.

Claudia’s mother said that animals were only beautiful when they were loose in the

countryside. That cities were for people. But on many weekends when they still lived with

Claudia’s father, she and her sister used to brought by their parents to the zoo. They were all happy: the family who posed in photos with balloons and candy-covered apples, and the animals who lived shut up in the enclosures.

That day, so that her mother wouldn’t suspect anything, Claudia behaved exceptionally

well: she cleared up the kitchen, did her homework and helped bathe her little sister. She

brushed her hair and put on her slippers for walking around the house even though they hurt her. To her mother this behaviour seemed normal and she didn’t offer any praise.

Lately she was very distracted. She dropped cups when she was washing up, she left her glasses behind her all over the place and every time someone called on the telephone she asked Claudia to leave the kitchen and close the door behind her.

That same night, Claudia’s mother forgot to give her a kiss when she went to bed.

She didn’t even switch on the hall light. All night long Claudia lay there frightened that something would climb out from under the bed.

Over the following days, Claudia made the most of the gap between the moment she

arrived home from school and the time it took her mother to go and pick her sister up from

the crèche to feed her worms a couple of mulberry leaves. Claudia had decided that the worms with the black stripes were the males and those with the plain white bodies were

the females. What she liked best was running her finger over them because they were smooth. On the other hand, when she put them on her hand, they were more sticky. The worms’ legs were ribbed.

There were very few people in her class who had silkworms. She was very proud.

Claudia was no longer the strange girl because she spent the day painting or because her

parents didn’t sleep together. She was special because she could do something that the others weren’t allowed to do. The teacher had asked who could look after the silkworms




prohibido. La profesora había preguntado quién podía ocuparse de ellos mientras alzaba

un bote de cristal por encima de su cabeza lleno de gusanos queparecían macarrones

ondulantes. Y solo Claudia y otra niña habían levantado la mano.Al llegar el recreo se

sentaba en un banco esperando que alguien viniera a preguntarle lo que hacían los gusanos: cómo comían, si dormían o si eran capaces de subirse por las paredes, por

ejemplo; pero por ahora nadie se había acercado a ella. Sabía que era cuestión de

tiempo. Sabía también que en cuanto los gusanos se convirtieran en mariposas, todas las niñas querrían que Claudia las describiera.

Los gusanos comían muchísimo, pero no hacían ruido. Se movían por la caja con

rapidez y, a pesar de que Claudia no estuviera muy segura de dónde tenían los ojos, estaba convencida de que cuando ella se acercaba a la caja de cartón, los gusanos la miraban y la reconocían.

Claudia prefería la compañía de aquellos gusanos a la de su hermana. También

prefería estar con sus juguetes y con la televisión. Era mejor incluso estar con su madre,

aunque esta a veces le pidiera que por favor le dejara tranquila y que no le contara sus historias.

Los gusanos comían para ponerse gordos. A Claudia ya no le quedaba ninguna duda

de que pronto se convertirían en mariposas. Los imaginaba volando por su habitación,

posándose en la cara de su perro de peluche, en la lámpara y en el bote de los lápices

de colores. Luego los imaginaba saliendo por la ventana, hacia el patio de vecinos, en una nube de mariposas de colores. Se elevarían por las paredes amarillentas llenas de manchas de humedades y de desconchones hacia el agujero del cielo.

La hermana pequeña estaba aprendiendo a comer cosas sólidas. A veces alguien

llamaba por teléfono a la hora de cenar. Mientras la madre hablaba, Claudia vigilaba

que la hermana pequeña se comiera la galleta y los pequeños trozos de jamón sin atragantarse. La hermana pequeña utilizaba el tenedor de plástico para golpearlo todo: el vaso con el agua, la trona y la cabeza de su hermana, pero jamás cogía con él la comida. La hermana lo mordía todo. Le estaban saliendo los dientes. Después de cenar, y antes de que su madre viniera a apagarle la luz, Claudia

comprobaba que los gusanos estuvieran bien. Les pasaba el dedo por el lomo y luego los escondía de nuevo en el cesto de los juguetes.

Una mañana antes de que los gusanos se convirtieran en mariposas, su madre la

despertó con sus chillidos. Claudia se levantó corriendo. Era de noche.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



as she held up a glass container above her head full of the caterpillars that looked like

squirming macaroni. And only Claudia and one other girl had raised their hands. When break time came she sat on a bench waiting for someone to come and ask her what the

worms were doing: how they ate and whether they slept or were able to climb up the walls for example; but so far nobody had come near her. She knew it was just a matter of time. She also knew that as soon as the silkworms turned into butterflies, all the girls would want Claudia to describe them.

The silkworms ate an awful lot, but didn’t make any noise. They moved around the

box rapidly and, despite the fact that Claudia wasn’t very sure where there eyes were, she was convinced that when they saw her approaching the cardboard box, the silkworms looked at her and recognised her.

Claudia preferred the company of those silkworms to that of her sister. She also

preferred being with her toys and with the television. It was even preferable to be with her

mother, although sometimes she would ask Claudia to please leave her in peace and not tell her her stories.

The silkworms ate to get fat. Claudia had no doubt they would turn into butterflies

soon. She imagined them flying around her room, landing on her toy dog, on the light and in the box of colouring pencils. Then she imagined them flying out the window, towards the communal patio, a cloud of coloured butterflies. They would go up by the yellowy walls covered in damp stains and flaking paint toward the hole of the sky.

The little sister was learning to eat solids. Sometimes someone telephoned at dinner

time. While her mother was talking, Claudia made sure that the little sister ate the biscuit

and the little pieces of ham without choking. The little sister used the plastic fork to hit everything: the water glass, the high chair and her sister’s head, but never caught the food with it.

The sister bit everything. She had teeth coming up. After dinner, and before her mother came to put out the light, Claudia made sure that

the silkworms were alright. She ran her finger along their backs and then hid them once more in the toy basket.

One morning before the silkworms had turned into butterflies, she was woken up by

her mother’s screams. Claudia got up running. It was night time.

She had trouble recognising what her mother was pointing out to her as she held the




Le costó reconocer aquello que su madre señalaba mientras sostenía a la hermana

pequeña en sus brazos.

– ¿Sabes lo que es? – le preguntó entre gritos. Claudia odiaba que su madre chillara y se tapó los oídos. – Que si sabes lo que es. Claudia negó con la cabeza. Era mentira y mentir está muy mal. Claro que sabía lo que era: la mitad de uno de los

cuerpos de sus gusanos en la cuna de su hermana.

– Yo no puedo seguir así – los gritos de su madre se habían convertido en llantos – ,

yo no puedo hacer esto sola.

La madre de Claudia obligó a su hermana a abrir la boca. La niña tenía ya cuatro

dientes muy blancos y puntiagudos en una boca llena de encías sonrosadas y babosas. La madre de Claudia no encontró nada y se echó a llorar. Luego fue a la cocina para

hablar por teléfono. Llevaba a la hermana pequeña en brazos, apoyada en la cadera.

Claudia se acercó a la cuna para ver de cerca el resto de gusano. Era la mitad de atrás. De una hembra. Le faltaba la cabeza y los ojos. Y cuando pasó el dedo por encima, notó su piel suave ligeramente húmeda.

Claudia sabía que cuando su madre se ponía así era mejor no hacer ni decir nada, a

pesar de que quería enterrar al gusano, o tirarlo al váter. En todo caso sacarlo de la cuna.

Así que volvió a su habitación y se sentó en la cama. La madre al cabo de unos minutos se agachó frente a ella y sacó una maleta de debajo de la cama. A la madre no le daba miedo que allí hubiera monstruos.

– Mete en ella todo lo que necesites para una semana – le dijo. Con un nudo en la garganta, Claudia le preguntó. – ¿Me echas de casa? Las lágrimas se le saltaban de los ojos. Se había prometido que ella era fuerte, que

nunca más lloraría, pero aquella situación le parecía muy injusta. ¡Había sido su hermana quien se había comido su gusano!

– Os voy a mandar a las dos a casa de la abuela. Yo necesito descansar.

La abuela les daba para desayunar magdalenas. Y una leche que siempre sabía a

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



little sister in her arms. ‘Do you know what that is?’ she asked Claudia between shouts. Claudia hated when her mother screamed and covered her ears. ‘Of course you know what it is.’ Claudia shook her head. It was a lie and lying was very bad. Of course she knew what it was: half of one of the

silkworm’s bodies in her sister’s crib.

‘I can’t go on like this,’ her mother’s screaming had turned into tears, ‘I can’t do this

on my own.’

Claudia’s mother made her sister open her mouth. The little girl had four very white

and pointy teeth already in a mouth full of pink slobbery gums. Claudia’s mother found

nothing inside and burst into tears. Then she went into the kitchen to use the phone. She lifted the little sister in her arms, resting her on her hip. Claudia moved closer to the crib

to see close up what remained of the silkworm. It was the back end. Of a female. It was

missing a head and the eyes. And when she ran her finger over it, she noticed its smooth skin was slightly damp.

Claudia knew that when her mother was like this it was better not to do or say anything,

even though she wanted to bury the silkworm, or throw it down the toilet. In any case to take it out of the crib. So she went back to her room and sat on the bed. After a few

minutes her mother knelt in front of her and took out a suitcase from under the bed. Her mother was not afraid of monsters under there.

‘Put everything you need for a week in here,’ she said. With a lump in her throat, Claudia asked her, ‘Are you throwing me out of the house?’ Her eyes filled with tears. She had promised herself she was strong, that she’d never

cry again, but this situation seemed very unfair to her, it was her sister who had eaten her silkworm!

‘I’m sending the two of you to your grandmother’s house. I need to rest.’

The grandmother gave them cupcakes for breakfast. And milk that always tasted

sour. Claudia was sleeping in her dead uncle’s bedroom. On the walls were posters of aeroplanes and the wardrobes were full of clothes. One day Claudia started drawing with




rancio. Claudia dormía en la habitación del tío muerto. En las paredes había pósteres de

aviones y los armarios estaban llenos de ropa. Un día Claudia comenzó a pintar con los lápices que había en un bote encima de la mesa de estudio y la abuela entró echando

escupitajos por la boca y le dijo que nunca, nunca, nunca se atreviera a tocar nada de esa habitación. A Claudia le dio mucho miedo. Su abuela era como un monstruo que

podía matarla. Por eso Claudia dormía muy quieta en la cama y apenas probaba las magdalenas del desayuno: por si acaso las sábanas y los bollos tenían un dueño muerto o desaparecido.

El primer día la abuela le había dicho que ya era muy mayor para bañarse y que a

partir de ese día tendría que ducharse ella sola. Sentada en el váter, Claudia se ponía el

pijama y luego cenaba con el bebé y su abuela delante del televisor. La abuela siempre preparaba tortilla francesa por la noche, pero luego, cuando llamaba su madre, le obligaba a decir a Claudia que habían comido judías o pollo o un filete. La madre le preguntaba: ¿estás bien? Y ella siempre decía que sí. A la hora de dormir, Claudia cerraba la puerta, apagaba la luz y se escondía debajo

de las sábanas.

La abuela no se duchaba y no comía casi nada. Sólo salía de casa para llevar a

Claudia al colegio o para ir a misa. Los domingos la obligaba a ponerse el vestido que le picaba en el cuello y luego, a la entrada de la iglesia, le presentaba a todas sus amigas.

Todas la besaban y le estiraban de los mofletes. Le decían que era una niña muy guapa

y muy obediente. Las amigas de su abuela olían como su abuela. A sucio, a tortilla, a pis de gato. Pero esa era otra de las cosas de las que no se podía hablar con su madre: del olor de la abuela.

En la iglesia debían estar muy calladas y quietas. Su abuela le dijo a Claudia que

pidiera a Dios que ayudara a su madre. Que pidiera también por su tío, para que fuera

al cielo. Claudia prefería pedir por sus gusanos de seda, para que se convirtieran en mariposas y volaran muy lejos de allí.

La otra niña ya había tenido mariposas. Un día se había levantado y su cuarto estaba

lleno. Les había dicho a todas que eran preciosas, de colores: rojo, azul y verde y que cuando volaban eran como pequeños arco iris.

Todos los niños de la clase se reunían en torno a la otra niña para que les hablara de

sus mariposas. Y Claudia la observaba desde lejos, odiando a su madre y a su abuela

y a su hermana. Pero sobre todo a aquella niña que podía tenerlo todo mientras ella no

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



the pencils from a box on top of the desk and the grandmother came in spitting at her to

never, never, never dare touch anything from that room. She really frightened Claudia. Her grandmother was like a monster who could kill her. So Claudia would lie very still in the bed and barely taste the breakfast cupcakes, in case the sheets and the buns had a dead owner or lost soul.

On the first day the grandmother had told her that she was much too big at this stage

to have baths and that from that day on she had to shower by herself. Sitting in the

bathroom, Claudia put her pyjamas on by herself and afterwards ate her dinner with the baby and her grandmother in front of the television. The grandmother always made

French omelette at night, but later, when she called her mother, she made Claudia say that they had eaten green beans or chicken or a steak. The mother asked her, ‘Are you well?’ And she always said yes. At bedtime, Claudia closed the door, turned out the light and hid beneath the


The grandmother didn’t wash and ate barely anything. She only left the house to

bring Claudia to school or to go to mass. On Sundays she made her put on the dress that

scratched her neck and afterwards, at the entrance to the church, presented her to all her friends. They all kissed her and pinched her chubby cheeks. They told her she was a very

pretty and obedient little girl. Her grandmother’s friends smelled like her grandmother. Of dirt, omelette, cat’s piss. But this was another thing she couldn’t talk about with her mother: the grandmother’s smell.

At church they had to keep very quiet and still. Her grandmother told her that Claudia

should ask God to help her mother. That she should also pray for her uncle, so that he would go to heaven. Claudia preferred to pray for her silkworms to turn into butterflies and fly far away.

The other little girl had already got butterflies. One day she had woken up and her

room was filled with them. She had told them that they were all beautiful, coloured red, blue and green, and that when they flew, they were like little rainbows.

All the children in the class joined the other girl in turn to hear about her butterflies.

And Claudia watched them from a distance, hating her mother and her grandmother and her sister. But above all hating that little girl who could have everything while she had nothing.




tenía nada. A escondidas, Claudia pintó con los lápices de su tío muerto una mariposa amarilla y

morada en un folio que escondió debajo de la almohada. Cuando estaba triste o se sentía sola, Claudia sacaba el dibujo y lloraba. Era una mariposa muy bonita, pero le ponía

triste. Un día la abuela descubrió el dibujo y lo tiró a la basura sin decirle nada. Claudia quiso contárselo a su madre, pero la abuela le dijo que ya era la hora de colgar.

Así que cuando su madre le preguntó que si estaba bien, ella contestó que sí. Esa noche la abuela le castigó sin tortilla y sin ver la televisión. Así aprendería.

Claudia no volvió a tocar las cosas del tío muerto.

A veces, en el colegio, alguien se acordaba y le preguntaba por sus gusanos, Claudia

decía que estaban creciendo, que cada día eran más grandes, que tenían ya el tamaño de su brazo, que la reconocían, que respondían a su nombre y que todas las noches dormía abrazada a ellos.

Un día una de las niñas le dijo que era una mentirosa y Claudia le dio un mordisco.

La tutora de Claudia llamó a su madre y durante más de media hora se encerraron en un despacho. Cuando la madre de Claudia salió de él, tenía los ojos llorosos. Se la llevó a merendar y le dijo que podía pedir lo que quisiera. – ¿Estás enfadada? La madre le dio un beso en el pelo. – Claro que no, mi vida. Ha sido por mi culpa. Claudia pidió tortitas con nata y la madre ya no añadió nada más. – ¿Puedo volver a casa? – No, mi vida. Ahora te voy a llevar de vuelta a casa de la abuela y vas a ser muy


La abuela le dijo que era una niña muy mala, que las niñas que muerden se van al

infierno y la castigó sin cena y sin ducha. Al día siguiente, al llegar a clase, Claudia le dijo

a todo el mundo que los gusanos se habían muerto y que ella, su hermana y su madre

habían ido al parque a enterrarlos. Su madre los había envuelto en trapos de cocina y

jnntas habían escarbado un agujero en la arena. Luego su madre había puesto nnas cruces que había hecho con palillos y jnntas habían rezado una oración preciosa.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



In secret, Claudia drew a yellow and purple butterfly with her uncle’s pencils on a

page she hid under her pillow. When she was sad or felt lonely, Claudia would take out the drawing and cry. It was a very pretty butterfly, but it made her sad. One day the grandmother found the drawing and threw it in the bin saying nothing. Claudia wanted to tell her mother about it, but the grandmother told her it was time to hang up already. So when her mother asked her if she was well, she answered yes. That night the grandmother punished her by not giving her any omelette and not

allowing her to watch television. That way she would learn. Claudia didn’t touch her dead uncle’s things again.

