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Apple An lll Why Translation? "Pity spareth so tnany an evil tl1ing. 11 --Ezra Pound from CANTO XXX A man should not approach any enterprise with less than the highest ideals of which he is conscious, however limited his practical expectations may be. Whatever infinitesimal value this supplement will have lies in how effectively it disseminates ideals, tP.cJmiques, and a consciousness of tile history of literature, at least among people writing at New College. Acrostics do not suffice, nor imitations of tile residing poet or prose lat>reate of New College. That is why I have chosen to dedicate tllis issue to translation, not only to coWlterbalance the monolingualisrn and temporal provincialism prevalent wiiliin ilie ew College School Of Poetry, but to suggest an alternative to a desecration of ilie hwnan faculty of speech: creative poetry worl
Page six from the Chinese of Li T'ai-Po translations by Dr. Elling 0. Eide THE HARD ROAD TO SHU Ay! Ay! So dangerous: So high! The road to Shu is hard, harder than climbing blue sky. Silkworm Thicket and Fishing Duck Founded that nation --somewhere when --But forty-eight thousand years have run, And smoke from homes of settlers does not reach the frontier of Ch'in. There used to be a bird road from the western slope of T'ai-Po That one might travel straight across to 0-mai's peaks and spires, But the earth collapsed, the molUltain split, the muscled warriors died, And only then the ladders to heaven were hooked together by stone and timber. Up above is the towering beacon where the six dragons tum the sun; Down below on the twisted river colliding waves explode on the turns. The trip would even be too much for the wings of a yellow crane; Gibbons and monkeys hoping to cross climb and tug in despair. Green Mud Summit, tortured, twisting, With nine turns to a hundred steps, you thread the jutting crags. Grasp the Triad, pass the Well Stars, look up and heave a sigh, Press your hand against your chest, sit down to gasp and moan. I wonder, as you travel west, when will you return? I fear a road so harsh and high is impossible to climb. All I see is a sorrowing bird that cries from an ancient tree, And the cocks fly in pursuit of hens, circling through the forest. Yet again I hear the cuckoo call in the moonlit night, sorrowing over the desolate mountain. The road to Shu is hard, harder than climbing blue sky. Letting a man just hear of this wilts his youth away. The peaks rise in lOlbroken rows short of the sky by less than a foot, The withered pines hang upside-down, supported b y vertical walls. The flying chutes and tyrannous current clash and snarll:ike Slvine, Pounding the cliffs and spinning the stones to thunder in ten thousand ravines. The perils, they are really so And woe to the man so far from home, why should he come this way! The Sword Callery looms above with its storeyed cra gs and spires. One man at the pass, Ten thousand cannot break through. And if the guards are not our people, They can change into jackals and wolves In the morning avoid fierce tigers. At night avoid long snakes. They sharpen teeth for sucking blood And cut down men like hemp. There is pleasure, they say, in Brocade City, But best of all is to hurry back horne. The road to Shu is hard, harder than climbing blue sky. Turning back I gaze at the west with long and deep sighs When the Emperor dwelt in the Night-Is Young Palace, I came as a maid to fold away clothes I had never been favored by the Purple H all, Yet I ventured to brush off the golden bedstead. The flood may come. but I will not flee; Let the bear approach, still I shall remain. Frail body supporting the sun and moon, Like the trembling light of the firefly. I hope that His Majesty, gathering turnips, Has not been displeased the parts down below. from the Spanish of Miguel Hernandez from THE ffiRPETUAL BOLT Translated by Dru Dougherty Sonnet 14 A silence of metal, sad, echoing, swords congregating with love at the tip of wrecking bones in the volcanic region of the bull. A dampness of feminine gold. smelled, put blazes in his blood and to his bellow, a hurricane cry, he gave refuge among the flowers, The grief of a thousand lovers is covering the ymmg clover with hot, loving gorings. Beneath his hide the harbored rages are thoughts of death erected in the nubs of his sprouting horns. Sonnet 21 Sonnet 25 by Barbara Mellen THE BALLAD OF LONG BANK When my hair was first in bangs, DRINKING ALONE IN TiiE MOONUGHT Beneath the blossoms with a pot of wine, No friends at hand, so I poured alone. I raised my cup to invite the moon, Turned to my shadow, and we