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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.'

 

Dorina Palade

Alan Brownjohn

Marechiare


Compusa de Tosti. Cel mai jalnic cantec de dragoste, si la Radio Trei
Pe deasupra! Dar m-am oprit cu degetul la mica
Distanta de butonul radioului pentru ca mi-am amintit ceva.
Mi-am amintit de calatoriile zilnice spre scoala aceea
La sfarsitul anilor cincizeci, cu acel coleg

In acelasi compartiment de opt locuri, cu ferestre murdare de fum,
Cu scaune murdare, cu vederi de pe litoral, Elmers End,
Eden Park, West Wickham, Hayes. Tot timpul,
Colegul meu, cinicul profesor de muzica,
Murmura, fredona, zambea si se scuza

-Pregatesc lectiile. Peisajul suburban
Se schimba pe cand treceam prin districtul Macmillan
Privind afara, si ‘Ai putea numi asta suburbie,
Pret de un iard sau doi,’ spunea el. Si timp de-o saptamana,
Cand avea intalnirea cu parintii, vinerea,

Dupa ce cantase la Glyndebourne, si simtindu-se in stare
Sa se prezinte drept un bun tenore robusto,
El exersa balada lui Tosti pentru intalnirea cu parintii,
Cu introducerile ei pompoase si sentimentale acrobatii vocale…
Ferestrele vibrau in curelele lor din piele.

Cranguri cu cladiri nelocuite in ruine.
Terenuri de golf de un verde palid cu steaguri in gauri,
-El exersa pentru intalnirea cu parintii pe cand toate ramaneau in urma,
‘Si cui ii pasa! Chiar asa, Brownjohn, cui naiba ii pasa!’
Spunea el, dupa obiceiul vremii.

La Elmers End, daca nu ma insel, vineri dimineata,
‘O alta zi jalnica care isi desfacea picioarele
Ca sa avem noi unde sa ne irosim’ el a iesit
Si ‘ca sa nu-ti stric intreaga calatorie de nimic’
A urcat in compartimentul urmator, care era liber.

-Dar acum sunt inapoi in prezent, cu degetul in nemiscare
Lasand melodia sa ajunga la sfarsitul ei oribil
La radio, cincizeci de ani mai tarziu; si cred
Ca inca-l mai pot auzi acoperind sunetul rotilor obosite
Ce ne purtau spre un loc, spunea el ‘care nu ne merita’,

Vocea lui de tenor inflacarat urla printr-un perete
Pe care era, ca-n mai toate compartimentele,
O oglinda, o oglinda clara, mica, in care sa-ti aranjezi
Parul sau sa-ti aranjezi chipul
Sa arate mai bine pentru interviuri sau pentru prietene

Sau doar pentru a preda ortografia… In care ma vad eu astazi,
Cum aratam la douazeci si sase de ani pe care nu-i mai am;
Si imi dau seama ca plang auzind aceste doua voci care gliseaza,
Ale lui Jim Farr si Tito Schipa, amintindu-mi
Ca, asemeni pestilor lui Tosti, eu continuam ‘sa tanjesc dupa iubire’.
 

 

 

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