Ein Schatten...

Ein Schatten...
Ein Schatten, still
wie Stein, wie Asche
still wie Luft,
die zittert über Spuren
von fremdem Herz geschleift
Tag und Nacht.

Wie furchtbar ist der Tod:
ein Leben
wird jedermanns
verstohlener Besitz.
Esther Kinsky

from Modern Poetry in Translation No.17: Mother Tongues

Reproduced by permission of the author and translators.
Cysgod, yn llonnydd
fel llechen, fel llwch
yn llonnydd fel awyr,
sy’n crynu tros olion
finiogodd calon diethryn
ddydd a nos.

Mor ofnadwy yw angau:
daw bywyd
yn eiddo 
lladradaidd i bawb.
translated by Mererid Puw Davies
Faileas, cho ciùin
Ri cloich, ri luath
Cho ciùin ris na speuran
Air chrith os cionn làrach
Air an geurachadh le cridhe coigrich
A là ‘s a dh’ oidhche.

Nach eil m bàs diabhalta:
‘S I a’ fàs mar sheilbh
Fhàillidh a h-uile duine.
translated by Rody Gorman
Senca, tiha
kot kamen, kot pepel,
tiha kot zrak,
ki trepeta nad poti
tujega srca zaustavljen
dan in noč.

Kako strašna je smrt:
postane slehernika
skrivna last. 
translated by Milan Jesih
Esther Kinsky

Esther Kinsky was born in Engelkirchen, Germany and after living in the UK for a decade, now divides her time between Berlin and Battonya (Hungary). She is considered one of the most distinguished translators from Polish into German and was awarded the prestigious Berlin Brucke award together with the author Olga Tokarczuk for her translation of Tokarczuk's novel Taghaus, Nachthaus. In 2009 Kinsky won the Paul-Celan-Prize for her work as a translator. She is also a novelist and poet in her own right.


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Mererid Puw Davies

Mererid Puw Davies grew up in Lancashire and Clywd, and studied in Hamburg and Oxford. She currently lectures in German Literature, film and cultural studies at University College London.

Besides her academic publications, she is the co-author of two fantasy adventure books, and has published two collections of poetry: Darluniau ('Pictures', 1988) and Caneuon o Ben Draw’r Byd ('Songs from the End of the World', 1996). Mererid Puw Davies is also interested in the translation of poetry, notably from and into Welsh and other lesser-used languages, and has worked, translated and published with poets and translators in lesser-used languages across Europe.

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Rody Gorman

Rody Gorman was born in Dublin in 1960 and now lives on the Isle of Skye; he writes in and translates between, Irish and Scottish Gaelic. 

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Milan Jesih

Milan Jesih, born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, is a poet, playwright and translator who studied comparative literature in Ljubljana. In the 1960s he was a member of an avant-garde literary-performance group. Now a freelance writer and winner of the Prešeren Foundation Prize (1986), Jesih has translated more than forty plays (Shakespeare, Chekhov, Bulgakov). He was President of the Slovene Writers Association 2009-2011. He has published eight collections of poetry, the most recent being Soneti, drugi ('New Sonnets', 1993) and Jambi (2000).

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About Ein Schatten...

‘Voyages & versions / Tursan is Tionndaidhean’ was the title of the translation workshop run by the Scottish Poetry Library and Literature Across Frontiers 12-18 May 2003. The group consisted of Petr Borkovec (Czech Republic), Mererid Puw Davies (Wales), Jakub Ekier (Poland), Matthew Fitt (Scotland), Rody Gorman (Scotland), Milan Jesih (Slovenia),  Doris Kareva (Estonia), Esther Kinsky (England) and Aled Llion (Wales). The group spent days at Moniack Mhor writing centre in the Highlands, returned to the Library in Edinburgh and went up to Dundee Contemporary Arts, and gave multi-lingual readings, producing what was, in effect, an hour’s sound-poem. Several of the poets mentioned their sense of renewed faith in poetry – how refreshed they felt by the chance to look closely at their own and others’ work in company with people whose aesthetics might be quite different but whose skills and passion were recognisably similar.