became three. Now the moon had never learned about drinking, And my shadow had merely fo!lowed my form, But I quickly befriended the moon and my shadow. Whenever I sang, the moon swayed with me, Whenever I danced, my shadow went wild. Drinking, we shared our enjoyment together, Drunk, each went off on his own. But forever agreed on dispassionate revels, We promised to meet in the far Milky Way. I used to pick flowers and tease from the door. And you would ride on a bamboo horSe, Circling the well-shed and throwing green plums. We lived together in the Village of Long Ban.k Two little children, no doubts or mistrust. At fourteen, I became your wife. My bashful face could never smile. I would droop my head and face the dark wall And not once turn for your thousand calls. At last, fifteen, I unfurrowed my brow, And vowed to stay with you like ashes with dust. If you cling to your promise like a man in a flood Would I ever be climbing the Widow's Watchtower? I was sixteen when you went away To Rough River Rock in Threatening Gorge. In the Fifth Month there is no running through, And the cries of monkeys are sad in the sky. The tracks by the gate where you slowly departed, In each one now the green moss grows. The moss is deep and will not sweep away; Autumn wind is early, there are fall.ing In the Eighth Month the butterflies came And flew in pairs through the west garden flowers. When I think of this, my heart starts breaking, I si t. and grieve. My face grows old. Whenever you are ready to come back from the w e st, First send a letter to let us all know. I will go out to meet you, no matter how far; I will go right down to :ong Wind Shore. WHITE WALNUTS erred gauze sleeves you see them distinctly. -Carla Cohen On a white jade plate, you glance at them and they are gone. I think of an old monk intoning at leisure, from the French o f T l'istan Corbiere translated by Jolm orn THE TOAD A song on a muggy night The moon electroplates in chrome a somber forest of cut outs A song like an echo, Quick! on the gr01.md, there beneath the bushes. I. Silence.,. Come on, there, in the shadow A toad! Why so afraid of me, your comrade? Look at him: a nightingale of the mud, a poet clipped of his wings Horrible? He's just singing. Horrible? But why? Can I see his eyes? No. He's creeping back beneath his rock, chilled, Good night, The toad? That's me, Final Sonnet Do you remember that neck, call to mind that gift, that something As your voice pours out its mildness For plucking the feathers of glacial archangels, the lily snowfall of slender teeth which parapetedly beautiful and white was a rotating battlement of cream? I remember and can't remember that tale of ivory expired on a hair, where the swan neck learned to entwine and to shout the transitory snow. I remember and can't remember that stalk of stranglable feminine ice like a short and milky way, And I remember that propless kiss that stayed between my mouth and the road of that neck, that kiss, and that day. of honey in the mouth, and at the pure rock of your hips, in my terrestial hands desire places its roses on the customary fire, Exasperated I arrive at the summit of your island breast, and circle it with an ambitious sea and a stamping of exasperated petals of fire. But you defend yourself with walls from my tremors, covetous of submerging you in dirt and oceans. Of virgin rock, indifferent, silent: the silence of stone, that rose upon rose places and replaces in my hands. is condemned to the weeping of fountains and to the grief of mountain springs. For diffusing its soul through the metals, for giving its pearl-gleams to to the pain of inclement anvils fire is dragged by torrential blacksmiths. To the painful dealings with the thorn, to the fateful depression of the rose, and to the rusting action of death I see myself hurled, and this disintegration is for no other misfortune or reason than loving you, only loving you.
I from the German of Rainier Maria Rilke from SONNETS TO ORPHEUS, Part I translated by Pauline Mead Those symmetries ... oh, more than boughs and shade Orpheus singing. Arbor in the ear. And all was still. As solitude increased, his hand began to beckon while it played. The creatures of that silence were released from trees that had been nesting place and lair; and it was not from cunning, not from fear that they were hushed and moved with so much care, it was from listening. Bellow, cry and bark diminished in their hearts. And though their hearing was lowly as a hut, a place of dark longing they'd raised upon the darker ground, Orpheus welcomed them within the clearing, And built them temples in their sense of sound. II