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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?

 

 

 

 

Gianina Casleanu

Mary MacRae


Poveste de viata


E noapte si pasesti afara-n bezna, pe
marginea vaporului tacut. Ti-e frica sa nu
aluneci si sa pierzi carma, caci o
miscare gresita poate fi si ultima. Cu respiratia
intretaiata stai, intre pamant si cer, ancorat in trecut –
Caci asta e ceea ce vrei, e ceea ce-ai ales.

Nu-i luna si nici stele nu-s- de fapt nu vrei lumina–
Se aude doar sunetul facut de-un deget plimbat
pe-o hartie gofrata. In timpul asta barbatii din povestea ta
alearga pe scari, cu rucsacul in spate. Simti
mai mult decat vezi tremurul lui in timp
ce-mpacheteaza si nu mai e nimeni acum.

"Cazut-a ca o piatra", te-aud spunand, "un singur
zgomot si-a pierit". Un zambet palid. Ai vrea
sa plangi, ti-e greu sa crezi ca omul din adancuri
nu esti tu, si ti-o repeti la nesfarsit
sa te convingi c-ai supravietuit razboiului,
si ai venit acasa povestea sa ti-o spui.

Imi vine totu-n minte acum, cand iti aud povestea.
Limpede ca si cristalul am vazut ce ai vazut si tu, cum cineva
s-a aruncat, dar c-ai fost tu,
sau el sau altcineva, nu mi-am dorit
a sti. Alunecat-a printr-o usa ce s-a inchis
deasupra lui, din intunericul de sus in cel din abis.

Oricine-ar fi acel barbat ce in adancuri a plonjat,
daca esti tu cel din povestea mea, atunci eu sunt a ta.
Si povestea mea nu s-a-ncheiat;
S-a rupt ceva din mine cand ca o piatra ai cazut,
oricat de mult am vrut si vreau,
sa inteleg povestea si de ce-mi lipsesti.

Esti mai presus de viata, de-a pururi tanar
Si vii la mine acum de dincolo
de vis; dar nu vrei sa-mi vorbesti. As vrea
sa te-ntreb daca ma poti iubi – vechea poveste –
dar nu o fac; te strang in brate pentru
ultima data si-ti spun ca te iubesc iar si iar.

Spunand povestea asta, eu din adancuri te-am chemat,
si mi-am dat seama mai apoi ca povestile noastre sunt doar una:
sa imi doresc ca a ta sa se sfarseasca prima?
 

 

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