Sometimes, in school, someone would remember and ask her about the silkworms.

Claudia told them that they were growing, that every day they were bigger, that they were the length of her arm now, that they recognised her, that they responded to their names and that every night she went to sleep hugging them.

One day one of the little girls told her she was a liar and Claudia bit her. Claudia’s tutor

called her mother and for more than half an hour they were shut up together in the office. When her mother came out, she had tears in her eyes. She brought her for a treat and told her she could pick anything she liked. ‘Are you mad?’ The mother kissed her hair. ‘Of course not, sweetheart. It was my fault.’ Claudia asked for pancakes with cream and her mother didn’t say anything more. ‘Can I come home?’ ‘No, love. I’m going to take you back to your grandmother’s house now and you’ll be


The grandmother told her she was a very bad little girl, that little girls who bit people

went to hell and she punished her with no dinner and no shower. The following day, when

she arrived into class, Claudia told everyone that the silkworms were dead and that she,

her sister and her mother had gone to the park to bury them. Her mother had wrapped them in tea towels and together they had dug a hole in the sand. Then her mother had

planted some crosses she’d made with matchsticks on top and together they had a said a lovely prayer.




Pero eran pocas las niñas que la escuchaban. Ese día Claudia no jugó con ninguna

en el patio. Se sentó en el poyete de ladrillo que rodeaba las esmirriadas plantas que

las monjas cultivaban para que en la foto de fin de curso el colegio pareciera muy

antiguo, muy frondoso y muy elitista. Nadie se acercó a ella tampoco. Nadie le pidió que compartiera su merienda o que le contara otra vez la historia de los gusanos.

Durante el resto de la semana sucedió lo mismo: Claudia se sentaba en el muro de

ladrillo y veía cómo sus compañeras de clase jugaban a juegos pacíficos, a juegos de señoritas.

La profesora la puso en la primera fila. No le dijo nada pero ella sabía que era para

tenerla controlada. Era una niña agresiva a la que había que vigilar. El viernes, a lasalida del colegio, la abuela la esperaba con su hermana en brazos. – Vamos – le dijo. – ¿Adónde vamos, abuela? – A la iglesia.

Claudia todavía no había hecho la primera comunión, tampoco se había confesado

nunca. Pero su abuela le dijo que por un pecado tan grandísimo como es el pegar a una amiguita hay que pedirle perdón a Dios.

Su abuela se había puesto el vestido del domingo y el maquillaje que se salía de los


La iglesia, sin todas las amigas de su abuela, con sus estolas peludas y sus abrigos

de colores, parecía un lugar tétrico. En las dos capillas laterales, humeaban velas finas como huesos. Las caras de los santos y las vírgenes tenían ojos acuosos y las manos llenas de sangre.

La abuela dejó a la hermana pequeña en un banco de madera frente a la sacristía y

cogió a Claudia por un brazo. La obligó a arrodillarse y ella se puso detrás. – Ave María purísima. – Sin pecado concebida – contestó su abuela. – En qué puedo ayudarte hija. – Mi nieta está en pecado mortal y me gustaría que la confesara. – ¿Y qué ha hecho su nieta? – Ha mordido a una niña.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



But very few of the girls listened to her. That day Claudia didn’t play with anyone in the

yard. She sat in the brick ledge that circled the scrawny plants the nuns grew so that in

the end of term photograph the school would look very old-fashioned, very leafy and very elitist. Nobody came near her either. Nobody asked her to share her lunch or tell them the story about the silkworms again.

For the rest of the week the same thing happened: Claudia sat on the brick wall and

saw how her classmates played quiet games, games for young ladies.

The teacher put her in the front row. She didn’t say anything to her, but Claudia knew

it was so that she could keep an eye on her. She was an aggressive child who needed

watching. On Friday, when she came out of school, the grandmother was waiting for her with her sister in her arms. ‘Come on,’ she said. ‘Where are we going, granny?’ ‘To church.’ Claudia still hadn’t made her first communion, so she had never confessed before.

But her grandmother told her that for a sin so huge as hurting a little friend she had to ask God’s forgiveness.

Her grandmother had put on her Sunday clothes and the make-up that smeared out

over her lips

In the absence of her grandmother’s friends with their furry shawls and coloured

overcoats, the church seemed a dismal place. In the two side chapels, there were tall candles as thin as bones burning. The faces of the saints and the virgins had watery eyes and hands covered in blood.

The grandmother left the little sister on a wooden bench facing the sacristy and

grabbed Claudia by an arm. She made her kneel down and stood behind her. ‘Hail Mary most pure.’ ‘Conceived without sin,’ her grandmother responded. ‘How may I help you, daughter?’ ‘My granddaughter is in mortal sin and I’d like her to confess.’ ‘And what did your granddaughter do?’ ‘She bit a little girl.’




El sacerdote se calló. La abuela puso sus manos sobre los hombros de Claudia. Para

que no se moviera.

– ¿Es verdad eso? – Sí – contestó ella. – Eso está muy feo. Por cosas como estas te puedes ir al infierno. ¿Estás arrepentida? – Sí – mintió ella. – Eso es lo importante. Dios siempre perdona a la gente que le pide perdón con

humildad. Pídele perdón con humildad. – Perdón.

La abuela, a la salida de la iglesia, le dio un abrazo y un beso que le dejó la mejilla

húmeda. Claudia se limpió disimuladamente. – Te voy a llevar a merendar.

La abuela se estaba terminando el café cuando se dio cuenta de que se había dejado

a la hermana pequeña olvidada en la iglesia. Se puso como loca. No dejó que Claudia

se acabara su sándwich. Lloraba, le gritaba, le decía que era su hermana, que era su responsabilidad y que debería habérselo recordado.

Afortunadamente el sacerdote había encontrado al bebé llorando y se lo había

llevado a la sacristía. Hacía poco tiempo que habían quitado el portal de belén y la cuna del niño Jesús estaba todavía allí, esperando que las monjas la guardaran en el altillo.

Había metido a la hermana entre la paja de plástico y el muñeco de porcelana, con los

dedos en forma de uve, lo había dejado sobre una mesa cubierta con un mantel blanco. La abuela se postró ante la niña y entre lágrimas decía: mi niña, mi niña. El sacerdote intentó tranquilizarla: no se preocupe, esto le puede suceder a cualquiera. La hermana

pequeña reía mientras se llevaba pajas de plástico a su boca y las masticaba con sus encías casi sin dientes.

A pesar de que la abuela le prohibiera contarle nada de aquel episodio a su madre, al

final esta se enteró. Ese mismo día recogió a sus hijas y se las llevó a casa.

La madre de Claudia tenía muy mal aspecto y olía a sudor. En la casa todo estaba

desordenado y sucio: el lavabo lleno de pelos y por el pasillo rodaban las pelusas. Afortunadamente, el cuarto de Claudia estaba tal y como lo había dejado.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



The priest went quiet. The grandmother put her hands on Claudia’s shoulders. So she

wouldn’t move.

‘Is this true?’ ‘Yes,’ she answered. ‘This is very bad. You can go to hell for something like that. Are you sorry?’ ‘Yes,’ she lied. ‘That’s the important thing. God always pardons those who ask forgiveness with


‘Forgive me.’ On her way out of the church, the grandmother hugged her and gave her a kiss that

left her cheek wet. Claudia cleaned it covertly. ‘I’m going to bring you for a treat.’

The grandmother was finishing her coffee when she realised that she’d left the little

sister behind in the church. She went crazy. She didn’t let Claudia finish her sandwich. She was crying, shouting, telling her that she was her sister, that she was her responsibility and she should have remembered her.

Thankfully the priest had found the baby crying and brought her into the sacristy. It

wasn’t long since they’d taken out the nativity scene and baby Jesus’s crib was still there,

waiting for the nuns to stow it away in the attic. He had put the sister between the plastic hay and the china figure with its v-shaped fingers and left the crib on a table spread with a white tablecloth. The grandmother fell to her knees before the child and between cries

said: my child, my child. The priest tried to calm her down: don’t worry, this could happen to anyone. The little sister was laughing while she picked up the plastic hay, put it in her mouth and chewed it with her almost tooth-free gums.

Despite the fact the grandmother had forbade her from telling her mother anything

about the incident, in the end she found out. That same day she collected her daughters and brought them home.

Claudia’s mother looked very bad and smelled dirty. The house was a total mess and

filthy: the bathroom full of hairs and dust rolling around in the hall. Thankfully Claudia’s bedroom was as she had left it.




La madre llenó la bañera y comenzó a bañar a la hermana pequeña. A Claudia le

pareció extraño que hiciera eso cuando la que olía mal no era el bebé, pero no dijo nada. Temía que si comentaba cualquier cosa volvería a mandarla a casa de la abuela.

Como sabía que su madre estaba ocupada, fue a la habitación y abrió la caja de los

gusanos. Estaba llena de pequeños cuerpos de gusano negros, como los restos que dejaba su goma de borrar sobre el cuaderno de ejercicios. Huevos rotos. Había también

unas mariposas blancas muy feas y muy pequeñas, también muertas y que en nada se parecían a las que ella había dibujado.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



The mother filled the bath and began washing the little sister. To Claudia it seemed

strange she was doing that when the baby wasn’t the one who smelled bad, but she didn’t

say anything. She was afraid that if she mentioned anything she would be sent back to the grandmother’s house again.

As she knew her mother was busy, she went into the bedroom. It was full of little black

silkworm bodies, like the marks left by her rubber on her workbook. Broken eggs. There were also some very ugly and very small white butterflies, dead too and not resembling the ones she had drawn in the slightest.



Italian • Featured Translator: O’Connor

Featured Translator: Finn O’Connor

Michelangelo 21 Chiunche nasce a morte arriva nel fuggir del tempo; e ‘l sole niuna cosa lascia viva.

Manca il dolce e quel che dole e gl’ingegni e le parole;

e le nostre antiche prole

al sole ombre, al vento un fummo. Come voi uomini fummo, lieti e tristi, come siete;

e or siàn, come vedete,

terra al sol, di vita priva.

Ogni cosa a morte arriva

Già fur gli occhi nostri interi con la luce in ogni speco;

or son voti, orrendi e neri, e ciò porta il tempo seco.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Michelangelo 21 Whoever is born

borne along Time

is bound to die –

to the end at last.

The sun leaves nothing Pleasure and anguish, with all our words

here alive.

both are lost

and all our thoughts.

And all the worth

of our families’ stocks

is a shadow in the sunlight, As are the rest of you,

as happy, as miserable.

We are not, as you see, We are dust in the sun, Everything here Once our eyes

with shining lights

so were we:

We were men.

as we were then.

deprived of life.

is bound to die.

were filled to the brim

now they are hollow, brought by Time

smoke in the breeze.

in these socketed caves; black and grim –

to this, its wake.





Italian • Featured Translator: O’Connor

Michelangelo 94 D’altrui pietoso e sol di sé spietato

nasce un vil bruto, che con pena e doglia l’altrui man veste e la suo scorza spoglia e sol per morte si può dir ben nato.

Così volesse al mie signor mie fato

vestir suo viva di mie morta spoglia

che, come serpe al sasso si discoglia,

pur per morte potria cangiar mie stato. O fussi sol la mie l’irsuta pelle

che, del suo pel contesta, fa tal gonna che con ventura stringe sì bel seno,

ch’i’ l’are’ pure il giorno; o le pianelle

che fanno a quel di lor basa e colonna, ch’i’ pur ne porterei duo nevi almeno.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Michelangelo 94 Born merciful for others and merciless with itself,

a brute so base, pathetic and so sad

it gloves its skin around another’s hand is only worth its birth in death.

I wish it could have been my fate to dress

my hide around the body of that lord, my man— like a snake that moults its skin against a slab I’d alter my condition through my death.

If only that O so lucky pelt were mine

that binds around so beautiful a breast with the plaited furs of itself, his robe –

I’d have him through the day – or, at his base, if I

could be his slippers, at the very least

I’d carry him two winters through the snow.





Italian • Featured Translator: O’Connor

Michelangelo 95 Rendete agli occhi mei, o fonte o fiume,

l’onde della non vostra e salda vena,

che più v’innalza e cresce, e con più lena che non è ‘l vostro natural costume. E tu, folt’aïr, che ‘l celeste lume

tempri a’ trist’occhi, de’ sospir mie piena, rendigli al cor mie lasso e rasserena

tua scura faccia al mie visivo acume.

Renda la terra i passi alle mie piante,

c’ancor l’erba germugli che gli è tolta,

e ‘l suono eco, già sorda a’ mie lamenti;

gli sguardi agli occhi mie tuo luce sante,

ch’i’ possa altra bellezza un’altra volta amar, po’ che di me non ti contenti.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Michelangelo 95 Fountain— river, give back to my eyes

those endless breakers, never yours,

that surge you further than your natural course,

from a vein that swells beneath you as you rise. O humid air, so heavy with my sighs—

shielding the brightness from these mournful orbs,

return them to my tired heart and clear, once more, your darkened features for my sharpened sight.

Let the soil give back my footsteps to my soles

so the grass they trampled might sprout anew, and from Echo, deaf, return my pleas,

and to my eyes the glances from your hallowed glow –

that I, now you no longer feel for me,

might love some other beauty after you.





Italian • Featured Translator: O’Connor

Online: Michelangelo 101 Perché Febo non torce e non distende

d’intorn’ a questo globo freddo e molle le braccia sua lucenti, el vulgo volle

notte chiamar quel sol che non comprende. E tant’è debol, che s’alcun accende

un picciol torchio, in quella parte tolle la vita dalla notte, e tant’è folle

che l’esca col fucil la squarcia e fende.

E s’egli è pur che qualche cosa sia,

cert’è figlia del sol e della terra;

ché l’un tien l’ombra, e l’altro sol la cria.

Ma sia che vuol, che pur chi la loda erra,

vedova, scura, in tanta gelosia,

c’una lucciola sol gli può far guerra.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: Michelangelo 101 Phoebus never stretches – never hugs with light

the whole circumference of this cold, damp, globe and so, by the rabble, we are always told that sun misunderstood is night.

She is so feeble, if a man should strike

the frailest match, her life is robbed – broken and split under flint and logs, she is so nervous and so shy.

And yet, she’s daughter to the sun and earth

if, really, she is anything at all;

the latter holds her shadow and the former gives it birth. But they’re mistaken who, for all this, call

her mighty. She’s a widow – dour, and so desperate that, for her, a firefly’s glimmer is an act of war.





Italian • Featured Translator: O’Connor

Online: Michelangelo 103 Ogni van chiuso, ogni coperto loco,

quantunche ogni materia circumscrive, serba la notte, quando il giorno vive, contro al solar suo luminoso gioco.

E s’ella è vinta pur da fiamma o foco,

da lei dal sol son discacciate e prive

con più vil cosa ancor sue specie dive,

tal c’ogni verme assai ne rompe o poco.

Quel che resta scoperto al sol, che ferve

per mille vari semi e mille piante, il fier bifolco con l’aratro assale;

ma l’ombra sol a piantar l’uomo serve.

Dunche, le notti più ch’e’ dì son sante,

quanto l’uom più d’ogni altro frutto vale.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: Michelangelo 103 Each closed off space, each covered place,

and every canopy that circumscribes

preserves the nighttime, while the day survives, from the sun and the sport of his beaming rays.

And, as she can be conquered by a fire or a flame,

her subtler hallowed features could be scattered and defiled by sunlight – or some light – or even something vile. So very much broken by the glowing of a worm. Whatever gets seeded for a thousand plants

and left under sunshine to sprout in the heat,

the forceful ploughman will harrow and chop. But only the dark can plant a man.

So the night is more sacred than the day, it seams, for man’s more valuable than other crops.





