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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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alina Barbu

Mary MacRae

Povestea vietii


Noapte, iar tu in negura pasesti, peste
marginea corabiei mute, ingrozit sa nu
iti alunece cizma si sa ratezi o treapta, o
miscare gresita – fatala. Suspendat intre inalt si adanc
cu respiratia intretaiata, ferecat in istorie –
asta iti este vrerea si vointa.

Nu luna, nu stele – chiar de nu lumina cauti tu –
ci un sunet doar, ca un deget mare raschetand
o bucata de carton presat in timp de oamenii
din povestea ta coboara scara, incarcati de scule. Iar tu
mai mult simti decat vezi, unde omul de sub tine
semne face, schimba ranita, apoi nu-i nici tipenie.

"Ca o piatra cazut-a!" te aud,
"Pleosc si dus a fost". Un zambet abia schitat. Sa plangi
ai vrea, a crede nu-ti vine ca omul din apa
tu nu erai, repeti obsesiv
ca sa te convingi ca tu
ai supravietuit razboiului, si ca acasa te-ai intors
povestea sa iti spui.

Acum imi amintesc: povestea ascultandu-ti
vazut-am ce vezi si tu, ca prin sticla, cum cineva
te tragea in jos ca o piatra de moara, dar de erai tu
sau el, sau alt-cineva, nu voiam a sti. M-am strecurat apoi
pe usa ce s-a inchis deasupra capului,
de la bezna din inalt la bezna din adanc.

Oricine ar fi fost barbatul azvarlit in adanc,
de-n secret povestea ii impartasesti
atunci a ta sunt. Si povestea merge mai departe;
Cand ca o piatra cazut-ai, de o parte din mine
Vitregitu-m-ai, oricat de tare voiam – vreau –
firul povestii a intelege sau de ce de tine mi-e dor.

Mai maret decat viata, mai tanar decat moartea
acum vii de ma colinzi din tenebre mai adanci decat
purgatoriul de spirite in vis chinuite; ramai mut. Vreau
sa te intreb de ma iubesti au ba – poveste veche –
dar nu cutez; te cuprind in brate o ultima oara
si spun, Te iubesc, iar si iar.

Te-am conjurat din adanc povestea povestindu-ti
apoi am vazut doua povesti ale noastre ca una:
pot sa vreau capat sa-i pun la a mea inaintea ta?
 

 

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