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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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carmen-Oana Dumitru

Mary MacRae

Povestea unei vieti


E noapte, si pasesti in intuneric, pe
partea vasului tacut, temandu-te ca tu
sau ghetele sale ati putea aluneca si n-ai nimeri treapta, o
gresita mutare ultima. La jumatatea drumului
suspendat fara respiratie, blocat in istorie—
si asta e ce-ti alegi, ce-ti doresti.

Fara luna, fara stele—desi nu lumina-ti doresti—
doar un sunet ca atunci cand atingi cu degetul o
carte de joc uzata ca oamenii din povestea ta care
coboara treptele, complet echipati. Si mai degraba
simti decat ai vedea, unde omul de jos
ezita, isi muta ranita, acum nu mai e nimeni.

‘A picat ca o piatra,’ te aud zicand, ‘doar un
pleoscait si nu mai e.’ Un zambet scurt. Vrei
sa plangi, nu prea-ti vine sa crezi ca omul din
apa nu esti tu, repeti o data
si-nca o data ca sa te convingi ca
ai supravietuit razboiului, ai venit acasa sa-ti spui povestea.

Imi amintesc acum: auzindu-ti povestea
am vazut ce ai vazut tu, limpede ca lumina zilei, cum cineva
a cazut rapus de-un glont, dar daca erai tu,
sau el, sau altcineva, nu voiam sa stiu. Strecurandu-se printr-o usa inchisa
deasupra capului sau, din intunericul de deasupra in intunericul de jos.

Oricine a fost omul care a sarit jos,
daca esti necunoscutul care ne impartaseste povestea lui
atunci sunt a ta. Si povestea nu se sfarseste;
cand ai cazut ca o piatra mi-ai lasat un
scurt ragaz, oricat de mult mi-am dorit—imi doresc—
sa inteleg povestea si de ce mi-ai lipsit.

Mai mare decat insasi viata, mai tanar ca in moarte,
vii sa ma vizitezi acum din dedesubtul
nivelului spiritual al unui vis; nu vorbesti. Vreau
sa te intreb daca ma poti iubi—povestea aceea veche—
dar nu; te imbratisez pentru o
ultima data si-ti spun, te iubesc, o data si-nca o data.

Te chem din dedesubturi spunandu-ti povestea
si apoi vad ca cele doua povesti sunt una:
pot sa-mi doresc ca a ta sa se sfarseasca inaintea povestii mele?
 

 

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