Italian • Featured Translator: O’Connor

Online: Michelangelo 151 Non ha l’ottimo artista alcun concetto

c’un marmo solo in sé non circonscriva

col suo superchio, e solo a quello arriva la man che ubbidisce all’intelletto.

Il mal ch’io fuggo, e ‘l ben ch’io mi prometto,

in te, donna leggiadra, altera e diva,

tal si nasconde; e perch’io più non viva, contraria ho l’arte al disïato effetto.

Amor dunque non ha, né tua beltate

o durezza o fortuna o gran disdegno

del mio mal colpa, o mio destino o sorte; se dentro del tuo cor morte e pietate

porti in un tempo, e che ‘l mio basso ingegno non sappia, ardendo, trarne altro che morte.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: Michelangelo 151 No brilliant artist any vision ever made

that wasn’t there already, grafted by the block, beneath excess of marble, only caught by hands obedient to the brain.

The evil I flee is hidden with my longed-for grace

in You, beloved— blessèd, fair, but when I’ve sought, dear lady, to design it so, the work I’ve wrought

has almost cut the life from me. My plans have failed. No fault of love’s or of your scorn, however harsh,

or fortune, luck, your beauty or my fate,

these evil states by which I’m so beset—

with death and mercy held together in your heart,

the only thing my lowly talents make,

however ardently they burn, is death.





Italian • Featured Translator: O’Connor

Online: Michelangelo 161 Per qual mordace lima

discresce e manca ognor tuo stanca spoglia, anima inferma? Or quando fie ti scoglia

da quella il tempo, e torni ov’eri, in cielo, candida e lieta prima,

deposto il periglioso e mortal velo? Ch’ancor ch’i’ cangi ‘l pelo per gli ultim’anni e corti,

cangiar non posso il vecchio mie antico uso, che con più giorni più mi sforza e preme. Amore, a te nol celo,

ch’i’ porto invidia a’ morti, sbigottito e confuso,

sì di sé meco l’alma trema e teme. Signor, nell’ore streme,

stendi ver’ me le tuo pietose braccia,

tomm’a me stesso e famm’un che ti piaccia.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: Michelangelo 161 What razored file, o ailing soul,

so harrows down your failing skin— frail, exhausted, sculpted thin?

When, freed by time, will you arise

To heaven where you were so happy and so fair before— This mortal veiling cast aside?

For even though I change my hide, in these few years that I have left, my oldest habit cannot change—

it weighs me downward by the day and drives me all the more. Love, from you, I will not hide

That I grow envious of the dead. Confused, I quake

beside my trembling fearful soul. O in my final hours, Lord,

make me please you. Stretch your merciful arms to me and, from myself, please set me free.





Italian • Featured Translator: O’Connor

Online: Michelangelo 247 Caro m’è ‘l sonno, e più l’esser di sasso, mentre che ‘l danno e la vergogna dura; non veder, non sentir m’è gran ventura; però non mi destar, deh, parla basso.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: Michelangelo 247 Dear to me is sleep – and dearer still to be made of stone while still such shame and injury endure; how lucky am I not to see – not to hear;

and so, I pray you, don’t disturb me – whisper low.






Online: A House Made of Stone

From Tammuz in the City, 1959

Jabra Ibrahim Jabra

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: A House Made of Stone

(1) From night to night, curtains wink and disappear into dust. The maid knocks on the door: “Two teas?” A brown knee, soft to the touch of hands and lips soothes every feeling, calms every memory, except the one no caress can smooth over: a house made of stone. Geraniums sprouted every spring around its white stairs. (Is it still there on the hill, raising up its three arches? Or has it become a pile of rubble, a home for rats and spiders, stinging nettles crawling where geraniums once grew?) The hotel maid will knock on the door to discover two bare breasts. I will put on my coat and head out to the portico, the stairs, the pavement, to the barefoot vendors waving their lottery tickets: “Five thousand dinars! Five thousand dinars!”


trans. Emily Drumsta

(Variations on a Theme)

Start again!





Trinity Journal of Literary Translation At the onset of dusk, passing through markets and among brick houses, I see red flowers on the stairs of our distant house at the top of the hill and thousands of men in cafes, thousands of grave eyes and numb hands, thousands of lips declaring: “O God, when we have nothing grace us with blessings of plenitude! When we remember, inject us with a shot of forgetting. And when we hunger, rain down on us the fruits of fantasy.”

(2) Seer, dear seer, what do you read on the palm of my hand? I see all your grief in a mulberry leaf your enemies die say inshallah… In this skin worn dry from holding cups and axes? Perils… travels… Libraries… fables… Fortune-teller, don’t lie, what do you see in this deeply creased hand, these fleshy thick fingers?






Trinity Journal of Literary Translation Funerals and marriages… A dark-skinned woman loves you, and a blonde across the sea… Dinars… coins… Over this cluster of calamities that rally and conspire angels hover in circles flies hover in swarms reducing love and death to concepts like a cackle in the trembling of Baghdad’s summer nights. In the green hills there are houses of amber and ruby And our house at the top of the hill? Stone laid upon stone white in the light of the morning green in the light of the moon And around the house? Brambles and blood poison and thorns.






Trinity Journal of Literary Translation (3) On the day death came to visit— we were three, night peered down from its summit, a moon so big it could have been carved from ice. Laying on our stomachs behind a boulder, we searched through the dirt for some grim horizon with rifles in our hands. The enemy fired a bullet, then another, another. They buzzed past, the valley returning their echo. Someone said: “There is no longer any truth in the world save this body, the wolves who will eat it, and the house that I see despite the mountains, standing tall amidst the trees where the enemy picks our pomegranates and figs.” Then he suddenly climbed the boulder, stood straight as a rail, and showered the enemy with bullets. We saw them falling, one, then another, another, their cries rending the light of the moon. We crawled, retreating ten meters on the land of stones, of grapes, of gold. But death had come to visit. We heard a gasp from the dirt, a stone-splintering cry.






Trinity Journal of Literary Translation The shower grew silent, bathed as it was in blood and the gasp and the cry were cut off at “our home—”

(4) Our home at the top of the hill stone laid upon stone white in the light of the afternoon sun green in the light of the moon. From night to night, all we can do is wait: O God, grace us grace us recompense for our waiting.






Online: Onward, onward, noble steed

From The Closed Circuit, 1964

Jabra Ibrahim Jabra

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: Onward, onward, noble steed

Onward, onward, noble steed

to the place my face can follow

to the place where the noontime hour illuminates the night.

Forward, backward, onward, what do we care

if the arrow points here or there for all arrows are traitors in the horizons’ circuit.

Onward, onward, noble steed, train with a driver gone mad,

whistling through night’s gardens, happy for no reason,

lost in the labyrinth, my steed. Whinny, rejoice,

not for love, not for anything,

hurrying toward your fate, rejoice toward birth, rejoice.

Hyenas howl with lust,

and a sleepless young beauty shrieks at the pages of a story

you crushed beneath your hooves and a poem onto which you liberally emptied

the contents of your bladder. Whinny, rejoice, and gallop on

among the spears, gallop on

between the teeth of killers, my steed, gallop on over the faces of the dead



trans. Emily Drumsta




Trinity Journal of Literary Translation even if they’re the faces of our fathers

and the killers—the killers are friends from the road. Onward, onward

from hunger to hunger

and from hunger to craving. Whinny, go faster,

drive temptation, emptiness

and weariness from your haunches, gallop onward, onward

between the never-ending walls. The pit at the end is the same as the one at the beginning

and along the way, to deceive the traveler there are holes—so don’t be deceived: the path will not be straight

in the morning, and the branches will not reach the abodes of primordial spring.

If you need to stop while I’m riding, my steed, then stop at the ruins

where fortresses impeded my pleasure—

I love the ruins

the eyes of dancers fluttering

between the cracks in the marble,

and victors peering out over balconies, contented with the faces of fifty thousand dead

seventy thousand, a thousand thousand (who can keep track in the labyrinth, my steed?)

We left behind us mouths and breasts burning with intimate fire

and the fragrance of pines in the first rains of winter. Did we not plant kisses among these stones and gush with passion every night among these ruins, while death






Trinity Journal of Literary Translation called to us from every direction like the songs of the Sirens?

If you need to stop, then stop for a while where lips

are more stubborn than daylight,

more lasting than the heads of the pimps and the mouths of cannons. Then gallop onward,

to the plains and canyon roads, and return to foreign streets

where radios howl—

a funeral of the living for the living.






Online: La mer

Loin des grands rochers noirs que baise la marée, La mer calme, la mer au murmure endormeur, Au large, tout là-bas, lente s’est retirée,

Et son sanglot d’amour dans l’air du soir se meurt. La mer fauve, la mer vierge, la mer sauvage, Au profond de son lit de nacre inviolé

Redescend, pour dormir, loin, bien loin du rivage, Sous le seul regard pur du doux ciel étoilé.

La mer aime le ciel : c’est pour mieux lui redire, À l’écart, en secret, son immense tourment,

Que la fauve amoureuse, au large se retire,

Dans son lit de corail, d’ambre et de diamant. Et la brise n’apporte à la terre jalouse,

Qu’un souffle chuchoteur, vague, délicieux :

L’âme des océans frémit comme une épouse Sous le chaste baiser des impassibles cieux.

Nérée Beauchemin. Les Floraisons matutinales.

Nérée Beauchemin

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: The Sea


trans. Caroline Boreham

Far from the large black rocks that the tide caresses, The calm sea, the sea of lulling murmurs,

Over there, off the coast, slowly draws back.

And her sob of love in the evening air dies off. The wild sea, the virgin sea, the untamed sea,

To the depths of her inviolate mother-of-pearl bed,

Returns to sleep, far away, very far away from the shore, Beneath the single pure gaze of the soft starry sky.

The sea loves the sky: it is to better tell him, once more, Aside, in secret, of her immense torment

That the wild enamoured beast pulls back from the shore Into her bed of coral, amber and diamond.

And the breeze brings the jealous earth nothing But a whispering breath; vague, teasing.

The soul of the oceans trembles like a wife


Under the chaste kiss of the impassive heavens.



Modern Greek

Σπίτι με Kήπον

Ήθελα να ’χω ένα σπίτι εξοχικό

μ’ έναν πολύ μεγάλο κήπο— όχι τόσο

για τα λουλούδια, για τα δένδρα, και τες πρασινάδες (βέβαια να βρίσκονται κι αυτά· είν’ ευμορφότατα) αλλά για να ’χω ζώα. A να ’χω ζώα!

Τουλάχιστον επτά γάτες— οι δυο κατάμαυρες, και δυο σαν χιόνι κάτασπρες, για την αντίθεσι. Έναν σπουδαίο παπαγάλο, να τον αγρικώ

να λέγει πράγματα μ’ έμφασι και πεποίθησιν. Aπό σκυλιά, πιστεύω τρία θα μ’ έφθαναν.

Θα ’θελα και δυο άλογα (καλά είναι τ’ αλογάκια). Κι εξ άπαντος τρία, τέσσαρα απ’ τ’ αξιόλογα, τα συμπαθητικά εκείνα ζώα, τα γαϊδούρια,

να κάθονται οκνά, να χαίροντ’ οι κεφάλες των.


CP Cavafy

From Κρυμμένα Ποιήματα 1877;-1923, Ίκαρος 1993

Κ.Π. Καβάφης1

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

House with a Garden


trans. Caroline Boreham

I’d like to have a country house

With a very big garden—not so much

For the flowers, for the trees, and the greenery

(certainly those should be found there as well; they’re gorgeous little things1) But to have animals. Oh but to have animals! At least seven cats—two completely black,

And two like snow, completely white, for the contrast. A magnificent parrot, so that I might listen

To it say things with emphasis and conviction.

Concerning dogs, I think three would suffice me.

I would also like two horses (horseys are great fun). And undoubtedly three, four of those invaluable, Those endearing animals, the donkeys,

So that they may sit idly and hold their heads up contentedly2.

1 2

Ευμορφότατα να χαίροντ’ οι κεφάλες των




Modern Greek

Online: Ένας Γέρος

Στου καφενείου του βοερού το μέσα μέρος σκυμένος στο τραπέζι κάθετ’ ένας γέρος·

με μιαν εφημερίδα εμπρός του, χωρίς συντροφιά. Και μες των άθλιων γηρατειών την καταφρόνια σκέπτεται πόσο λίγο χάρηκε τα χρόνια

που είχε και δύναμι, και λόγο, κ’ εμορφιά. Ξέρει που γέρασε πολύ· το νοιώθει, το κυττάζει. Κ’ εν τούτοις ο καιρός που ήταν νέος μοιάζει

σαν χθες. Τι διάστημα μικρό, τι διάστημα μικρό. Και συλλογιέται η Φρόνησις πως τον εγέλα·

και πως την εμπιστεύονταν πάντα — τι τρέλλα! —

την ψεύτρα που έλεγε· «Aύριο. Έχεις πολύν καιρό.» Θυμάται ορμές που βάσταγε· και πόση χαρά θυσίαζε. Την άμυαλή του γνώσι

κάθ’ ευκαιρία χαμένη τώρα την εμπαίζει. .... Μα απ’ το πολύ να σκέπτεται και να θυμάται ο γέρος εζαλίσθηκε. Κι αποκοιμάται

στου καφενείου ακουμπισμένος το τραπέζι.

From Ποιήματα 1897-1933, Ίκαρος 1984

Κ.Π. Καβάφης

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: An Old Man

An old man sits over the table bent

With a magazine in front of him, without company. And within the contempt of his grim old age

He thinks of how little he delighted in the years

When he had yet strength, and wits, and beauty. He knows he’s aged a lot; he feels it, he looks at it.

In this sense, the time of his youth could have been Yesterday. ΅What a short while, what a short while. And he recalls Prudence, how she duped him

And how he had trusted her invariably—what madness!—

That liar who always said: “Tomorrow. You have lots of time.” He remembers urges he endured and how

Much joy he sacrificed. His senseless mind now Mocking every lost opportunity.

…But from the brunt of all this thinking and remembering In the café inclined over the table.


trans. Caroline Boreham

Deep in the café’s noisy end

The old man dizzied himself. And he lulls to sleep






Shi Zhecun

怎么,她竟抢先去买票了吗?这是我的羞耻,这个人不是在看着我吗,这秃 顶的俄国人?这女人也把眼光钉在我脸上了。是的,还有这个人也把衔着的雪茄 烟取下来,看着我了。他们都看着我。不错,我能够懂得他们的意思。他们是有 点看轻我了,不,是嘲笑我。我不懂她为什么要抢先去买票?……她难道不知道 这会使我觉得难受吗?我是一个男子,一个绅士,有人看见过一个男子陪了一个 女子,——不管是哪一等女子,——去看电影,而由那个女子来买票的吗?没有 的;我自己也从来没有看见过。……我脸上热得很呢,大概脸色一定已经红得很 了。这里没有镜子吗?不然倒可以自己照一下。……啊,这个人竟公然对我笑起 来了!你敢这样的侮辱我吗?你难道没有看见她突然抢到卖票窗口去买票吗?这 是我没有预防到的,谁想到会有这样的事呢?啊,我受不下了,我要回身走出这 个门,让我到外面阶石上去站一会儿罢。……怎么,还没有买到吗?人多么挤! 我真不懂她为什么要这样在挤拥的人群中挣扎着去买票,难道她不愿意让我来请 她看电影吗?……那么昨晚为什么愿意的呢?为什么昨晚在我送她到门口的时候 允许我今天去邀她出来的呢,难道她以为今天应当由她来回请我了吗?……哼! 如果她真有这种思想,我看我们以后也尽可以彼此不必你请我我请你了,大家不 来往,多干脆!难道我是因为要她回请而请她看电影的吗?……难道,……或许她 觉得老是让我请她玩不好意思,所以今天决意要由她来买票,作为撑持面子的表 示吗?……是的,这倒是很可能的,女人常会有这种思想,女人有时候是很高傲 的。……怎么啦,还没有买到戏票吗,我何不挤上前去抢买了呢,难道我安心受 着这许多人的眼光的讪笑吗?我应该上前去,她未必已经买到了戏票。这里的价 目是怎样的?……楼下六角,楼上呢?这个人的头真可恶,看不见了,大概总是 八角吧。怎么,她在走过来了。她已经买到了戏票了。奇怪,我怎样没有看见她 呢?她从什么地方买来的戏票?

