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Lidia Vianu - Director of CTITC (CENTRE FOR THE TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY TEXT), Bucharest University, Professor of Contemporary British Literature at the English Department of Bucharest University, Member of the Writers’ Union, Romania.

 

 
 
 
 
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CTITC

CENTRE FOR THE TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY TEXT
CENTRUL PENTRU TRADUCEREA SI INTERPRETAREA TEXTULUI CONTEMPORAN

 

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 TRANSLATION CAFÉ 


 

MTTLC
MA Programme for the

TRANSLATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY LITERARY TEXT

Review of Contemporary Texts in Translation and E-Learning

 

 

 

Mary MacRae

Life Story


Night, and you step out into blackness, over
the side of the silent vessel, dreading that you
or your boots might slip and miss the rung, one
false move your last. Between above and below
you hang breathless, locked into history—
and this is what you chose, what you want.

No moon, no stars—though light’s not what you want—
only a sound like a thumb rubbing over
corrugated card as the men in your story
run down the ladder, loaded with kit. And you
feel rather than see, where the man below
you wavers, shifts his pack, now there’s no-one.

‘Dropped like a stone,’ I hear you say, ‘just one
splash and he’d gone.’ A small smile. You want
to cry, can’t quite believe the man below
the water wasn’t you, rehearse it over
and over again to convince yourself that you
survived the war, came home to tell your story.

It comes back to me now: hearing your story
I saw what you saw, clear as glass, how someone
plummeted down, but whether it was you,
or him, or someone else, I didn’t want
to know. Slid through a door that closed over
his head, from dark above to dark below.

Whoever that man was who plunged below,
if you’re the secret sharer of his story
then I’m yours. And the story isn’t over;
when you dropped like a stone you left me one
part short, however much I wanted—want—
to understand the plot and why I miss you.

Taller than life, younger than in death, you
come to visit me now from way below
the spirit-level of dream; won’t speak. I want
to ask if you can love me—that old story—
but don’t; put my arms around you one
last time and say, I love you, over and over.

I conjured you from below by telling your story
and then I saw our two stories are one:
can I want yours to end before mine’s over?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petruta-Oana Naidut

Mary MacRae

Povestea unei vieti


Noapte, iar tu iesi in intuneric, pasind
de pe vasul tacut, temandu-te ca tu
sau bocancii tai o s-alunecati calcand in gol, un singur
pas gresit, ultimul. Intre inaltul cerului si adancul apelor
atarni fara suflare, istoria o capcana-ti este –
iar asta-i ce-ai ales, ce vrei.

Nu-i luna si nici stele – desi nu lumina vrei –
numai un zgomot ca de unghie racaind
zimti de vedere pe cand oamenii din a ta poveste
coboara grabnic scara, cu ranita pe umar. Iar tu
mai curand simti decat vezi, de unde se clatina cel de mai jos,
trecandu-si sacul pe astalalt umar, acum ai ramas singur.

"Ca bolovanul s-a dus la fund," te-aud zicand, "un singur
pleoscait si-a disparut." Zambesti usor. Vrei
sa strigi, nu prea ai crede ca in adancul apelor
n-ai lunecat chiar tu, iti tot repeti in gand
c-ai scapat, te-ai intors din razboi ca sa spui a ta poveste.

Acum imi amintesc tot: auzind a ta poveste,
am vazut ce-ai vazut si tu, cum a cazut, sigur,
cineva, insa de-oi fi fost chiar tu,
ori el, ori altul, sa stiu nu voi.
pe usa ce s-a inchis deasupra-i, s-a dus lunecand
din intunericul cerului in negura apelor.

Oricine-o fi fost cel cufundat in negura apelor,
de tu i-oi fi tainic confident in asta poveste,
atunci eu sunt a ta. Si povestea nu se sfarseste,
cand ai cazut ca bolovanul, m-ai lasat
fara o parte din ea, oricat as vrea – si voi –
a intelege cele intamplate si de ce-mi lipsesti.

Mult prea-nalt, mai tanar decat in clipa mortii, tu
vii la mine din negura de dincolo
de lumea viselor; nu-mi vobesti. Si voi
sa te-ntreb de ma poti iubi – vechea poveste –
insa n-o fac; in brate te cuprind
pentru ultima data, "Te iubesc," iar si iar zicand.

Te-am chemat din strafunduri spunandu-ti povestea
Si-atunci am inteles, povestile noastre nu-s decat una:
Cum s-ar putea sfarsi a ta inainte de a mea?

 

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