Almost a girl, beginning to appear as he began so joyously to sing; and clearly shining through her veils of Spring she made herself a bed inside my ear. And slept in me, and all things were her sleep: The trees I found so wondrous, newly mown meadows I walked, the skies that felt so deep, and all the passing marvels I had known. She slept the world. You sang her as that rare and perfect being, not desiring most to be awake. Ah, see --she rose and slept. Where is her death? Is this a theme you've kept tm.til your song consumes itself?,., 0, where does she dissolve from me a girl almost VII Praising, that's His mission was to bless, emerging like a silver vein from rock silence. His he rt a transitory press that endlessly supplies th human stock with wine, such wine! A voice that never across a scar, but when it parts his mouth all turns either to vineyard or to grapes that grow and ripen in his sentient South. or shadows that the warrbg gods have shed cannot destroy the jubilance he sings. Orpheus is a messenger who stays to prop ajar the doors that seal the dead with bowls of fruit diffusing sun an aise. XN We tend the flowers, vineyards and the fruit. These speak to us not only of the season, but through their brightness we can sense the root of jealousy, perhaps a gleam of treason in those who now invigorate the earth --those countless dead. How can we know their share in growing things? For their decay is worth our livelihood, but do they really care, we wonder. Are they glad in doing this? Or do they toil like countless heavy brutes who, forced against their will, must slave for us? the masters, sleeping with the roots, and granting out of their immense surplus this thing that's part dumb strength and part a kiss? from the German of George Trakl translated by K. Logan DECLINE Over the white pond Wild birds have flown. In the evening An icy wind blows from our stars. Over our graves Bends the night's shattered forehead. Under the oaks We're caught in the tossing Of a sHver skiff, The white walls of the city ring out. Under arches of thorn Oh, my brother We climb the blind hands Edging toward midnight. from the Latin of Catullus translated by Dr. Corinne Wilson CIX Caesar, I'm not so eager to wish to please yer, Nor does it matter if you're white or mulatter, xvn Under all else, the first to be born -the mysterious roots of all they erected --the source that none of them saw. Shining helmet and hunter's horn wisdom in graybeard's law -brothers in raging force --and women like lutes. Branch crowding on branch is a tree Not one can be free One! Oh higher .. higher! Still they break in the winds. At last, though, the topmost bends into a lyre. FROM THE BOOK OF TRAVELS: SPRINGTIME ON THE POTOMAC Ah, George Washington: you chop down tree of cherry and dream of wisdom. --Bok Foy -Carla Cohen translated from the Japanese by Norman Stein AN IMITATION OF CATULLUS, VIll Wise up, Catullus, Call a spade a spade: She's gcme, You had the limelight for a while, Wherever she would go, They say you used to trail her like a puppy on a leash. Nobody's gonna love her half as much. And while she played around with you, you asked She gave: you didn't need to twist her arm. You had the limelight for a while, She's making Someone else: you better, too. You weakling, heel! Quit whining over what is gone for good And curb yourself instead. Resign yourself. So lcmg, girl. Catullus is resigned. He doesn't chase you-he can take a hint, He won't come now to pester you at night. Bitch, now you1ll be sorry. What is left For you in life? Who'll come to flirt with you? Now who will call you beautiful? And who Will love you now? Who will they love? Whose lips will you stick your tongue between 'llow? But you, Catullus, take it like a man? --John Horn Page seven XXVI Divine Orpheus, still building in us your tree of music, till it was shattered by the shriek of frenzied maenads, who destroy the grace they seek, shall we demand of them your symmetry? Your lyre they long ago abandoned to the wind. The pieces of your body which they kept as charms are part of Dionysus, they're undisciplined and menacing, like everything he harms. Still, there are times when deep beneath our own reflection in peaceful inlets, we can just discern your face. This is your third, most fleeting resurrection. 