This translation is of an enjoyable excerpt from At the Grand Theatre in Paris, a short story by Shi Zhecun. It was written in the 1930’s, but showcases a very modern, quick-witted, Easton-Ellis/Palahniuk-esque storytelling style: along with such writers’ trademark, lovably neurotic, hero/narrator. Original text taken from http://vip.book.sina.com.cn/chapter/5050455/10038434.html Accessed January 9, 2014.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

At the Grand Theatre in Paris



trans. Aaron Carr

Why is it that she has to push in front to buy the tickets? I’m ashamed. Is this person

not looking at me? This bald-headed Russian. And this woman: looking me right in the face. It’s true. And this chap, with the cigar in his mouth: looking at me. They’re all looking

at me. Yeah, I know what they’re thinking. They’re looking down on me. No, they’re

mocking me. I don’t understand why she has to push in front to get the tickets. Did she not

know I’d be offended by it? I’m a man. A gentleman. Has anyone ever seen a man taking a

woman – regardless what kind of woman she may be – to see a film, then letting her pay

for the tickets? Never. I, myself, certainly never have. I can feel my face getting hot: I’ve probably already gone bright red. Are there no mirrors in here? If not, how can one look at oneself? Christ, this person’s blatantly laughing at me! You dare to humiliate me in this

way? Did you not see her suddenly rush to the counter to buy the tickets? I had no way of

stopping it. Who expects for such a thing to happen? Ah, I can’t take it. I just want to take

myself back outside: stand for a while on the stairs. How has she still not got the tickets yet? It’s packed in here! I don’t get why she would struggle through such a crowd to buy the tickets. Is she really that unwilling to let me take her to the movies?

If so, then why was she willing last night? Why, last night, when I walked her to her

door, did she allow for me to take her out today? Did she think that, today, she would

return the favour? Preposterous! If she really did have such a thing in mind, I can just see us in the future: you treat me, I treat you, no one paying any mind. How straightforward!

Does she think that I took her to see a film because I wanted to be treated in return? Could it be? Or perhaps she feels embarrassed at the prospect of always letting me take

her out, and therefore decided that she’d buy the tickets today so as to not lose face? Yes, it’s certainly possible. Women often have these kinds of ideas. They can indeed be very much full of themselves at times. What on earth’s going on? Has she still not bought

the tickets? Why don’t I just squeeze to the front and buy the tickets myself? Would that not relieve me of all these peoples’ ridicule? I ought to. She still may not have got the

tickets yet. What are the prices like in this place? Downstairs: six Jiao1. And upstairs?

This damned head is in the way. I can’t see a thing. It’s probably eight Jiao. What? She’s walking over. She’s already bought the tickets. That’s very odd: how did not see her?

Oh well, never mind. Let’s go in. But, why has she give both thickets to me? Hold 1 The Jiao is a small unit of Chinese currency, currently equivalent to about one pence. Here, the six Jiao referred to is supposedly reflective of average European cinema ticket prices in the 1930s, when this story was written.




好,算了,进去罢。但她为什么把两张戏票都交给我?……啊,这是circle 票!为什么她这样闹阔?……我懂了,这是她对于我前两天买楼座票的不满意的 表示。这是更侮辱我了。我决不能忍受!我情愿和她断绝了友谊,但我决不能接 受这戏票了!不,我不再愿意陪她一块儿看电影了。什么都不,逛公园,吃冰, 永远不! ~ ——这个人叫什么名字? 谁?她要问的是谁?她问我影片中的人物吗。她大概是指这个扮副官的。这 是谁?……我可记不起来了,他的名字是常常在嘴边的。怎么一时竟会说不出来 呢。……他是俄国的大明星,我知道。……噢,有了: ——你问这个扮副官的吗?这是伊凡·摩犹金,俄国大明星。 ——不错,伊凡·摩犹金,是他,我记得了。影片里常常看见他的,我很喜 欢他。 怎么,很喜欢他?……像摩犹金这样的严冷,难道中国女人竟会得喜欢他的 吗?假的,我不相信,也许是范伦铁诺,那倒是可能的。凡是扮串小生的戏子最 容易获得女人,真的。……但影戏是没有什么危险的,至少也可以说外国影戏是 没有什么大关系的。你喜欢他吗?但他怎么会知道?你看,他和另外一个女人接 吻了,你不觉得妒忌吗?哈哈—Nonsense! 我觉得她在看着我。不是刚才那样的只是斜着眼看了,现在她索性回过头来 看了。这是什么意思?我要不要也斜过去接触着她的眼光?……不必罢,或许这 会得使她觉得羞窘的。但她显然是在笑了。是的,我觉得她的确在看着我笑。我 有什么好笑的地方?难道她懂得了我那种怪思想吗?……那原是闹着玩的。我何 不就旋转头去和她打个照面呢?我应当很快的旋转去,让她躲避不了,于是我可 以问她为什么看了我笑…… ——笑什么? 哦,竟被我捉住了。她不是显得好像很窘了吗?看她怎样回答。 ——笑你。 怎么,就只这样的回答吗?笑我,这我已经知道了,何必你自己说。但我要 知道你为什么笑我,我有什么地方会使你发笑呢?我倒再要问问她: ——笑我什么?

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



on a minute… These are Circle tickets! Why is she doing this! I get it: this is to do with my displeasure over getting only Lower Seat tickets two days ago. This is even more

humiliating! I can’t stand it! I would rather break up with her than accept these tickets! No, I’m never taking her to see a film again. Or anywhere, for that matter. The park; to dinner:


~ “What’s this person’s name?” Who? Who is she talking about? Is she asking about the character in the movie?

She’s probably referring to the adjutant. Who is that? I can’t remember. His name is

usually on the tip of my tongue. Why can I not remember now? He’s a big Russian star, I know. Ah, got it:

“Are you talking about the adjutant? That’s Ivan Mozzhukhin, a famous Russian film


“Oh yeah, it’s him: Ivan Mozzhukhin. I remember now. I’ve often seen him in films. I

really like him.”

What? Like him? How can a Chinese woman actually like someone as cold and stern

as Mozzhukhin? As if! I don’t believe it. Maybe if it was Valentino, then possibly. All of the major actors get women easily. It’s true. But there’s no danger in movies, really. At least not like in the foreign films. You like him? Well, how is he supposed to know? Look, he’s kissing another woman: are you jealous? Haha… Nonsense!

I can feel her looking at me. Not like the glance she gave me just then: now, she’s

actually turned her head to look at me. What does this mean? Shall I turn to meet her

gaze? No, maybe that would make her feel awkward. But she’s clearly laughing at me. It’s true: I can sense her looking at me, and laughing. What about me does she find so amusing? Could it be that she understands my strange way of thinking? Now, that’s a

joke! Why don’t I turn my head and confront her? I ought to turn really fast, so that she has no way of avoiding: that way, I can ask why she’s looking at me and laughing. “What are you laughing at?” Ah, that caught her off guard. Is she not embarrassed now? Let’s see how she


“You.” What? What kind of response is that? Me? I already know that, you don’t need to spell




——笑你看电影的样子,开着嘴,好像发呆了。 奇怪!开着嘴,好像发呆了。哪里来的话。我从来不这样的。今天也不曾这 样,我自己一点也不觉得。假话,又是假话!女人们专说假话。真机警。她一定 不是为了这个缘故而笑的。她一定是毫无理由的。我懂得。大概她总不免觉得徒 然看着这影戏也是很无聊的。本来,在我们这种情形里,如果大家真的规规矩矩 地呆看着银幕,那还有什么意味!干脆的,到这里来总不过是利用一些黑暗罢 了。有许多动作和说话的确是需要黑暗的。瞧,她又在将身子顷斜向我这边来 了。这完全露出了破绽。如果说是为了座位太斜对了银幕的缘故,那是应当向右 边侧转去的,她显然是故意的把身子靠上我的肩膀了。让我把身子也凑过去一 些,看她退让不退让。……天,她一动也不动,她可觉得我的动作?难道她竟很 有心着吗?不错,这两天来,她从来没有拒绝我的表示。我为什么还不敢呢。我 太弱了。我爱她,我已经爱她了啊!但是,我怎么能告诉她呢?她会得爱一个已 经结婚了的男子吗?我怕……我怕我如果告诉了她,一些些,只要稍微告诉她一 些些,她就会跑了的。她会永远不再见我,连一点平常的友谊都会消灭了的…… “休息”。已经休息了。半本影戏已经做过了。好快。我一点也没有看。

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



it out for me. I want to know why you’re laughing at me. What part of me is it that you find so amusing? I’ll ask her again.

“What are you laughing at me for?” “I’m laughing at the way you’re watching the film: open-mouthed, gawping, like

you’re in a trance.”

Ridiculous! Gawping, like I’m in a trance? Where did that come from? I’m never like

that. Certainly not today, I’m sure of it. Rubbish, absolute nonsense. Women always talk nonsense. Very clever: that’s definitely not the reason she was laughing. She’s got no excuse whatsoever. I know. It’s probably just that she can’t sit through the movie without getting bored. It goes without saying that, in these circumstances, if everyone is behaving

as they should and watching the movie properly, then where’s the fun in that! It’s simple. People come here to take advantage of the dark.

There are many things that can be done or said only in darkness. Look, she’s leaning

her body towards me. This completely reveals what’s going on. If she says the reason

is that her seat is slanted too much towards the screen, then she should simply turn to the right. It’s obvious that she’s intentionally trying to lean on me. Let’s lean in closer too: see if she’ll give in. My God! She didn’t move a bit! Does she not sense what I’m doing?

Could it be that all of this is deliberate? Saying that, though, these last two days, she’s not once rejected my affections. Why do I still dare not try? I’m so weak. I love her. I love her

already! But, how do I tell her that? Will she be able to accept the love of a married man? I’m afraid. I’m afraid that if I tell her – even if I just hint at it little by little – she’ll run. She’ll never want to see me again, not even as mere friends. “Interval.” It’s the interval already. Half the movie’s already gone. That was quick. I didn’t manage

to catch any of it.




Време разделно

Антон Дончев1

И когато видях зазиданата пещера и разбрах, че хората вътре са мъртви, минах

отново през пожарището и главата ми се завъртя, както се въртяха стъблата на гората от пушеци. И светът се виеше пред очите ми. още повече, като го гледах през сълзи.

Отидох при хората от Превала. А после научихме как турците намерили пещерата, която се нарича сега

Челевещница. Една жена, като обезумяла от глад, тръгнала с двегодишното си

дете да дири гъби и турците я хванали, биели я да каже къде е пещерата, а тя само плачела. Тогава съблекли детето й голо. Като допрели до него два голи ножа.

А тя не тръгвала, само съвсем загубила разум и викала за помощ. И хората от

Челевещница, като чули гласа й, та го и познали, помислили, че е срещнала звяр, и излезли на помощ. Турците видели къде е пещерата, обградили я и викнали

на хората да се предадат. А тримата ранени овчари имали още шепа барут, та гръмнали отвътре и убили първия турчин. И турците натрупали елови клони и ги запалили, и димът теглел навътре, ала се чували само писъци и никой не излизал.

Тогава зазидали пещерата и хората чували как тракат камъните и плачели, и никой не излязъл. А турците наклали огромен огън пред пещерата и безумната

майка с двегодишното дете се хвърлила в него, като искала да влезе вътре при другите. И вече не се чували писъци, защото огънят се вдигнал до небето. Дали турците побеснели от пламъците, та турили огън на гората, за да изгорят 1

Anton Donchev

This chapter has been taken from Anton Donchev’s novel Vreme Razdelno (Time of Secession), which has often been wrongly translated as Time of Violence, just as its cinematographic alter ego from 1988. The novel was written in forty-one days (according to Donchev) and published in 1964. Time of Secession offers a dark and oppressive view of the forceful Islamisation of the Rodopean locality Elindenya, carried out by the Turkish local administration in 1688. The region has been selected by the Ottoman rulers as an example of Christian conversion, when the initially pacific tactics fail, violence, revolt and the massacre ensue upon the locals. The novel is constructed through the subtle chiaroscuro of the voices of two narrators: father Aligorko, an Orthodox monk who reflects the Bulgarian perspective of the conflict often questioning their determination to face death over their loyalty to Christianity. The second narrator is a French court poet known as “The Venetian” captured by the Ottoman authorities and a new convert Islam who gives a glimpse of the Turkish perspective as he himself is a survivor of the religious purge through conversion.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Time of Sucession



trans. Venina Kalistratova

When I saw the walled up cave and I realised that the people inside were dead, I

revisited the site of the holocaust, my head started spinning in that same way in which the heartwoods of the forest were distorted by the smoke. And the world was spinning in front of my eyes, my sight was cloaked by tears. I travelled to the people of Prevala. It was not but later that we learnt that the Turks had found the cave, which is now called

Cheleveshtniza. A woman, driven mad by hunger, went through the forest with her two

year old son looking for mushrooms and was caught by the gang. They beat her so she would reveal the whereabouts of the cave, yet all she did was wailing. Then they stripped

her child naked and threatened him with knives. She did not snitch yet cried for help even more hysterically. When those in the cave heard her shouting,recognised her voice

and feared she had encountered some wild beast in her wanderings then they ran to her

rescue. The Turkish hoard scouted the location of the cave, surrounded it and called the

refugees to surrender. Three wounded shepherds who still had a handful of powder, took a shot from within and wiped out the Turk standing foremost in the gang. The hosts piled

up fir branches and set them on fire, and even though the smoke was gathering inside, only screams were heard, nobody came out. The Turkish soldiers made a pyre at the entrance of the cave and threw the hysterical mother and her two year old, for she was

eager to join the others inside. Screams cold no longer be heard as the fire reached the firmament. Whether the host driven mad by the fire set ablaze the forest, in a bid to scorch

all the roods on the trees, or the holocaust of the cave leapt from one tree to another, was ever a mystery, but they themselves barely escaped from the flaming woods. So perished in the cave of Cheleveshtniza one– hundred innocent souls.

When the people of Prevala saw me, thought they were seeing a ghost, for they

reckoned me amongst those inside the cave. Their eyes were red from crying, as if they

had been smoked by the fire. They had been watching the fire from Prevala. Grasping me with joy they would ask:

–Is that you, father? Where have you been? And I would answer: –I was in the deep of the forest, then I had an epiphany. God himself spoke to me

and said: “ Go, give yourselves to the Turks and receive their faith. For it is all the same whether you shall call me Allah or Jesus, as long as you have a god.”

An upheaval broke out, some tried to kill me, others warded them off. Then Momchil,

lying under a tree, strove to rise yet he stumbled on account of his broken leg, shouting




кръстовете по дърветата, или огънят пред пещерата прехвръквал от дърво на

дърво, не се разбрало, ала турците едва се измъкнали от пламналата гора. Тъй загинали сто и петдесет невинни души в пещерата Челевещница.

Когато хората от Превала ме видяха да излизам от гората, помислиха, че

виждат призрак, защото ме знаеха в пещерата. И очите им още бяха червени от плач, като че ли сами бяха опушени от огъня. Те бяха гледали пожара от Превала. И като ме пипаха, радваха ми се и викаха: — Ти ли си, отче? Къде беше? И аз им казах:

— Бях вдън горите, та видях знамение. И сам бог ми каза: „Идете, предайте се

на турците и приемете тяхната вяра. Защото е все едно дали ми викат аллах, или Исус. Само имайте бог.“

И се вдигна глъчка, и едни искаха да ме убият, а други ме бранеха. И Момчил,

който лежеше под едно дърво, рече да стане; ала се тръшна заради счупения си крак и викаше с все сила:

— Дръпнете се да го устреля! И когато хората се дръпнаха, видях го в дъното на улея от две човешки стени

да лежи на една страна. Опираше се на левия лакът . а в десницата си държеше пищов. И хубав беше Момчил, като ангелотмъстител с огнени очи, хлътнали под прави вежди — със стисната широка уста и с мършави бузи, хлътнали с две прави

черти върху лицето му. И двете жили на силния му врат тупаха, а от превръзката на главата му капеше кръв. И му рекох: — Убий ме, ала пусни хората да слязат в селата. Всеки бог е бог на живите и

тия, които слизат в гроба, не славословят никой бог.

