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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 Hadambu

Alan Brownjohn

Marechiare

De Tosti. Cel mai jalnic cantec de dragoste, ºi in plus
E pe Radio Trei! Dar degetul meu sovaie sa apese
Butonul fiindca mi-am adus aminte de ceva.
Mi-am adus aminte de drumul zilnic spre scoala,
Pe la sfarsitul anilor cincizeci, impreuna cu colegul acela

Intr-un compartiment de opt locuri cu ferestrele patate de smog,
Tapiseria jegoasa, ilustrate cu litoralul, Elmers End,
Eden Park, West Wickham, Hayes. Tot timpul calatoriei,
Tovarasul meu, cinicul maestru muzical,
Obisnuia sa ingane si sa fredoneze, sa zambeasca si sa-si ceara scuze

– Imi pregatesc lectia. Peisajul de suburbie
Se unduia de-a lungul circumscriptiei electorale Macmillan,
Dinspre centru catre margini, si el zicea “Ai crede ca esti la tara,
Daca n-ar mai fi cate vreun loc ici si colo.” Si timp de o saptamana,
Atunci cand aveam vinerea serata cu parintii,

Cum el cantase la Glyndebourne si se dovedise capabil
De a se prezenta drept un tenore robusto acceptabil,
Exersa balada lui Tosti pentru parinti,
Inceputul ei emfatic, acrobatiile acelea vocale dulcege...
Ferestrele zanganeau din incheieturile lor metalice.

Parloage si ruine de ateliere nelocuite vreodata,
Terenuri de sport cu stegulete infipte in gauri pe pajisti ofilite.
– Iar el exersa pentru parinti in timp ce toate astea goneau pe langa noi
“Si cui ii pasa? Zau, Brownjohn, cui naiba ii pasa?”
Zicea el, cu manierele specifice varstei.

La Elmers End, daca nu ma-nsel, in diminetile de vineri,
Cu “inca o zi desfacandu-si picioarele soioase
Pentru ca noi sa ne istovim in ea”, iesea si,
“Ca sa nu-ti stric calatoria nenorocita”, se ducea
In compartimentul de alaturi, care era gol.

– Dar acum am revenit in prezent, degetul meu sovaitor
Inca mai lasa cantecul sa-si duca la capat sfarsitul deplorabil
La radio, cincizeci de ani mai tarziu; si parca
Ii aud cantecul cu care acoperea zgomotul rotilor lenese
Ce ne purtau intr-un loc despre care spunea ca “nu ne merita”,

Iar vocea lui tunatoare si patimasa de tenor se auzea prin peretele
Pe care statea agatata, ca mai in toate compartimentele asemanatoare,
O oglinda, o oglinda mica si stravezie in care sa iti piepteni
Parul sau sa iti strambi fata in grimase
Cat mai potrivite pentru conversatii sau intalniri cu prietena

Sau pur si simplu pentru pronuntie... Iar in ea ma vad azi oglindit
Asa cum eram la douazeci si sase de ani si cum nu mai sunt acum,
Si ma pomenesc plangand la auzul celor doua voci rasunatoare,
Una a lui Jim Farr, cealalta a lui Tito Schipa, amintindu-mi ca,
La fel ca pestii lui Tosti, si eu continui sa “tanjesc dupa dragoste”.

 

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