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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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eliza Ghitulescu

Mary MacRae


Povestea vietii noastre


E noapte si pasesti in bezna, peste
marginea vasului silentios, ingrozit
sa nu aluneci din vina ta sau a bocancilor tai si sa nu nimeresti treapta,
o singura miscare gresita pecetluindu-ti soarta. Intre deasupra si dedesubt
ramai agatat fara suflare, prizonier al istoriei –
iata ce ai ales, iata vointa ta.

Nu e luna, nici stele – desi tu nu cauti lumina –
Doar un sunet ce seamana cu degetul mare trecand peste
Carton ondulat, pe masura ce barbatii din povestea ta
Coboara scara in fuga cu ranitele pline. Iar tu
Simti mai degraba decat vezi cum barbatul din fata
Ta ezita, isi aranjaza ranita, apoi dispare.

"S-a dus ca bolovanul," te aud spunand, "un singur
val si a disparut." Un mic suras. Vrei
sa plangi, nu-ti vine sa crezi ca nu erai tu barbatul
de sub apa, repeti totul in gand pentru a te convinge
c-ai supravietuit razboiului, ca te-ai intors acasa
pentru a-ti relata povestea.

Imi amintesc acum: ascultandu-ti povestea
Am vazut ce vazusei si tu, limpede ca si cristalul,
cineva a cazut la fund, dar nu voiam sa stiu
daca fusesei tu sau el sau altul. S-a strecurat
printr-o trapa ce s-a inchis in urma lui,
din intunericul de deasupra, in intunericul de dedesubt.

Indiferent cine a fost barbatul ce s-a aruncat in adancuri,
Daca esti partasul secret al povestii sale,
atunci eu sunt a ta. Iar povestea nu s-a terminat;
cand te-ai dus ca bolovanul, ai rupt
o bucata din ea, indiferent cat de mult imi doream – imi doresc –
sa-i inteleg subiectul, si motivul pentru care sufar dupa tine.

Mai inalt decat erai in viata, mai tanar decat erai la moarte,
ma vizitezi acum din adancurile nivelului spiritual al viselor;
Nu-mi vorbesti. Vreau sa te intreb daca ma poti iubi – vechea poveste –
Dar tac; te imbratisez pentru ultima oara si iti spun
Ca te iubesc din nou si din nou.

Te-am conjurat din adancuri, relatand povestea ta,
Dupa care am vazut ca povestile noastre sunt una si aceeasi:
cum sa-mi doresc ca a ta sa se sfarseasca inainte de a mea?
 

 

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