А двете му черни очи ме пронизаха, и черното око на пищова ме гледаше в

челото. После и трите очи се затвориха и Момчил удари пищова в земята, та заплака. И викаше:

— Защо ме извади от Дупката? И после ми се молеше: — Отче! Баща ми! Отче! Другите! Рекох му: — Слава на Манол и другите, ала някои трябва да останат живи, за да

разправят за делата им и да тачат паметта им.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



with all his might: – Step aside so I can shoot him myself. And when the crowd separated, I saw him down the back of the alley leaning on his

side, shielded by the mass of two human figures. He was standing on his left leg, holding

the gun in the right hand. Handsome was Momchil, with fiery eyes like an archangel avenger, embedded under straight eyebrows, his wide mouth shut tight, his cheeks

emaciated, squalid with two straight furrows on his face. Both tendons of his prominent neck were vibrating, blood was dripping from the bandages around his head. I said to him: – Kill me but let the people go down to their villages. Every god is such to the ones

who live, those who descend to the grave, worship no one.

His black eyes transfixed me, that of his gun was looking straight at my forehead.

Then all three eyes closed, Momchil dropped the gun against the ground and burst into tears. He kept muttering:

– Why did you take me out of the Hole? Then he cried: What about my father, what about the others? – Glory to Manol and the others, but at least some need to survive so they can give

witness of their deeds and keep their memory alive.

The crowds again surrounded me from both sides, some with open arms, others with

knives. The priest of Prosoyna saved me by shouting:

– Stop! How dare you to go against the will of God? This is a holy man. And behind us, two priests, two hundred souls followed from the hill above Prevala,

and a hundred others bid us farewell among cries and curses. And brother was torn from

his brother, father from his son. I was leading the backsliders. Someone from Prevala took a shot killing the last of the array. It was me he could not kill, for I walked ahead.

As we were swaying down the road, we kept staring at the ground. And my sight

galloped all over the straight fir trees, my back erect. I started walking upright just as a fir tree. Then the people, as they saw that, cheered up for they reckoned that a man could not walk towards ignominy with his head upright.

As I was gazing at the forest, I saw a cross carved on a tall tree in the middle of the

grove, a rood just like those in the holy woods of Cheleveshtniza. Then I stray off my path,

I stuck my lips to the cross as if trying to suck out the pitch from the bark, yet the people




И хората отново се нахвърлиха от двете ми страни, едните с отворени длани,

другите с ножове. Спаси ме попът на Просойна, като викаше:

— Стойте! Нима ще тръгнете против волята божия? Това е свят човек. А виждах го, че трепере и иска да спаси клетия си живот. И след нас, двамата попове, тръгнаха двеста души от стана над Превала, а

стотина ни изпратиха с плачове и клетви. И брат се делеше от брата, и син от

баща си. Аз водех отстъпниците. И един от Превала стреля, та уби последния от редицата. Мене не можа да убие, защото вървях първи.

И като се люшкахме по пътя надолу, гледахме земята. И погледът ми тръгна

по правите борове, и духът ми тръгна след погледа ми, гърбът ми се изправи и вече вървях изправен като бор. А хората, като видяха това, ободриха се, защото си рекоха, че човек не може да върви към позор с изправено чело.

И като гледах боровете, на едно високо дърво пред поляната над Просойна

видях издълбан кръст, като кръстовете в свещената гора на Челевещница. И се отбих от пътя, та залепих устни в кръста, все едно че смучех смолата на бора. Ала хората ме разбраха и всеки мина и се прости с кръста, и майките подвигнаха нагоре невръстните си деца.

Оттогава не съм целувал кръст.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



understood me and each one of them came and bid farewell to the cross, the mothers lifted their children high above their heads.

Since that day, I have never kissed a cross.




Online: Aviva-No

Shimon Adaf

*** ‫שֶ ׁל מִ י הַ ְזּמַ ן הַ ּזֶה‬ ‫ צֹובֵר הַ ּק ֹר‬,‫ּכְמֹו מַ ּתָ כֹות‬ .‫ו ְהַ ּב ְָרקִ ים‬ ,‫וְלָּמָ ה ׁשֶ אֶ חְ י ֶה אֹותֹו‬ ‫מֻ ּנָח עַ ל הֶ חָ זֶה‬ ‫ּכָל נִסְ יֹון מִ ּלּוט‬ .‫עֹורקִ ים‬ ְ ָ‫י ִקְ ַרע אֶ ת ַאב ה‬ )1 ,‫(ּדָ בָר‬ .‫ו‬ ‫הָ י ָה לָּה לֵב ָּכבֵד מִ ן הָ אֹוקְ י ָנֹוס‬ ‫לְאִ ּמִ י‬ .‫ו ְהּוא ׁשָ קַ ע‬ ?‫אַ ּתֶ ם חָ שִ ׁים ּבָעֲ צָמֹות אֶ ת הַ מִ ּדְ ָבּר‬ ‫ ּתְ קּועֹות‬,‫אֶ ת הַ סְ ּפִ ינֹות טְ בּועֹות‬

These poems are taken from the Israeli poet Shimon Adaf’s collection Aviva-No (2009). Adaf is one of the most original voices in Israeli contemporary literature – both prose and poetry. The poems here presented are taken out of his third and most recent volume of poetry. For his first book of poems, Icarus’ Monologue (1997), Adaf won the Israeli Ministry of Education Prize, and parts of it have been included in the Israeli high school literature curriculum. He also wrote six books of prose fiction, one of which, titled Mox Nox, recently won the prestigious Israeli Sapir Prize (2013). Aviva-No is a powerful lamentation for Adaf’s sister, Aviva, who died at the young age of 43 and who played a very significant role in the construction of his identity as a writer. It’s really an extraordinary volume – especially with regard to Adaf’s use of language; he is able to blend together contemporary (at times almost colloquial) Hebrew with old biblical, Talmudic and Rabbinic intertextualities in a truly remarkable way.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation

Online: Aviva-No *** Whose time is it like metal, retaining cold and lightning. And why should I live it, placed on the chest any attempt to escape will rupture the aorta. (Object, 1) 6. She had a heart heavier than the ocean my mother and it sank. Do you feel the desert in your bones? The sunken ships, stuck



trans. Yael Segalovitz

‫‪Hebrew‬‬ ‫ּבַחֹול ּכְמֹו ְצ ָלבִים‪ ,‬אֶ ת הַ ּבֹורֹות ֵריקִ ים‬ ‫מִ ּכֹו ָכבִים‪ ,‬אֶ ת ּד ֹפֶ ק ּב ְַרד הַ מָ ּן‬ ‫אַ ּתֶ ם זֹוכ ְִרים?‬ ‫ז‪.‬‬ ‫מָ ה הָ י ָה ּדְ ב ְָרָך‬ ‫אֶ ל אֲ חֹותִ י‬ ‫ּבַשֵ ּׁרּותִ ים‪ ,‬עַ ל‬ ‫הָ ַאסְ לָה‬ ‫עַ ד‬ ‫ׁשֶ הֵ סֵ ּבָה ר ֹאׁש לַקִ ּיר‪.‬‬ ‫הַ ּכֹבֶד ׁשֶ ל זְרֹועָ ּה‬ ‫נִתֵ ּק מִ תְ לֵה‬ ‫נִי ַר טּוָאלֶט‬ ‫מִ מְ ּקֹומֹו‪,‬‬ ‫שְ ׁתֵ ּי מַ ְגּבֹות ּפָ נִים‬ ‫י ֻשְ ּׁרּו מַ ְר ְגּלֹותֶ יהָ ‪.‬‬ ‫הַ ּתֹוחֵ ב חֲ רֹון אַ ּפֹו‬ ‫לְעִ סְ קֵ יהֶ ם ׁשֶ ל ְּבנֵי ּתְ מּותָ ה‪,‬‬ ‫ּבַשֶ ּׁקֶ ט הַ ּמַ חֲ ִריׁש שֶ ּׁלְָך‪ְ ,‬בּב ֹקֶ ר זֶה‬ ‫שֶ ׁל חַ לְחָ לָה‪,‬‬ ‫אֱ מ ֹר לִי ּגַם‬ ‫אַ ּתָ ה –‬ ‫***‬ ‫הַ לְמּות חִ ּׁשּול הָ אֹור‬ ‫שֶ ׁ ּי ְבַּתְ ֵרנִי ְלבַּסֹוף‬ ‫מִ ֵלּדָ תִ י אֲ נִי ׁשֹומֵ עַ‬ ‫מִ ָלּה מִ ָלּה ּגּופִ י מּושָ ׁר‬ ‫ֵ‬ ‫הֹורס אֵ לָיו לָבֹוא‬ ‫ּבְמֹו עֵ ינַי לְהִ תְ ו ַּדֵ עַ ‪.‬‬



Trinity Journal of Literary Translation like crosses in the sand, the wells empty of stars, the pulse of the manna hailing down do you recall? 7. What were your words to my sister in the restroom, on the toilet until she turned her head to the wall. Her arms’ heft ripped toilet paper holder from its place, two hand towels were laid out at her feet. He who sticks His blazing wrath into mortal affairs, with Your muted silence, in this morning of unbearable pain, You, tell me – *** Clangs on the anvil of light that will eventually bisect me since my birth I hear Word by word my body is sung dares dangerously to enter with my own eyes to know.



‫‪Hebrew‬‬ ‫(ׁשִ ָ‬ ‫ירה‪)2 ,‬‬ ‫יט‪.‬‬ ‫אֶ פְ ׁשָ ר לָׁשִ יר עַ ל ּגְשָ ׁמִ ים‪ּ ,‬גְבּורֹות‬ ‫הַ ּמַ י ִם‪ּ ,‬כָל הַ ּׁשִ בְעָ ה ּכ ְִרסֵ י הָ עֲ נָנִים‬ ‫חֻ ּכְכּו ְבּרְֹך חֻ ּפַ ת‬ ‫הָ אֲ ֵבלִים‪ ,‬ו ְעַ ל הַ ּדַ ק מֵ הֶ ם אֶ פְ ׁשָ ר לָשִ ׁיר‪,‬‬ ‫עַ כְשָ ׁו ּבְשַ ׁחַ ר ׁשְ בָט‪,‬‬ ‫ּכָפֵ ר עַ ל דֶ שֶ ׁא אֲ פַ ְרּפַ ר‪ ,‬שָ ׁם יַלְדּותֵ ְך‪,‬‬ ‫ו ְשָ ׁם חַ יַּיְך הַ מֵ ּתִ ים ּדְ חּוקִ ים‪:‬‬ ‫קְ ו ֻּצֹותַ י ִך מְ לֵאֹות ׁשְ ב ִָרים‬ ‫מִ ן הַ מִ ּקְ לַחַ ת‪ׁ ,‬שֶ הֶ עֱ ב ְַרתְ ּ ּבָן אֶ ת י ָדֵ ְך‬ ‫ו ְֹלא סֵ ַרקְ תְ ּ‪ּ ,‬גַם ּכְׁשֶ הֵ עִ ירּו‪ ,‬חִ ּיּוְך עַ ל שִ ֹפְ תֹותַ י ְִך‪,‬‬ ‫קָ ָראת ּבְאֹוסְ טֶ ן‪ ,‬חּוׁש הּומֹור מֻ שְ ׁחָ ז י ֵׁש‬ ‫בגֵאֹוג ְַרפְ י ָה‪,‬‬ ‫ַל ַ ּכ ְלּבָה הַ ּב ְִריטִ ית‪ִּ ,‬ב ְכלָל לָהֶ ם יֹושְ ׁבֵי הָ עֲ ָרפֶ ל‪ ,‬סִ ּכּום ְ ּ‬ ‫ו ְסִ ּמּונֵי הַ הִ ׁשְ ּתָ אּות ׁשֶ ל הַ ָ‬ ‫ּמֹורה‪ַ ,‬אדְ מּומִ יִּים עַ ל‬ ‫הַ מַ ּ​ּפֹות הַ מֻ עֲ תָ קֹות ׁשֶ ל הַ מִ ּדְ ּבָר‪ ,‬מֶ ְרחַ קִ ּים‬ ‫ש ֹדֵ רֹות‪ ,‬קַ ּוֵי ַאסְ פַ לְט‬ ‫ׁשֶ אַ ּתְ ָצלַחְ ּתְ ‪ ,‬קְ בּועִ ים ּבְתֹוְך ְ‬ ‫מִ ּמֵ ְך אֶ ל ּתַ לְמִ ידַ י ְִך‪ ,‬סֻ גְיֹות עֹוכְרֹות שַ ׁ ְלו ָה‬ ‫בגֵאֹומֶ טְ ְרי ָה‪.‬‬ ‫ְּ‬ ‫הַ אִ ם שִ ׁעַ ְרתְ ּ שֶ ׁ ָכּל זֶה ְּכבָר הָ י ָה‬ ‫ּבְטֶ ֶרם הִ תְ ו ַדַ ּעְ תְ ּ לֹו‪,‬‬ ‫ּכִי הֶ עָ תִ יד אֵ ַרע ו ְהּוא נֹוׁשֵ ב‬ ‫אֵ ַלי ְִך ַאתְ ּ‬ ‫הָ עֲ מִ ידָ ה ַל ְזּמַ ן –‬ ‫קֵ ץ הַ ּיָמִ ים הֵ קִ יץ‪ ,‬הַ אִ ם‬ ‫ֹלא ּתִ ׁשְ מְ עִ י‪ְ ,‬בּתֹוְך מִ ְבצַר הָ אֲ ו ִ​ִירים‪,‬‬ ‫ּבֵין הַ טְ ּ ָללִים‪ ,‬הַ שְ ׁקֵ דִ ּיָה נ ְִרעֶ דֶ ת מִ פְ ִּריחָ ה‪ֹ ,‬לא‪,‬‬ ‫הִ יא נ ְִרעֲ דָ ה‪,‬‬



Trinity Journal of Literary Translation (Poetry, 2) 19. One can sing of rain, the mightiness of water, all through the shiv’ah corpulent clouds rubbed against the softness of the mourners’ tent, and of the slightest of them one can sing, now on February dawn, kafir over the greyish lawn, there your childhood, and there your fallen life is crammed: Your locks are full of shards from showering, through which you’ve run your fingers and did not brush, even when they chided, a smile on your lips, you read Austen, that British bitch has a sharp sense of humor, as fog dwellers usually do, outline of geography, and the teacher’s markings of amazement, reddish upon the copied desert maps, distances you’ve crossed, fixed within Sderot, asphalt lines from you to your students, disquieting problems of geometry. Could you have guessed all this was before you came to know it, because the future has occurred and it is blowing your way you who are time resistant – The end of time has wakened, will you not hear, in the air’s fortress, among the dewdrops, the almond tree quivers at its blossoms, no, it has quivered,



‫‪Hebrew‬‬ ‫ֹלא‪ ,‬הָ עֵ צִים הַ ּנִּטָ עִ ים יָבְׁשּו‪ָ ,‬כּלְתָ ה הַ ִצּמְ חִ יָּה אֲ ׁשֶ ר ּתִ צְמַ ח‪ ,‬הָ אֲ דָ מָ ה הֵ קִ יָאה‬ ‫אֶ ת ִּלּבָּה‪ ,‬ו ְהּוא עֲ נָק‬ ‫נֹוׁשֵ ם אֶ ת נִשְ ׁמָ תֵ ְך‪ ,‬הָ אֹור י ַָרד ְ ּכב ְַר ִז ִלּים‪,‬‬ ‫הָ דּור ּכָל ּכְָך‪ ,‬מָ לֵא אֶ ת חֲ לָלֹו‬ ‫הָ עֹולָם הֻ כ ְַרע ּכֻּלֹו אֶ ל מּול אֲ בִיבָה‪ֹ-‬לא‪.‬‬ ‫כד‪.‬‬ ‫ֹלאאאאאא‪ַ ,‬אל ּתַ ְרּפֶ ה ּכְאֵ ב‪ִ ,‬ל ִבּי‪ַ ,‬אל ּתַ עֲ מ ֹד מִ ּצַעַ ר‪,‬‬ ‫דָ ּם לְהַ ט‪ְ ,‬רתַ ח‪ ,‬אַ ּוֵׁש‬ ‫ּש ֹר‪ ,‬וְגַם אַ ּתֶ ם שְ ִׁר ִ‬ ‫ו ְגּוף‪ּ ,‬בְעַ ר‪ּ ,‬בְעַ ר‪ ,‬הָ עֲ ַצּבִים הַ ּמִ שְ ֹתָ ְּרגִים לְא ֶֹרְך הַ ָב ָ‬ ‫ירים‪,‬‬ ‫עֲ לּו ָבּאֵ ׁש‪ ,‬הָ עֲ צָמֹות הַ ּמִ תְ חַ ּכְכֹות ּבָאֵ יב ִָרים הַ ּפְ נִימִ יִּים‪,‬‬ ‫דִ ּקְ רּו‪ָ ,‬ג ְּרדּו ָבּהֶ ם מְ עַ ט ו ְתַ עֲ לֶה מֻ ְרסָ ה‬ ‫ּובַל אֶ שְ ַׁאל הֵ יכָן ִזכ ְָרּה‪ׁ ,‬שִ כְחָ תָ ּה אֵ י ָאן‬ ‫ּבַל אֶ שְ ׁמ ֹט מִ ּבֵין י ָדַ י‬ ‫ָאחֹות אֶ ל ּתֹוְך הַ ְזּמַ ן‪.‬‬



Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



no, the planted trees have dried out, the growing flora have expired, the earth has vomited its heart, and it’s enormous breathing your breath, light had descended like iron, so refined, filled its space below the whole world has broken so, facing Aviva-no. 24. Noooooo, pain, don’t let go, my heart, don’t cease in sorrow, Blood, boil, flare, murmur And body, burn, burn, the nerves winding through the flesh, and you too muscles, catch fire, bones chafing the innards, pinch, scratch them some, so that abscess will emerge thus I shan’t ask where her memory is – what might it mime, thus I shan’t let slip between my hands a sister into time.