0 you lost god! 0 you unending trace! Only because you have been torn and scattered, we are handed moments of eternity. from the Spanish of Garcia Lorca translated by Allison Atkinson BUSTER KEATON'S WALK Characters: Buster Keaton The Owl The Cock An American Woman A Negro A YolUlg Girl Cock: Coc-a-doodle -doo. (Enter Buster Keaton leading his four children by the hand) Buster Keaton: (He takes out a wooden dagger and kills them) My poor little children. Cock: Cock-a-doodle-doo. Buster Keaton: (Counting the bodies on the grotmd.) One, two three and four. (He sei-es a bicycle and leaves. ) (Enter the old rubber tires and drums of gasoline, a Negro eats his straw hat. ) Buster Keaton: It's nice to go for a ride on a bicycle. The Owl: VJho, who, whoo. Buster Keaton: How well the little birds sing. The Owl: Whoooooo Buster Keaton: How touching. (A pause, Buster Keaton ineffably crosses the reeds and the tiny field of rye The conntryside grows smaller between the wheels of tht;. machine The bicycle is one dimensional. It can go into the books and stretch itself out in the bread Buster Keaton's bicycle doesn't have a carmel seat and sugar pedals, as the evil men would wish It is a bicycle like all bicycles but it is the only one drenched with innocence. Adam and Eve would rlUl terrified if they saw a glass full of water, but on the other hand they would caress Keaton's bicycle.) Buster Keaton: Oh love, love! (Buster Keaton falls to the ground The escapes. runs a ter two giant bqtterflies. The bicycle runs crazily, half a millimeter from the gro1md.) Buster Keaton: (Getting up.) I don't want to say anything What am I going to say? A Voice: Silly. (He continues walking. His eyes, infinite and sad, like those of a newly born animal, dream of lillies, angels, and silken sashes. His eyes., that are the "ottom of a glass. A silly child's eyes. That are very ugly. That are very beautiful His ostrich eyes. His hum an eyes in the sure balance of melancholy. In the distance he can see Philadelphia. The inhabitants of this city already know that the old poem of the Sing er sewing machine can circulate among the great roses of the greenhouse, even though th ey won't ever nnderstand what a subtle poetical difference exists between a cup of hot tea and another cup of cold tea. In the distance shines Philadelphia. ) Buster Keaton: This is a garden. American Woman: Good afternoon. (Buster Keatcm smiles and takes a close-up of the woman's shoes. Oh what shoes! We shouldn't allow such shoes. It takes three crocodile skins to make them.) Buster Keaton: I wish American Woman: Do you have a sword decorated with myrtle leaves? (Buster Keaton shrugs his shoulders and raises his right foot. ) American Woman: Do you have a ring with a poisoned stone? (Buster Keaton slowly closes his eyes and raises his left foot. ) American Woman: Well then? (Four seraphim with wings of celestial gauze dance among the flowers The young city girls play the piano as if they were riding bicycles The waltz. the moon and the canoes shake our friends's precious he art. To everyone's surprise, autumn has invaded the garden, as water invades a geometrical lump of sugar.) Buster Keaton: (Sighing) I might have been a swan. But I can't, even though I might have wanted to be. Because. where would I leave my hat? Where my feather collar and my moire tie? What a misforttme! (A Young girl, wasp-waisted. comes by riding a bicycle. She has the head of a nightingale.) Young Girl: Whom do I have the honor of addressing? Buster Keaton: (With a bow.) I am Custer Keat-on. (The girl faints and falls off the bicycle. Her striped legs tremble on the grass like two dying zebras A gramophone says in a thousand simultaneous voices: ''There are nightingales in America.") Buster Keaton: (Kneeling. ) Miss Eleonora, forgive me, it wasn't me! Miss! (Lower. ) Miss! (Still lower.) Miss! (He kisses her.) (On the horizon of Philadelphia gleams the flashing star of the police.)
THE CIRCULAR RUINS From the Spanish of Jorge Luis Borges Published in THE GARDEN OF BRANCHING PATHS, 1941. Translated by David L Smith "And if he left off dreaming about you. --THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, VI No.one Sa.\111 him disembark in the unanimous night, no one saw the bamboo canoe sinking in the sacred mud, but in a few days no ne was unaware that the taciturn man had come from the south and that his home was one of the infinite villages up river, on the violent flank of the mmm tain, where the Z end idiom is not corrupted from Greek and where leprosy i s rare. It is certain that the grey rna n kissed the mud, started uphill without dislodging (probably, without feeling) the cortaderas that lacerated his flesh and dragged himself. seasick and bloody. up to the circular inclosure that rings a tiger or horse of stone, which was sometimes the color of fire and other times the color of ash This circle is a temple that ancient conflagrations devoured, that the marshy jungle had profaned