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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.'

 

Andreea Diaconu

Alan Brownjohn

Marechiare


De Tosti. Cel mai deplorabil cantec de dragoste, si, pe deasupra,
La BBC3! Dar degetul imi ezita
La cativa centimentri de buton, pentru ca mi-am amintit ceva.
Mi-am amintit drumul zilnic spre scoala
La sfarsitul anilor cincizeci, cu colegul acela

In acelasi compartiment de opt persoane, geamuri patate
Banchete soioase, poze cu marea, Elmers End,
Eden Park, West Wickam, Hayes. Tot drumul
Tovarasul meu, cinicul profesor de muzica
Tot murmura si fredona, zambea cerandu-si scuze

- Repeta pentru ore. Peisajul suburban
Se prelingea prin circumscriptia lui Macmillan
Din centru spre periferie, si "Aproape-ai zice
Ca suntem la tara, un kilometru doi" zicea. O saptamana intreaga,
La capatul careia, vineri, aveam Serata cu Parintii,

Dupa ce cantase la Glyndebourne si reusise
Sa se prezinte ca un destul de acceptabil tenor robusto,
A tot repetat balada lui Tosti, pentru Parinti,
Uvertura pompoasa, acrobatiile vocale prea sentimentale…
Geamurile zdranganeau din toti tatanii.

Campuri nelucrate si baraci in parasire, nelocuite vreodata
Terenuri de golf cu stegulete pe pajisti de un verde palid
- El repeta pentru Parinti pe tot fundalul asta.
"Si, in definitiv, cui ii mai pasa? Pe bune, Brownjohn, cui dracului ii pasa!"
Zicea el, in spiritul formal al vremii.

La Elmers End, daca nu ma insel, vinerea dimineata,
Zicand "inca o zi care-si desface afurisitele de picioare
Ca sa ne pierdem noi in ea" a iesit
Si "ca sa nu iti stric complet tot drumul"
S-a mutat in compartimentul vecin, care era gol.

- Acum sunt insa iarasi in present, degetul ezitand
Lasa cantecul sa ajunga la finalul lui tampit
La radio, cincizeci de ani mai tarziu; si parca
Inca il aud cantand la unison cu leganatul trenului mergand
Si ducandu-ne intr-un loc care, citez, "nu ne merita"

Vocea lui de tenor urland pasional si auzindu-se prin peretele
Pe care pusesera, ca in toate compartimentele,
O oglinda, o mica oglinda argintie, ca sa iti piepteni parul
Sau sa iti cauti exersand o mina potrivita
Pentru un interviu sau o intalnire cu iubita

Sau doar pentru orele de fonetica…In ea ma revad azi
Asa cum eram la douazeci si sase de ani si cum nu mai sunt;
Si ma pomenesc plangand pe fundalul vocilor acestora unduitoare
Ale lui Jim Farr si a lui Tito Schipa, reamintindu-mi
Ca la fel ca pestii lui Tosti inca 'tanjesc dupa iubire'.

 

 

 

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