William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

This is a translation from English into Irish. In memory of Madiba, Nelson Mandela. (I gcuimhne ar Nelson Mandela. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam uasal.)

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation




trans. Colm Mac Gearailt

As an ndorchadas a chlúdaíonn mé Dubh mar an phluais ó mhuir go muir Is chuig neamh a ghúiom, ar son Dé Do m’anam do-bhuaite gan smior Fiú is mé taghta le cor na héagóire Ní os ard a scaoileas mo bhéic Bruaite ag seans, le ceann sillte fola Fós in arda a bhí sé, gan ‘ léig. Agus fada ó áit-so na feirge Gan romhaim ach súiomh-scáile na ndeor Is má bheireann olcas na blianta orm is gan eagla a bhead os a comhair

Is cuma cé chomh chruíonn an chosaíocht Nó lucht na píonóise ar phár Is mise captaen mo chroí-sa Is máistir ar m’anam, táim air.

162 | Articles & Essays • Featured Translator: Johnson

Featured Translator: Nicholas Johnson Nicholas Johnson is Assistant Professor of Drama at TCD and a performer, director, and writer. He recently co-edited the special “performance issue” of the Journal of Beckett Studies (23.1, 2014). His research appears in The Plays of Samuel Beckett (Methuen, 2013), Theatre Research International, Journal of Art Historiography and Forum Modernes Theater. He has translated/directed works by Ernst Toller (2008/2014), Franz Kafka (2009), and Max Frisch (2010); as adaptor/director, recent projects include The Brothers Karamazov (2014) and various works by Samuel Beckett. He is co-director of the Beckett Summer School and artistic director of Painted Filly Theatre.

On Translating Ernst Toller’s Die Maschinenstürmer The translation of drama intended for performance will always be judged on the first

hearing, rather than being carefully assessed by repeated reading. Because the mode of reception for drama is as event, rather than as object, the translation of drama is inherently

different from prose or poetry, though both verse and prose might be contained within a play (as with Ernst Toller’s Die Maschinenstürmer). While the reception of all literature

is both embodied and bounded in time, theatre is unique in that one must appear at a particular place and time in order to experience it, and for most viewers (those who attend

only once) this is the sole opportunity for communication of the thought. A translator must think not only about service to an author’s original concept and language, but also about service to the present audience, with whom the implicit contract of a ticket has been

drawn up. Though an audience might later have access to a published script, “re-reading”

of drama is not immediately possible, so the validity of a translation in theatre should partly be judged on how easily it can be received live. This means that all translation of

drama is also adaptation, since one must consider the cultural and intellectual context

in which the live event will appear, and alterations will frequently be required from the original that would not seem justifiable in print, but seem required for the ephemeral event to be legible in the local context.

Ernst Toller is a fascinating figure of world drama whose legacy has been complicated

— and ultimately unduly minimized — first by anti-Jewish sentiment in Germany of the mid-1930s, then by anti-German sentiment in the US and UK of the late 1930s, and finally by anti-Communist sentiment in the Anglophone world after World War II. Born in 1893

in Samotschin, at that time in the province of Posen but today in Poland, Toller fought for

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



the German Empire at the front lines of World War I for thirteen months. Radicalized by

his experience and observations in the war, he co-organized and then was briefly head

of state of the Bavarian Soviet Republic in Munich. He began to write seriously when

imprisoned for five years for his role in that revolution, and Die Maschinenstürmer was his third play completed in Niederschönenfeld prison. On his release, he sought refuge from an increasingly threatening German state by going first to London and then to New

York, to seek a living in the theatre. Having failed to do so, when he heard in 1939 that his mother and sister had been taken to the concentration camps, he committed suicide

in the Mayflower Hotel in New York City. Usually classified as a German Expressionist because of his early works Die Wandlung (1919) and Masse Mensch (1920), Toller also

produced remarkable poetry (most famously Das Schwalbenbuch, 1922-23) and a notable autobiography (Eine Jugend in Deutschland, 1933). An edition of his plays in English was published during his lifetime as Seven Plays, and there are still occasional productions

of the original English translation by Ashley Dukes entitled The Machine-Wreckers, most notably one directed by Katie Mitchell at the National Theatre in London in 1995.

In 2008, working first with Masse Mensch, I began a long-term project to translate

the dramatic works of Ernst Toller into playable versions that could be received and understood by contemporary audiences. The necessary precondition for such a project,

and one reason for its lengthy time scale, is the opportunity to produce the drafts with live actors before finalizing a printed text. For me, much value of a dramatic translation rests on the question of whether it has actually been staged, and many of the published

translations of Toller were not originally created for that purpose and are no longer suited

to it. Toller’s overshadowed legacy has partly also been the victim of intensely poetic and literary translations from England of the 1920s and 30s which are easily passed over as

“dated” or “polemic” or simply “non-dramatic.” That the author went out of copyright in 2009

makes the task immensely easier, since the freedom to alter the text more substantially for performance makes fidelity to the present audience easier. The goal for me is to create a “living thought” out of these plays, so that audiences can access both the radical politics

and radical philosophy put forward in Toller’s writing, and then dialectically reflect on the significance of this offering themselves.

The 2008 project on Masse Mensch was developed first with a large ensemble of

students at Trinity College, and was then toured in a bilingual workshop version to one of Europe’s major theatres (and an institution that knows Toller well), the Volksbühne

am Rosa-Luxembourg-Platz in Berlin. Knowing that a similar opportunity to direct an

ensemble production with second-year drama students at the Samuel Beckett Theatre in Dublin was arising in 2014, since mid-2013 I have been developing the translation of

164 | Articles & Essays • Featured Translator: Johnson Die Maschinenstürmer. The translation printed below this short essay is the prologue to the play, taken from the second stage (or “faithful version”) of the draft translations that I

have developed. Reflecting on these two projects, it is possible to generalize an optimal approach for dramatic translation. My process of creating a complete and publishable translation of The Machinewreckers will take five steps, creating five main drafts:

1. The transcribed German, which has the translator as an audience. The

transcription process forces close reading in the original language and creates a document with good formatting, lineation, and spacing for the rehearsal script.

2. The “faithful” English, which has actors and designers as an audience. This draft

seeks to communicate Toller’s intent with a particular line, and is what is printed in this journal. Much literary translation would stop at this point.

3. The “rehearsal adaptation,” produced by the director/playwright in collaboration

with actors and dramaturgy staff. This draft reflects more aggressive changes

and cuts that consider cultural context and the constraint of time. Adjustments made at this point help the actors to play lines and the audience to understand them, and this script is taken into rehearsal.

4. The “run draft” or adaptation version post-rehearsal, produced as an accurate depiction of what was actually said or done on stage, more of a recording of what transpired than the more aspirational adaptation.

5. The “playable translation,” in which the information gained through rehearsal and

performance process is fed back into the “faithful” translation, to determine which lines have migrated based on rehearsal and performance, and which cases of this were meaningful, as opposed to accidental or culturally too specific.

There are a few emblematic moments of what follows that explain how this process

produces new information. First, in the stage directions that precede the Lord Chancellor’s first line, Toller suggests that he is at a “Pult,” which would be a sort of lectern common to the Reichstag or another Parliamentary body. An audience in the UK or Ireland that

is familiar with the House of Lords, however, will know that the Lord Chancellor sits on the traditional “woolsack,” and if producing the play in these islands with England still as its location, this has special resonance with the content of the play, which concerns

the Luddite uprising of the Nottingham weavers circa 1815. This resonance is missed in the original German, but the choice to use “woolsack” was made by both the original translator and by me. Though it is in the stage directions and may not seem important to audience reception, in fact it is vital for the set designer to consider.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



The second choice that marks my approach is how to handle Toller’s verse.

Frequently I have selected alliteration and nested consonant endings over any sense

of ending rhyme, and while I have been sensitive to meter, I have not been strict. I have

also honoured Toller’s original repetitions in the way that the earlier translators of this

have not. If the texture of the verse that prompted Ashley Dukes’s original translation, first published by Ernest Benn in 1923 and then anthologized in Seven Plays in 1935, was

romantic poetry, the “deep source” for me has been Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, particularly

the “Moloch” section whose subject integrates well with the topic of this play. A three-part example of one of these repetitions at the opening of the Prologue should reveal the difference in approach.

Toller’s original German: Sie kennen alle, meine Lords, die Taten der Zerstörung. Die Arbeitsmänner haben sich verbündet, Gewalt gebraucht, Revolten angezettelt. Wer aber lehrte sie ein solches Tun? Wer untergrub das Wohl des Landes? — Die Politik der »großen Männer«! Die Politik der Räuberkriege! Die Politik der großen Helden, Von denen Ihre Bücher zeugen, Die Politik, die Fluch ward für das lebende Geschlecht!—

Ashley Dukes’s 1923 translation, revised and reprinted 1935: All of you know, my lords, why we are met. The working weavers are confederate Against their masters; they have used duress And plan destruction. But whose policy Taught them the trade of havoc, whose the hand That undermined the welfare of the realm? It was the policy of the robber wars, The myth of heroes from your history books, That grew to be the curse of living men!

166 | Articles & Essays • Featured Translator: Johnson My own 2013-14 translation: You all know, my Lords, the deeds of the destroyers. The workingmen have joined forces To wield violence and instigate rebellion. Who taught them how to do this? Who undermined the welfare of the land? — The politics of the great men! The politics of the robber wars! The politics of great heroes told of in your books, The politics that cursed all living souls!—

This should reveal how the quest of this stage of translation is to offer maximal

information to actors and designers about what Toller originally wrote while preserving his own punchy Telegrammstil, and then allow the scene to develop in rehearsal to find out how “playable” it is. Readers of this stage of the translation who attend the production of

Machinewreckers may be surprised how differently this section of text will be handled in

its on-stage rendition by the whole ensemble.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



Bibliography Davies, Cecil. The Plays of Ernst Toller: A Revaluation. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1996. Toller, Ernst. I Was a German: The Autobiography of Ernst Toller. Trans. Edward Crankshaw. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1934. ———. The Machine-Wreckers: A Drama of the English Luddites in a Prologue and Five Acts. Trans. Ashley Dukes. In Seven Plays. Frome and London: Butler and Tanner, 1935. ———. Die Maschinenstürmer. In Gesammelte Werke 2: Dramen und Gedichte aus dem Gefängnis, 1918-1924. 3rd Edition. Eds. Wolfgang Frühwald and John M. Spalek. München/Wien: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1995.

168 | Articles & Essays • Featured Translator: Johnson


Ernst Toller

Westminsterpalast. Sitzungssaal des englischen Oberhauses. Das Vorspiel kann mit einfachen Mitteln vor dem Vorhang dargestellt werden. In der Mitte ein Pult, an dem der

Lordkanzler sitzt. Rechts und links Stühle für LORD BYRON und LORD CASTLEREAGH. In der ersten Reihe des Zuschauerraums andere Lords. Der Darsteller JIMMYS könnte

in LORD BYRONS Maske auftreten, der Darsteller URES in der Maske des LORD CASTLEREAGH.


Bill der Regierung: Zum Tode verurteilt, wer übt Zerstörung der Maschinen. Die Bill mit großer Mehrheit in erster Lesung angenommen. Wir treten in die zweite und die dritte Lesung ein. Lord Byron hat das Wort. LORD BYRON

Sie kennen alle, meine Lords, die Taten der Zerstörung. Die Arbeitsmänner haben sich verbündet, Gewalt gebraucht, Revolten angezettelt. Wer aber lehrte sie ein solches Tun?

Wer untergrub das Wohl des Landes? — Die Politik der »großen Männer«! Die Politik der Räuberkriege!

Die Politik der großen Helden,

Von denen Ihre Bücher zeugen,

Die Politik, die Fluch ward für das lebende Geschlecht!— O, können Sie sich wundern, meine Lords,

Wenn in den Zeiten, da Betrug und Wucher, Diebstahl, Gier Wie ekler Schimmel unsere hohen Klassen angepelzt,

Das Werkvolk angesichts des ungeheuerlichen Elends Die Bürgerpflicht vergißt und sich mit Schuld belädt? Vergleichbar nur mit jener Schuld, die Abgeordnete In Parlamenten Tag um Tag begehen. Was aber ist der Unterschied?

Der hochgestellte Missetäter kennt die Mittel,

Um zu durchschlüpfen Maschen des Gesetzes. Der Arbeiter allein büßt für Vergehen,

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trans. Nicholas Johnson

Westminster Palace. Chamber of the English House of Lords. The prologue can be played

in simple fashion in front of the curtain. In the middle the woolsack, on which the LORD CHANCELLOR sits. 
Right and left, chairs for LORD BYRON and LORD CASTLEREAGH. In the first row of the gallery, the OTHER LORDS. The actor playing JIMMY can perform

in LORD BYRON’S costume, while the actor playing URE is in the costume of LORD CASTLEREAGH.


A Government Bill: To sentence to death those who destroy the machines. The bill

was adopted by a large majority at first reading. We take up the second and third readings today. The house recognizes Lord Byron. LORD BYRON

You all know, my Lords, the deeds of the destroyers. The workingmen have joined forces

To wield violence and instigate rebellion. Who taught them how to do this?

Who undermined the welfare of the land? — The politics of the great men!

The politics of the robber wars!

The politics of great heroes told of in your books, The politics that cursed all living souls!— How can you wonder, my Lords,

When in these times of embezzlement and extortion, Theft and greed, what a gross mold begins to flower Watered by our higher classes?

The masses in their monstrous misery

Forget their civic duty, and then we call them guilty. But if we compare their guilt with what we do

Day after day in Parliament — what is the difference? The higher-ranking wrongdoers have the means To slip through the loopholes in the laws.

The worker alone atones for our trespasses That take away his daily bread.

170 | Articles & Essays • Featured Translator: Johnson In die ihn Hunger, Hunger trieb.

Maschinen stahlen ihm die Arbeitsplätze, Maschinen drängten ihn in Not,

In seinem Herzen schrie Empörung: Natur will, daß wir alle leben!

Natur will nicht, daß einige sich Gold erraffen, Die anderen aber hungern! Der Arbeiter, er war bereit,

Die brachen Länder zu bebauen, Allein der Spaten war nicht sein!

Er bettelte. Wer stand in England auf

Und sprach: Wir lindern deine Not! —

Verzweiflung trieb ihn in den Abgrund blinder Leidenschaften. Sie nennen diese Leute Pöbel, meine Lords,

Und rufen: Man schlag’ dem Ungeheuer seine Köpfe ab, Man hänge alle Führer auf! —

Wo Milde not tut, lechzt der Staat nach Blut.

Noch immer war das Schwert das dümmste Mittel! Betrachten wir den Pöbel, meine Lords.

