Za vselej...

Za vselej...
Za vselej je zastal otrok pred hišo
in naglo stekel proč – za vselej, deček.
Odrastel bo, vzhrumel in se utišal,
potoval, ljubil, skusil troho sreče,

tu stal, se staral, sam imel otroke;
bahatil se; in stradal v suhih letih;
in živel; in strmeč v noči globoke
še upal, ded že, v zvezde poleteti

s prostosti perutnicami; in tu stal;
zamišljen molčal v sneg; stal pred seboj;
si točil časa in nesmisel hrustal,
brezzobec; vselej, nikdar in nocoj

tu dlje od vseh zamišljenih daljav;
in mrzlo ilo gluh na parah ležal
– po temnem cvetju bo žehtela veža –;
in deček navsevdilj pred hišo stal.
Milan Jesih

from Jambi (Ljubljana: Založba Mladinska knjiga, 2000)

Reproduced by permission of the author and translators.
Here, by the house, the child stood still forever,
and forever the young boy’s run away.
He will grow up, make noise and become settled,
he’ll travel, love, sample his happy share

Here he will stand, mature, and father children,
be boastful and go hungry in lean years
and live; and stare into the depth of darkness
and as a grandad even hope to reach the stars

on wings of freedom; here he will be standing,
thoughtfully gazing at the snow and at himself.
He’ll take a draught of time, toothlessly munching
his nonsense here, forever, never, in this very night

further away than all imagined distance;
and, cold, numb clay again, be lying on the bier,
- dark flowers fill the chamber with their fragrance -
and by the house the boy will stand forever, here.
translated by Esther Kinsky
Für immer
Für immer blieb er stehn als Kind dort vor dem Hause
und lief dann fort, der Junge, schnell, für immer.
Erwachsen wird er, lärmen und dann Ruhe brauchen,
reisen und lieben und vom Glück ein wneig trinken,

hier wird er stehen, reifen, selber Kinder haben,
sich brüsten und in magren Jahren zehren;
und leben, in die tiefen Nächte starrend,
als Alter noch voll Streben nach den Sternen

auf Freiheitsflügeln, und er wird hier stehen,
versonnen schweigen in den Schnee, sich gegenüber;
Zeit sich zapfen, und an seinem Unsinn ohne Zähne
kauen, immer, niemals, heut Nacht eben

ferner als jegliche erdachte Ferne;
und auf der Bahre liegen, wieder taube Erde,
- nach dunklen Blumen riecht es in den Räumen -
immer wird der Junge vor dem Hause stehen.
translated by Esther Kinsky
Am byth o flaen...
Am byth o flaen y ty, mi safodd plentyn,
A dengid am byth wedyn, y bachgen bach;
Gwnaiff brifio; cadw swn; ac ymddistewi;
A theithio; caru; profi bodlondeb prin.

Mi saif; aeddfeda; magu plant ei hunan;
Ymffrostio; llwgu trwy flynyddoedd crin;
Bydd fyw; a gwylio nosau i’w gwaelodion;
Gobeithio; ac, yn daid, fe gyrcha’r sêr

Ar adennydd ysgeifn; ac mi saif, yma,
Yn dawel mewn eira, ger ei fron ei hun
A drachtio’n ddwfn o amser; gwnaiff gnoi ffwlbri
A’i geg ddiddannedd, fyth, byth eto, heno –

Tu hwnt, fan hyn, i bellter pob dychymyg
Ar ei hyd ar elor, clai byddar, oer,
Bydd persawr blodau tywyll yn y parlwr
Ac am byth y saif y bychan o flaen y ty.
translated by Mererid Puw Davies
Jäänd igaveseks...
Jäänd igaveseks seisma maja ette
ja pistmas plehku, igavesti poiss,
ta kasvab suureks, võtab üht-teist ette,
ta maitseb õnne erinevais mais,

siin seisab, vanemaks saab, ise isa,
kord priiskab, samas näljapäevi näeb,
pilk öösse pöördund, juba vanaisa,
ta ikka ihkab vabaduse väel

veel tähtedeni tõusta; seisab
siin, jalad lumes, enesesse teel,
ta valab aega, mõttetust ta näsib,
ei iial, igavesti, täna ööl

siin, kaugemal mistahes kaugustest
külm savi katab, kurt, ta keha kõhna –
toas heljub hämar lillelõhn – ja
poiss igavesti seisab maja ees.
translated by Doris Kareva
Balach gu suthainn air beul an taighe
‘S a’ ruith na dheann gun fhiosda – gu suthainn am balach.
Fàsaidh e suas, fàsaidh e bragail, fàsaidh e sàmhach.
Nì e siubhal, fiosraichidh gaol agus toileachas.

Seasaidh e ‘n seo, fàsaidh na inbheach, togaidh teaghlach.
Nì e uaill; bidh e leis an acras anns na làithean a tha gann
‘S mairidh e ‘s, a’ spleuchdadh ris an oidhche dhomhainn,
Bidh dòchas aige, na bhodach, ag èirigh a-measg nan rionnagan

Le itean soars ‘s nì e seasamh an seo fhèin
Is, fo smuain, cumaidh na thosd san tsneachda, seasaidh
Air a bheulaibh fhèin, dòrtaidh àm dha fhèin ‘s cagnaidh faoineas,
An rud gun chàil, a-nochd is gu sìorraidh riamh.

An seo thar nan astaran uile sa mhac-meanmna
‘S, cho bodhar is clach, na laighe sa chiste –
Bidh fàileadh den t-seòmar de dhìitheanan dubha –
‘S balach na sheasamh air beul an taighe gu suthainn.
translated by Rody Gorman
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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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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Doris Kareva

Doris Kareva was born in Tallinn, Estonia. Having graduated in English Language and Literature from Tartu University, she was the literary editor of the cultural weekly Sirp 1978-93, and 1997-2002, and was Secretary-General of the Estonian National Commission for UNESCO 1992-2008. In 2009 she became Chief Editor of the family journal Meie Pere.

She has published many collections of poetry (including one children’s book and one experimental bilingual book with Marina Tervonen), translated essays, poetry and plays (Anna Akhmatova, Emily Dickinson, Joseph Brodsky, Kahlil Gibran, Shakespeare, W. H. Auden, Samuel Beckett etc.). Her poetry has been translated into many languages, with one full collection in English, Shape of Time  (Arc, 2010), translated by Tiina Aleman.

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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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About Za vselej...

‘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.