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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?

 

 

 

 

 

Patricia Neculae

Mary MacRae


Povestea unei vieti


Noapte, iar tu pasesti in intuneric, dincolo
de puntea corabiei mute, temandu-te ca tu
sau cizmele tale ati putea aluneca, negasind treapta, un
pas gresit si poate ultimul. Intre inaltimi si-adancuri
atarni fara suflare, prins in istorie –
e alegerea ta, e chiar dorinta ta.

Nu-i luna, nici stele – caci nu lumina iti doresti –
doar un zgomot, precum un deget purtat peste
hartia creponata, al oamenilor din povestea ta
coborand in graba scara cu ranitele pline. Iar tu
nu vezi, ci simti, cum cel de dedesubt
se clatina si-si trece sacul, acum nu mai e nimeni.

"Precum o piatra la fund," te-aud spunand, "doar
pleoscaitul apei si s-a dus." Un zambet vag. Ai vrea
sa plangi si-ti vine greu a crede ca cel de dedesubt,
din apa, nu esti tu, din nou si din nou s-o
spui, sa te convingi ca tu ai scapat,
intors de la razboi ca sa iti spui povestea.

Imi amintesc acum: ascultandu-ti povestea
am vazut si eu tot ce-ai vazut si tu, aievea, cum cineva
s-a dus la fund, dar daca ai fost tu,
sau el, sau cine-o fi, nu vreau
sa stiu. Cazut prin trapa ce s-a inchis deasupra
lui, din intunericul de sus in cel de dedesubt.

Oricine va fi fost cel smuls de-adancuri,
tu impartasesti povestea lui, iar eu
pe-a ta. Povestea nu-i sfarsita;
cazand precum o piatra tu ai lasat ceva
nespus si cat de mult voiam – mai vreau –
sa inteleg povestea si de ce-mi lipsesti.

Mai inalt decat te stiam, intinerit, acum
tu vii la mine de dincolo
de lumea viselor; si nu vrei sa vorbesti. Vreau
sa te intreb daca ma poti iubi – aceeasi poveste veche –
dar n-am s-o fac; te mai imbratisez o data,
e ultima si spun, te iubesc, din nou si din nou.

Te-am chemat din adancuri spunand povestea ta
si-am inteles apoi ca-i si povestea mea:
cum s-ar putea sfarsi a ta fara a se incheia si a mea?
 

 

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