Es ist der Pöbel, der in Ihren Feldern Arbeit leistet, Es ist der Pöbel, der in Ihren Küchen dient,

Es ist der Pöbel, der den Schiffen und Armeen Soldaten stellt, Es ist der starke Arm, der Sie instand setzt, Einer Welt von Feinden Trotz zu bieten — Und der auch Ihnen trotzen wird,

Wenn Sie ihn in den Sackweg der Verzweiflung peitschen! Und eins noch lassen Sie mich sagen:

Für Kriege war Ihr Beutel immer weit geöffnet. Ein Teil des Geldes, das Sie,

Als sich Portugal in Kriegsnot fand,

Dem fremden Land zum Kriege führen »menschenfreundlich« überließen ... Ein Teil des Geldes hätt’ genügt, Die Not daheim zu lindern,

Uns zu befreien von Barmherzigkeit der Galgen. Ich sah im Türkenland die größten Despotien.

Doch nirgends solches Elend wie in jenem England, Das sich christlich nennt. —

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation Machines stole his place of work,

Machines drove him into destitution,

But in his heart still cries the outrage: Nature wants us all to live!

Nature wants not, that some will snatch the gold, While others starve! The worker was ready To farm the barren lands,

Except the spade was not his own!

He begged. Who stood up in England and said, We will help you in your hardship!

Despair drove him to the abyss of blind passions.

You call these people “rabble,” my Lords, and cry,

Cut off this Hydra’s head, and hang the leaders! —

They hunger for mercy, but the State thirsts for blood. Still the sword is the simplest means!

Let us look upon the rabble, noble lords. It is the rabble that works in your fields,

It is the rabble that serves in your kitchens,

It is the rabble that mans the ships and armies,

It is the strong arm that keeps you in your place That stands up to a world of enemies,

That would also defy you, if you whip him to despair! And once again let me say:

For wars your purse was ever open.

One part of the gold you gave to Portugal in her need, To foreign wars you called “humanitarian,”

One part of that gold would have been enough To mollify the misery here at home,

To mitigate the mercy of the gallows.

In Turkey I saw the great despotic rulers,

But never such misery among the people As in this England you call “Christian.”

And what medicine do you prescribe? Death! The cure of all great charlatans

Who rummage in the body of the state!

Is there not enough blood already on our laws? Should blood be spilled for so long



172 | Articles & Essays • Featured Translator: Johnson Und wie heißt Ihre Medizin? Die Todesstrafe! Das Kräutlein all der großen Scharlatane, Die wühlen in dem Leib der Staaten.

Klebt nicht genug des Blutes an Gesetzen? Soll Blut solange vergossen werden,

Bis es zum Himmel schreit und Zeugnis ablegt wider Sie? Ist Todesstrafe Medizin für Hunger und Verzweiflung? Gesetzt den Fall, Sie nehmen, meine Lords,

Die Todesstrafe an. Betrachten Sie den Mann, Den Ihre Bill dem Richter überliefert.

Vom Hunger ausgemergelt, durch Verzweiflung stumpf,

Verachtet er das Leben, — das nach Ihrer Schätzung weniger wert Denn eine Strumpfmaschine ist. Betrachten Sie den Mann! Entrissen seiner Frau, entrissen seinen Kindern,

Denen er kein Brot verschaffen konnte (und wollt’ es doch so gerne!), Vor ein Gericht geschleppt — wer wird das Todesurteil fällen? Zwölf Ehrenmänner? . . . Niemals!

Bestellen Sie zwölf Schlächter als Geschworene,

Und einen Henker, meine Lords, bestellen Sie zum Präsidenten des Gerichts! Während der Rede hat sich bei den Lords ironisches Gelächter erhoben. Huzza-Rufe. LORDKANZLER

Lord Castlereagh hat das Wort. LORD CASTLEREAGH

Sie hörten, meine Lords,

Die Rede dieses erhenwerten Gentleman.

Er sprach wie ein Poet, nicht wie ein Staatsmann.

Poeten können Dramen schreiben, Verse dichten, Doch Politik ist Handwerk harter Männer.

Sich des Gesindels anzunehmen, mag man gelten lassen

Als poetische Marotte. Dem Staatsmann gilt allein Prinzip der Wirtschaft. Die Armut ist ein gottgewolltes, ewiges Gesetz.

Mitleidsgefühle sind im Parlamente nicht am Platz.

Der Pfarrer Malthus wies uns nach, daß Hunderttausende Zu viel in England leben. Natur versagt

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



Until heaven cries and witnesses against you? Is death your cure for hunger and despair?

Suppose this death penalty is made the law.

Look on the man that your bill hands over to be judged. Gaunt with hunger, dull with despair, scorning life That after your appraisal is worth even less

Than the loom on which he weaves. Look at the man! Torn from his wife, torn from his children, For whom he can’t find any bread, And not from lack of wanting!

Bring him before the court — who will pass the sentence? Twelve honourable jurors? Never!

Swear in twelve butchers, my lords.

And make the hangman the presiding judge. During the speech, ironic laughter has arisen among the Lords. Calls of “Huzzah!” LORD CHANCELLOR

The chair recognizes Lord Castlereagh. LORD CASTLEREAGH

You have heard, my Lords,

The speech of this worthy Gentleman.

He spoke like a poet, not like a statesman. Poets can write dramas, compose verses, But politics is the work of harder men. A poet may dabble

with the cause of the rabble, But it takes an M.P.

To keep the capital free! Cries of “Hear Hear” from the LORDS on CASTLEREAGH’s side, groans from LORD BYRON’s.

Poverty is an eternal law, the will of God.

Pity does not have a place in Parliament. The reverend Malthus has verified

174 | Articles & Essays • Featured Translator: Johnson Den Hunderttausenden die Nahrung. Wir sehen Grausamkeiten... Es sind die Waffen Gottes, vor denen wir In Ehrfurcht stumm uns neigen müssen.

In jedem Jahre richten Kriege, Elend, Laster Die überschüssige Bevölkerung zugrunde.

Sollen wir das göttliche Naturgesetz bekämpfen? Das heiße handeln wider die Moral! Wir müssen das Gesetz erkennen

Und ihm mit allen Kräften Hilfe leihen.

Die Armen unterstützen heißt: zum Zeugen sie ermuntern! Das arme Volk in England darf sich nicht vermehren! Und jeder Weg ist recht, der diesem Ziele dient —

Sofern er sittlich und im Einklang ist mit dem Gebot der Kirche. (zwischenruf) LORD BYRON

Die Kinder verhungern lassen! LORD CASTLEREAGH

Ich achte Ihre große Geste, ehrenwerter Lord. Als Staatsmann muß ich kühl erwidern:

Je mehr der Tod die Kinderscharen lichtet,

Je größer ist das Glück der künftigen Geschlechter.

Wir haben zuviel Menschen, hochgeschätzter Dichter. Das herzlichste Gefühl

Kann diesen erznen Satz nicht wanken machen. Wendet sich an die anderen Lords. Vor allem bitte ich die ehrenwerten Lords

An eins zu denken: Das Wohl des Königreichs

Steht auf dem Spiel! Verschwörung wider Ruh’ und Ordnung ward entdeckt! Die Bill ist ein Tribut dem Altar der Gerechtigkeit! Dem Dichter sind Gefühle wohl erlaubt,

Dem Staatsmann ward gegeben rechnender Verstand. Bravorufe der Lords.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation That hundreds of thousands too many live in England. Nature fails to provide these masses nourishment. We see cruelty, but this is God’s weapon

Before whose power we must submit in awe. In every year wars, woes, and burdens Reduce our surplus population.

Should we struggle against holy nature’s laws? That would be immoral!

We must recognize within our laws

Our chance to lend him help with all our might.

To help the poor is to encourage them to breed!

But in England they must not be allowed to multiply!

And every means is justified that serves to this end —

As long as it accords to moral harmony and the Church. (interjecting) LORD BYRON Let the children starve!


I understand your great gesture, noble Lord. But as a statesman I must answer coolly:

The more Death thins the hordes of children The better the lives of coming generations.

We have too many people, most honourable Poet. Heartfelt feelings cannot soften this iron sentence. Turning to the other LORDS. Before all else I beg you, honoured Lords,

To think on one thing: the well-being of the realm

Is at stake! Conspiracies against peace and order Have been discovered! This bill is our tribute At the altar of justice!

Poets may feel, but statesmen must think. Cries of “Bravo” and “Hear Hear” from the LORDS.



176 | Articles & Essays • Featured Translator: Johnson


Erschöpft die Rednerliste. Debatte ist geschlossen. Wir stimmen ab. Wer von den ehrenwerten Lords gibt seine Stimme für die Bill? Alle Lords außer Lord Byron erheben sich. LORDKANZLER

Die Gegenprobe, bitte. Lord Byron erhebt sich. Gelächter. LORDKANZLER

Ich zähle eine Stimme. Die Bill ist angenommen. Die Sitzung wird vertagt auf morgen. Die Bühne verdunkelt sich.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation




List of speakers is ended. Debate is closed. We move to votes. Who among the honourable Lords is in favour of the Bill? ALL LORDS except LORD BYRON rise. LORD CHANCELLOR Those against, please.


I count one vote. The bill is adopted. The meeting is adjourned until tomorrow. The stage darkens.



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A Yiddish / Hiberno-English Dictionary

by Sam Slote

Gey kakken oyf in yam (literally, ‘Go shit in the ocean’) – Feck off Gonif – Cute (‘crook’) Klutz – Eejit ( ‘a clumsy person’) Mazik – Chisler (‘a swift or mischievous child’) Mensch – Legend or Gobshite (one of few terms of endearment in Yiddish; mostly used in an ironic sense). Menuval – Gobshite (‘a disgusting person’) Meshuggeneh – Eejit (from the adjective meshugge, ‘crazy’) Momzer – Gobshite (literally, ‘a bastard’; figuratively, ‘an untrustworthy person’) Moyshe Pupik – Eejit (literally, ‘Moses bellybutton’; figuratively, ‘a jerk’) Nebech (in American Yiddish, Nebbish) – Eejit (‘To define a nebech simply as an unlucky man is to miss the many nuances, from pity to contempt, the word affords’, Rosten, p. 261) Nishtgutnik (in American Yiddish, No-goodnik) – Dosser (the opposite of alrightnik) Noodge – Gobshite (from the verb nudzh, ‘to bore’) Nudnik – Eejit (literally, ‘a pest’) Paskudnyak – Feckin’ Gobshite (‘nasty, odious, contemptible’; ‘one of the most greasily graphic’ words in Yiddish, Rosten, p. 282) Putz – Gobshite (literally, ‘penis’, although rarely used in the literal sense. In 1998 thensenator Al D’Amato was roundly excoriated for calling his opponent Chuck Schumer a ‘putz’) Schlemazel – Eejit ( ‘un unlucky person’; possibly the English slang word shemozzle – ‘an uproar, confusion’ – is derivative) I am indebted to Leo Rosten’s literally indispensible The Joys of Yiddish, New York: McGraw Hill, 1968.

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Schlemiel – Eejit (‘an unlucky person’; the most generic Yiddish insult. ‘The schlemiel trips and knocks down the shlemazel; and the nebech repairs the schlemazel’s glasses’, Rosten, p. 345) Schlepp (in American Yiddish, Schlepper) – Eejit (‘a clumsy person’; from the German, schleppen, ‘to drag’) Schlub – Eejit ( ‘an ill-mannered person’; as in the wonderful expression, ‘He acts like a schlub, that schlub’, Rosten, p. 451) Schmegegge – Eejit (‘I think of schmegegge as a cross between a schlemazel and a schlemiel – or even between a nudnik and a nebech’, Rosten, p. 354. Yiddish is all about nuance.) Schmendrick – Ballbag (‘a kind of schlemiel – but weak and thin’, Rosten, p. 354; also has the sense of ‘penis’, and when used by women the intent is to deride by diminutising.) Schmo – Eejit (American Yiddish euphemism for schmuck, but less insulting) Schmuck – Feckin’ Gobshite (literally, ‘penis’; ‘Never utter schmuck lightly, or in the presence of women and children’, Rosten, p. 356. From the German Schmuck, ‘jewelry’; applied to the male genitalia in an analogous manner to the expression ‘the family jewels’) Schnook – Eejit (American Yiddish euphemism for schmuck, but less insulting; as in the Dublin rhyming slang for the statue of Oliver Goldsmith at Trinity’s front gate, ‘The schnook with the book’.) Schnorrer – Gobshite (‘an impudent indigent’; ‘The schnorrer was not a run-of-themill mendicant. […] He did nor so much ask for alms as claim them’, Rosten, p. 360) Tipesh – Eejit (‘an idiot’; from the Hebrew) Vantz – Eejit (literally, ‘bedbug’) Yold – Culchie Yutz – Eejit (‘a foolish or useless person’)



Articles & Essays

Online: Dialect to dialect translation: Belli, Burgess, Garioch by Jim Clarke

Language, like people, evolves in response to geographic location. In nations like

Ireland, Britain and Italy, dialectal language forms have thrived and continue to survive, despite the homogenising influence of mass media. And just as poetry is, as Edgar Allan

Poe held, “the rhythmical creation of beauty in words”, so those words may evade the tyranny of formal established language forms and adopt the dialectal variants of demotic speech.

Giuseppe Gioachino Belli was a Nineteenth century poet who composed nearly

2,300 sonnets entirely in his native Romanesco dialect, the language of the streets of

Trastevere in Rome where he resided. Inspired by the Milanese sonneteering of Carlo

Porta and others, he dedicated his literary life to capturing the essence of Roman life

in his poems. While some were avowedly anti-clerical, and aimed at the Vatican and its inhabitants, many more depicted street life and the condition of the poor, of whom

he was intermittently one. He often adapted Biblical themes to his Romanesco tongue,

demonstrating the counter-intuitive universality of the local. Belli’s sonnets almost invariably follow a rigid, but simple rhyme scheme. They tend to feature two quatrains and two tercets, in which the rhyme scheme follows ABBA ABBA CDC DCD, with occasional variation in the quatrains to ABAB ABAB.

Belli explained his work by stating that he wished to leave a monument to the Roman

plebe, the poor demotic underclass oppressed by church and state. In turn, Rome has dedicated a monument to him, which can be found, top-hatted and thoughtful, looking

down upon the eponymous Piazza G.G. Belli at the Trastevere end of the Ponte Garibaldi.

Constrained by the conditions of his employment, only one of his scurrilous and witty

sonnets was published during his lifetime, and like Kafka he asked that his papers be destroyed after his death. Fortunately, they were preserved and the first collection was published some two decades after he died, with a full collection only emerging in 1952.

Belli’s work has inspired and delighted generations of readers. Gogol laughed aloud

at them, D.H Lawrence wanted to translate them, and William Carlos Williams adored

them. For Pier Paolo Pasolini, Belli was the greatest of Italian poets. There have been many attempts to render them into English, including admirable selections by Eleanor

Clark, Harold Norse, Miller Williams, Peter Nicholas Dale (who has supposedly translated

all of Belli’s sonnets into ‘Strine’, the dialect of 1960s Australia) and Mike Stocks. Most interesting, however, are the attempts to transpose the pungent and authentic sense

of place in Belli’s work to other geographical locales and locutions. Writing on behalf of

the eternal city, Belli sought to render its people universal, and I suspect he may have

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most appreciated those poets who have attempted to place his words in the mouths and accents of other demotic, dialectal peoples.

What follows below are some examples of Belli’s sonnets, accompanied by such

dialectal translations, including my own attempts to capture something of the vibrancy of his Nineteenth century Rome in the unique form of Hiberno-English found in Belfast. La bona famija Mi’ nonna, a un’or de notte che viè ttata Se leva da filà, povera vecchia,

Attizza un carboncello, ciapparecchia, E maggnamo du’ fronne d’inzalata.

Quarche vorta se famo una frittata,

Che ssi la metti ar lume ce se specchia Come fussi a ttraverzo d’un’orecchia: Quattro noce, e la cena è terminata.

Poi ner mentre ch’io, tata e Crementina Seguitamo un par d’ora de sgoccetto, Lei sparecchia e arissetta la cucina.

