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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

 

 

 

 

Alan Brownjohn


Marechiare


By Tosti. Lousiest of love songs, and on Radio Three
At that! But my finger pauses an inch
Away from the button because I've remembered something.
I've remembered my daily journey to that school
In the late nineteen-fifties, with that colleague

In the same eight-seat compartment, smog-stained windows,
Soiled upholstery, seaside pictures, Elmers End,
Eden Park , West Wickham , Hayes . All the time,
My companion, the cynical music master,
Would drone and hum and smile and apologise

– Lesson preparation. The suburban landscape
Would modulate through Macmillan 's constituency
From inner to outer, and 'You could call that countryside,
For a yard or two,' he'd say. And throughout one week,
When we had the Parents' Evening on the Friday,

Having sung at Glyndebourne, and being capable
Of presenting himself as a decent tenore robusto,
He practised Tosti's ballad for the Parents,
Its fustian intro, its maudlin vocal acrobatics...
The windows rattled on their leather straps.

Scrubland with never-inhabited workshop ruins.
Golf-course with flags in holes on pallid greens.
– He practised for the Parents as it all went by,
'And who cares! Honestly, Brownjohn, who fucking cares!'
He would say, with the formality of the age.

At Elmers End, if I'm right, on the Friday morning,
With 'another day opening its squalid legs
For us to squander ourselves in', he got out,
And 'not to ruin your entire bloody journey', he
Climbed into the next compartment, which was empty.

– But now I'm back in the present, my pausing finger
Still allowing the song to go on to its awful end
On the radio fifty years later; and I believe
I can still hear him singing over the slow wheels
That carried us on to a place he said 'didn't deserve us',

His howling impassioned tenor heard through a wall
On which they'd put, as in most of those compartments,
A mirror, a small clear mirror, for combing
Your hair in or pulling your face into shapes
Better suited to facing interviews or girlfriends

Or just teaching spelling... Which I see myself in today,
As I was at twenty-six and am no longer;
And I find I'm crying at these two swooping voices,
Jim Farr's and Tito Schipa's, reminding me
That like Tosti's fishes I go on 'gasping for love.'

Simona Catana

Alan Brownjohn

Marechiare


De Tosti. Cel mai zgomotos cantec de dragoste la Radio Trei
In acel moment! Dar degetul meu ramane la un inch
De butonul radioului pentru ca imi amintesc ceva.
Imi amintesc calatoria zilnica spre acea scoala
Pe la sfarsitul anilor 50, cu acel coleg

In acelasi compartiment cu 8 locuri si ferestre fumurii
Tapiterie murdara, tablouri cu peisaje marine, Elmers End,
Eden Park, West Wickham, Hayes. Neincetat,
Colegul meu, cinicul maestru cantaret,
Fredona, zambea si se scuza.

– Pregatirea lectiei. Peisajul suburban
Se tot schimba de-a lungul districtului Macmillan
Din interior spre exterior. ‘L-ai putea numi sat,
Pe o distanta de un yard sau doi,’ spunea el. Si o saptamana intreaga
Atunci cand sarbatoream Seara Parintilor vinerea,

Pentru ca a cantat la Glyndebourne si putea
Sa se prezinte drept un decent tenore robusto,
El a cantat balada lui Tosti pentru Parinti,
Cu un intro bombastic, acrobatii vocale melancolice...
Ferestrele zdranganeau in ramele de piele.

Taram al tufarisului cu ruinele unor ateliere niciodata locuite
Teren de golf cu steaguri in gaurile de pe verdeata palida.
– A cantat pentru Parinti, iar timpul si toate treceau
"Si cui ii pasa! Cinstit, Brownjohn, cui naiba ii pasa?"
Obisnuia el sa spuna cu formalitatea varstei.

La Elmers End, daca am retinut bine, vineri dimineata,
"O alta zi isi intinde picioarele mizere
Pentru ca noi sa ne irosim in ea", el a iesit,
Si "ca sa nu distruga acea calatorie groaznica",
A intrat in celalalt compartiment care era gol.

– Si acum am revenit in prezent, cu degetul pe radio
Lasand cantecul sa ajunga la finalul ingrozitor
Ascultat la radio peste 50 de ani; si cred
Ca inca il aud cantand deasupra rotilor lente
Care ne indreptau catre un loc care ‘nu ne merita’, spunea el.

Tenorul sau rasunator si plin de pasiune pe care il auzeai prin peretele
Pe care pusesera in majoritatea compartimentelor,
O oglinda, o oglinda curata si mica in care
Sa te piepteni sau sa te strambi
Mai bine pregatit pentru interviuri sau prietene

Sau in care sa predai chiar ortografia... Oglinda in care ma vad astazi,
La varsta de 26 de ani pe care nu o mai am;
Si ma trezesc tipand la aceste doua voci joase,
Cea a lui Jim Farr si cea a lui Tito Schipa care imi aduc aminte
Ca precum pestii lui Tosti eu continui ‘sa tanjesc dupa iubire.’
 

 

 

 

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