Tuesday, January 20, 2015

'E adesso sul finire del round' by Mario Luzi trans. Nicholas Benson

And now at the end of the round,
he leans on the ropes,
he goes down hard,
he, the giant, first 
precisely assailed on each flank,
his face mashed, pummeled in all his flesh:
and now here it is, leaping to action,
shuddering from its own 
sudden transformation,
the arena resounds: fixes
a single, terrible 
pupil upon him, holds him there,
the evil eye, 
to the matt,
down for the count,
without mercy counted down.
                                             And the other,
still caged, guard position relaxed,
yet chained in the mail
of battle, curtailed — while the forcefield 
of undiminished energy vibrates
all around him — and there
left alone
suspended over the black abyss,
on the verge of plunging 
into the dark trench
of sweat and spit, into the churning fire
of violence unexpressed...

he’s done. Each of them are.
Born of struggle,
struck down at its end: cruelly, at once. 

(from “Per il battesimo dei nostri frammenti” (1978-1984), in Tutte le poesie, Milano: Garzanti, 1988. pp. 516-517)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

from David Shulman's Spring, Heat, Rains

I dream, oddly, of the Greek poem inscribed on the wall of the burial cave at Beit Guvrin, south of Jerusalem:

Nothing else remains that I can do for you,
or that will pleasure you.
I am sleeping with someone else, but it is you
I love, dearest to me of all.
In the name of Aphrodite, I am happy about one thing,
that your cloak has been left to me as a pledge.
But I flee, I permit you
expanses of freedom.
Do anything you desire, do not strike the wall,
it only makes noise.
We will motion to each other, this will be
the sign between us.

A woman, apparently, speaks to her dead lover. I carry this poem with me in my wallet. Often, when I read it out loud, people refuse to believe it was written two thousand years ago. Amiel sent me the original last year; the translation is faithful, even the 'expanses of freedom.'

David Shulman, Spring, Heat, Rains. A South Indian Diary (The U of Chicago P, 2009), p. 7.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tradurre poesia è un umile servizio, da fare in punta di piedi, sapendo bene che ogni traduzione invecchia, mostra dopo alcuni anni le rughe del tempo, mentre il testo originale rimane là, nella sua intatta bellezza.

-Antonia Arslan, "Il bisogno di tradurre poesia," tradurre. pratiche teorie strumenti. numero 7 (autunno 2014).