and whose god does notreceive the honor of men The stranger stretched out beneath the pedestal. The sun awakened him. He noted without surprise that the wol.mds had healed; he closed his pale eyes and slept not from weakness of the flesh but by determin ation of the will. He knew that this temple was the place that summoned his invincible purpose; he knew that the unceasing trees had not succeeded in strangling, down the river, the ruins of another favorable temple. also of the dead and burned gods;he knew that his immediate obligation was the dream. Toward midnight the inconsolable cry of a bird awakened him. Tracks of bare feet, some figs and a jug revealed to him that the inhabitants of the region had respectfully spied on his sleep and sought his favor or feared his magic He felt the cold of fear and looked for a sepulchural niche in the delapidated ram-part and concealed himself with strange leaves. The design that guided him was not impossible, although it was supernatural. He wanted to dream a man: he wanted to dream him with meticulous integrity and to impose reality upon him. This magical project had taken up the entire space of his soul; if someone had saked him his own name or any detail of his prior life, he would not have been able to answer The uninhabited and ruined temple befitted him because it was a minimum of the visible world: the proximity of the peasants did also, because they were entrusted with sup plying his temperate needs. The rice and fruit of their tribute were sufficient food for his body, which was dedicated to the single task of sleeping and dreaming. At first the dreams were chaotic; after a while they were of dialectical nature. stranger dreamed hirmelf in the center of a ci.rcular amphitheater somewhat like the burned temple: clouds of taciture students wearied the of seats; the faces of the hindmost hung at many centuries d.is tance and at a stellar altitude, but they were all precise. The man dictated thet;n lessons in tomy, in cosmography, in mag1c: the lis tened with anxiety and tried to answer w1th understanding, as if they divined the importance of that examination, which would redeem one of them from the state of mere apparition and interpolate him into the real world. man, sle.eping and waking, considered the attributes of his phantoms, not letting himself be tricked by the imposbrs, divining in certain perplexities a growing intelligence. He sought a soul that de served to participate in the universe In nine or ten nights he realized with some bitterness that he could expect nothing from those pupils who accepted his doctrine passively. unlike those who risked, at times, a rea SOJ13ble contradiction. The former, although worthy of love and good feelings, were not able to develop into individuals; the latter preexisted a little more. One afternoon (now the afternoons too were tributaries of sleep, now he didn't stay awake but a couple of hours at daybreak) he permanently discharged the vast illusionary school and kept only one student. He was a taciturn lad, melancholy, wayward at times, with sharp wits that reflected tho_se of the dreamer. The brusque elimination of h1s fellows did not disconcert him for long; his progress, at the end of a few private lessons, was e-nough to astound the However, catastrophe occurred. The man. ont: day, emerged from sleep as if from a viscous desert, looked at the dim light of evening which he at first confused with dawn, and realized that he had not dreamed, All that night and all the day, the intolerable brilliance of insomnia fell against him, He wished to explore the jt.mgle to weaken himself; as soon as he entered among the hemlocks, some weak sig;ts of dream fleetingly veined with visions of a rudimental type: useless. He wanted to bring together the school and hardly had he articulated a few short vords exhortation, it disintegrated, it vanished, rn is almost constant wakefulness, tears o:( anger >urned in his old eyes. He realized that the endeavor to model the diz 'Y and incoherent matter of which dreams are composed is the most difficult that a man can take although he might penetrate all the emgm as of the higher and lower order: much more difficult than to weave a rope of sand or than to coin the wind without face. He realized that an initial failure was inevitable, He swore to forget the enormous hallucination that had turned him aside at first and he looked for another method of work ing, Before exercising it, he dedicated a month to the recovery of the strength that the delirum had wasted He abandoned every premeditation of dreaming and almost right away he succeeded in sleepiug a reasonable p