E appena visto er fonno ar bucaletto, ‘Na pisciatina, ‘na sarvereggina,

E, in zanta pace, ce n’annamo a letto. Written on 28th November 1831, this poem is typical of Belli’s exquisite ability to generate

miniature pen pictures of the poverty of the Roman underclass. He does not shy away from depicting the deprivation, yet humour and warmth pervade. It transposes well to the Scots setting created by Robert Garioch: The Guid Family (Robert Garioch) Faither wins hame, my grannie leaves her wheel, puir sowl, gies owre her spinning for the nicht; she lays the buird, blaws her wee coal alicht



Articles & Essays

and we sit-in to sup our puckle kail. We mak oursels an omelet, aince in a while, gey thin, sae’s ye can fairly see the licht throu it, jist like it wes a lug; aa richt,

we chaw a puckle nuts, and that’s our meal. While Faither and mysel and Clementine

bide on, she clears the buird, gaes aff and redds the kitchie, and we drink a drappie wine.

The wee carafe timmit doun til the dregs, a wee strone, a hailmary said, and syne,

lither and loan, we sclimm intill our beds. Garioch was strongly influenced by the great Scots poet Hugh Mac Diarmuid, and was

a close associate of Sorley Maclean. His Scots poetry is, for the non-native, occasionally

intimidating, replete as it is with dialectal terms and constructions which can sometimes be difficult to penetrate. However in this instance, as with many of his Belli translations (his Roman Sonnets frae Giuseppe Belli contains about 120) the Scots formulation adds wonderful colour and identity and is easily comprehended.

A common misunderstanding, arising from the lengthy and close shared history

between Scotland and the North of Ireland, is that the Northern Irish dialect contains a substantial, even dominant, Scots lexis. This has even been enshrined in legislation, with the formal adoption and recognition of Lallans, under the name “Ulster-Scots”, as a

legal indigenous tongue. However, the vast majority, estimated at up to 97%, of Northern Ireland’s inhabitants speak a form of Hiberno- rather than Scots-English, the dialect known as Mid-Ulster Hiberno-English, whose cultural richness generally goes tragically unloved and unfunded. This dialect, colloquially known as ‘Norn Iron’, has sadly received

more attention from comic writers like John Pepper than it has from linguists or poets. By way of highlighting the significant distinction between Scots and this genuinely indigenous Ulster dialect, I offer my own translation of this sonnet below:

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



The Good Fambly When the oul lad comes home late, my wee nan drops the clothes she’s stitchin, poor oul sinner, pokes a drap o’ coal to fire it up

And makes us a wee salad for the dinner. Sometimes she fries an omelette in the pan an if ye held it up until the light

it shines right through just like it would yer ear. Supper’s over in a few wee bites.

Then me, the oul lad and my big sister

sup cans a’ stout or half-uns for an hour

While nanny’s in the kitchen, cleanin up. Until ye reach the bottom of yer jar

then a quick pish, or say yer prayers instead And peacefully head up thon stairs til bed.

Unlike Garioch, I was not able to reproduce Belli’s famous ABBA ABBA rhyme

sequence, which gave Anthony Burgess the title for his novella about a putative encounter

between Belli and John Keats in Rome during Keats’s dying months. In a deviation from Belli, I also thought it more apt to have my Belfast good family drink indigenous stout

and whiskey rather than the somewhat displaced carafe of wine which Garioch faithfully transposed from Belli’s original sonnet. Equally, where Garioch fails to translate the age component of Belli’s “povera vecchia”, I followed the lead of Paul Howard, who translated

this sonnet into his native Yorkshire dialect as The Good Life. Howard glosses “Mi gram” as “poor owd pet”, which seems better to capture the warm familial intent of Belli’s phrase

than Garioch’s slightly condescending “puir sowl”. Similarly, where Garioch’s fidelity to Belli’s Crementina seems somewhat exotic in a Scots setting, Howard renames her as

“mi sister Grace” which seems more fitting even though it moves further away from the original.

Many of Belli’s poems render scenes from the Bible into his contemporary Roman

dialect in a manner that likely would have found even greater disfavour with the Vatican

than his excoriating sonnets about popes and cardinals. One of his most popular, and one



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that has been translated persistently, is his depiction of the day of judgement: Er giorno der giudizzio Quattro angioloni co le tromme in bocca Se metteranno uno pe cantone

A ssonà: poi co ttanto de vocione

Cominceranno a dì: “Fora a chi ttocca” Allora vierà su una filastrocca

De schertri da la terra a ppecorone, Pe ripijà ffigura de perzone

Come purcini attorno de la biocca. E sta biocca sarà Dio benedetto,

Che ne farà du’ parte, bianca, e nera:

Una pe annà in cantina, una sur tetto. All’urtimo uscirà ‘na sonajera

D’angioli, e, come si ss’annassi a letto, Smorzeranno li lumi, e bona sera.

This sonnet aptly closes Anthony Burgess’s novella ABBA ABBA, a clever and

entertaining evocation of Belli’s Trastevere in which the poet encounters the dying John

Keats. The novella arose out of Burgess’s own obsession with translating Belli’s poetry in the mid-1970s, when he was a resident of Trastevere himself. In his previous novel,

Beard’s Roman Women, Burgess’s pseudo-autobiographical protagonist considers dedicating his life to translating Belli’s works, but is relieved by a busker who is similarly

obsessed with the task. With dozens of sonnets translated, Burgess, who never let good

work go to waste, repurposed them as an appendix to a novella in which he “presented John Keats dying in Rome after the realisation that there was a new style to develop,

closer to the scabrous realism of the Roman dialect poet Belli than to a romanticism he had already outgrown.” The culture clash, as much poetic as national, between Belli and Keats is fascinating, though tragically fictional (Joseph Severn, who accompanied

Keats in Rome, makes no mention of Belli whatsoever). Similarly, the poetic and nationallinguistic encounter between Belli and Burgess has proved extremely fruitful:

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The Last Judgment (Anthony Burgess) At the round earth’s imagined corners let Angels regale us with a brass quartet,

Capping that concord with a fourfold shout: “Out, everybody, everybody out!”

Then skeletons will rattle all about

Forming in file, on all fours, tail to snout, Putting on flesh and face until they get,

Upright, to where the Judgment seat is set. There the All High, maternal, systematic

Will separate the black souls from the white: That lot there for the cellar, this the attic.

The wing’d musicians now will chime or blare a Brief final tune, then they’ll put out the light: Er-phwoo.

And so to bed. Owwwwwww. Bona Sera.

Michael Lister considered this version to be “most clever”, but at the same time “in no

way faithful to the original.” I would counter by suggesting that Burgess may be too faithful in this instance, concluding the poem somewhat confusingly with Belli’s Romanesco.

However, this sonnet also concluded the novella ABBA ABBA, and in that context it is entirely legitimate. Though Burgess’s original intent was to translate Belli’s sonnets into his native Mancunian dialect, generally they are more idiolectal than dialectal. The effervescent and muscular language packed tightly into a rigid rhyme scheme is typical

of much of Burgess’s poetry, which is generally unfairly overshadowed by his fiction. By

contrast, Robert Garioch did seek to evoke the same sense of a local depiction of the universal:

Judgement Day (Robert Garioch) Fowre muckle angels wi their trumpets, stalkin til the fowre airts, sall aipen the inspection;



Articles & Essays

they’ll gie a blaw, and bawl, ilk to his section,

in their huge voices: ‘Come, aa yese, be wauken.’ Syne sall crawl furth a ragment, a haill cleckin of skeletons yerkt out fir resurrection

to tak again their ain human complexion,

like choukies gaitheran roun a hen that’s clockan. An thon hen sall be Gode the blissit Faither; he’ll pairt the indwellars of mirk and licht,

tane doun the cellar, to the ruiff the tither. Last sall come angels, swarms of them, in flicht, and, like us gaen to bed without a swither,

they will blaw out the caunnles, and guid-nicht. Garioch’s version is notably more apocalyptic than Burgess’s, and manages to retain

Belli’s marvellous image of skeletons gathering like chicks around a mother hen, though

Burgess does evoke something of the farmyard tone. The Scots farewell also seems

somehow more definitively final than Burgess’s slightly whimsical nod to Belli. Yet even

that is surely preferable to Mike Stocks’s standard English version, which closes with a mild “nighty-night.” To replicate that kind of finality, I was forced to draw upon the fondness for casual profanity found in Belfast speech: On Judgemint Day Four angels with their trumpets to their bakes at all four corners of the universe

give out a little sumthin o’ their spake: “Git yersels up for better or worse.” So skeletons will get intill a line,

throwing flesh an skin on like a coat,

down on their hunkers, then stood nice an fine,

but heart-ascared of judgemint, poor wee dotes.

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



Then Holy God will split them inty two

an send one lot till heaven, one till hell, dependin’ on who was decent or shite. Angels sing their final hymns unto

the Good Lord, an they kill the lights as well.

That’s all there is, mucker. Good fuckin night. In this final sonnet, both of these Belli traditions come together, the Biblical content and

the demotic Roman setting. His depiction of Christ’s encounter with Martha of Bethany

derives from the Gospels of John (11:17-29) and Luke (10:38-42). What Belli adds to the Biblical accounts goes far beyond a mere transposition of location. He adds a wonderful

sense of humour to the scene, rendering Martha’s encounter with Christ akin to that of a nagging wife pestering her husband: Marta e Madalena “Ma Gesucristo mio”, diceva Marta

“Chi ce pò arrege ppiù co Madalena? Lei rosario, lei messa, lei novena,

Lei viacrùce ... Eppoi dice una ce scarta! Io nott’e giorno sto qui a la catena

A ffà la serva e annàmmece a ffà squarta, E sta santa dipinta su la carta

Nun z’aritrova mai c’a ppranzo e a cena.” “Senti, Marta”, arispose er Zarvatore, “Tu nun zei deggna de capì, nun zei Che Maria tiè la strada ppiù mijore.” E Marta: “Io nun ne resto perzuasa; E ssi ffacess’io puro com’e lei

Vorìa vedé come finissi casa.”



Articles & Essays

Burgess’s translation of this sonnet is a truly magnificent evocation of his native

Mancunian dialect. He manages to retain perfectly Belli’s balance of tone and sense

of humour, while relocating the entire encounter to the North-West of England. As with Howard’s Yorkshire translations of Belli, there is a wonderful sense of place about this version:

Martha & Mary (Anthony Burgess) Martha said: “Christ, I’m full up reet to’ t’ scupper Wi’ Mary there.” She belted out her stricture:

“Rosaries, masses – it fair makes you sick t’your Stomach. Stations o’ t’ Cross. I’m real fed up. A Carthorse I am, harnessed neck and crupper

While she does nowt. About time this horse kicked you Right in the middle of your holy picture,

Mary. Go on, now. Say it: What’s for supper?” “Martha, O Martha,” sighed the blessed Saviour, “You’ve no call to get mad at her behaviour.

She’s on the right road, and you’re out of luck.” “The right road, aye,” said Martha. “Why, if I Went on like her, this house would be a sty,

And she’d not see the right road for the muck.” This poem was surprisingly not one of those translated by Robert Garioch, though

an excellent rendering into Scots was written by the poet and teacher William Neill in his Twa Score Romanesco Sonnets. Neill dedicated his selection to “Rab Garie”, or Robert

Garioch, “whase skeilie owersettin o Belli’s sonnetti first gied me a lift ti ettil a hantle mair.” In Neill’s version, Martha complains of “daein the scodgies” and “sairvin up denners”,

which like Burgess evokes an exquisite sense of localisation. Where it jars somewhat,

and this perhaps cannot be helped, is in the depiction of Mary “tellin her beads” in a Calvinistic-sounding “kirk”. My own version was perhaps overly influenced by that of Burgess, even to the point of stealing his rhyme of “Saviour” and “behaviour”. But I tried to depict a more robust, bellicose Christ than Burgess’s reasonable and sighing messiah:

Trinity Journal of Literary Translation



Martha an Mary “Here, Jesus,” Martha said, “see our Mary

has my heart scalded with her mass an prayer.

She does nathin but count her beads at church and doesn’t lift a finger here or there.

What’d her last slave die of? I’m in chains liftin an layin, cleanin up her mess,

makin dinner. She’s no holy picture.

Guess who’s cookin’ nigh? Gwon nigh, guess.” “Houl on there, Martha,” said the Lord our Saviour, “you don’t understaun the sityeeashun.

She does better than you. Her prayers are great.” “But if I tried to copy her behaviour,”

said Martha, “we’d both be above our station

an you’d soon find this house was in some state.” It would be unfair to suggest that translation from or into dialect is any more difficult

than any other form of translation. The same problems of transposition of tone and imagery remain. Yet in seeking to evoke a localised sense of place through the medium

of dialect, there is an additional transposition required, where the translator is driven to find the points of universally shared experience between discrete cultures. It may be that

Giuseppe Belli’s sonnets are particularly amenable to such translation because of his ability to render the universal local, and indeed the versions written by poets like Anthony

Burgess and Robert Garioch among others suggest this may be the case. In such a context, the universality of content and theme assists translators who seek to relocate the work in a different culture and locale.



Articles & Essays

Bibliography Sonetti, Giuseppe Gioachino Belli, Rizzoli, Milano, 1997. ABBA ABBA, Anthony Burgess, Faber and Faber, London, 1976. “G.G. Belli: Roman Poet”, Eleanor Clark, The Kenyon Review, Vol. 14, No. 1, Winter, 1952.

Roman Sonnets frae Giuseppe Belli, included in Complete Poetical Works, Robert Garioch, ed. Robin Fulton, Macdonald, Loanhead, 1983, pp. 215-280.

Twa Score Romanesco Sonnets bi Giuseppe Gioachino Belli, William Neill, Burnside Press, Castle Douglas, 1996.

Seventeen Sonnets by G.G. Belli, William Neill, Akros, Kircaldy, 1998. The Roman Sonnets of Giuseppe Gioachino Belli, Harold Norse, Jargon Books, Highlands NC, 1960.

Sonnets – Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli, Mike Stocks, Oneworld Classics, London, 2007. Sonnets of Giuseppe Belli, Miller Williams, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1981.

Readers may also wish to consult this webpage, which contains a Belli sonnet and five different translations, including versions by Robert Garioch into Scots, Paul Howard into Yorkshire and Peter Nicholas Dale into ‘Strine’, the dialect of Australia: http://laudatortemporisacti.blogspot.ie/2012/11/the-life-of-man.html Copyright for the sonnets by Anthony Burgess is held by the Estate of Anthony Burgess/ International Anthony Burgess Foundation. Copyright for the sonnets by Robert Garioch is held by the Estate of Robert Garioch.

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Online: Dialect to dialect translation: Belli, Burgess, Garioch

pages 182-194

A Yiddish / Hiberno-English Dictionary

pages 180-181


pages 171-179


pages 164-170

Time of Sucession

pages 149-154

Online: Aviva-No

pages 155-162


page 163

At the Grand Theatre in Paris

pages 143-148

House with a Garden

pages 139-140

Online: The Sea

pages 137-138

Online: Onward, onward, noble steed

pages 131-136

Online: A House Made of Stone

pages 121-130

Online: Michelangelo 161

pages 117-118

Online: Michelangelo 247

pages 119-120

Online: Michelangelo 103

pages 113-114

Online: Michelangelo 151

pages 115-116

Online: Michelangelo 101

pages 111-112

Michelangelo 95

pages 109-110

Michelangelo 94

pages 107-108

Michelangelo 21

pages 105-106

Online: The Woman Who Weaves II

pages 83-84

Online: Time Added

pages 85-86

Online: The Concoction of Friends

pages 77-80

Online: The Widows

pages 87-88

Online: The Silkworms

pages 89-104

Pagan Rome or the Poster at the Entrance to the Cinema II

pages 81-82

Psalm 136. Super flumina Babylonis

pages 75-76

Online: Wouldn’t You Believe It?

pages 63-74

The Poetess

pages 61-62

Online: To Rika

pages 59-60

Online: Jack Kerouac

pages 55-58

A True Portrait of the Author

pages 49-50

Sebastian Dreaming

pages 43-48

Online: Elis

pages 39-42

Online: De profundis

pages 33-34

Online: Psalm

pages 35-38

Winter Path in A Minor

pages 31-32

Online: The Saint

pages 29-30

The Myth of Illuyanka

pages 19-20

From The Catalogue of Women

pages 23-24

Compert Con Culainn

pages 21-22

Prayer for Charasos

pages 25-28


pages 13-16

The Given Name

pages 9-10

Urban Warfare

pages 11-12


pages 17-18
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