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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.'

Elena Daniela Radu

Alan Brownjohn

Marechiare


De Tosti. Cel mai neizbutit cantec romantic si tocmai
La BBC 3! Mi-am amintit ceva si
Degetul mi s-a oprit la 2 centimetri de buton.
Mi-am amintit drumul obisnuit pana la scoala
Dupa anii cincizeci, colegul acela

Din compartimentul de opt locuri cu ferestre patate,
Tapiterie unsuroasa, pozele cu marea la Elemers End
Eden Park, West Wickham si Hayes. In acest timp,
Amicul meu, profesorul cinic de muzica,
Murmura, fredona, zambea si se scuza.

- Pregatirea lectiei. Peisajul se modula dupa
Electoratul lui Macmillan dinlauntru in afara.
“Si o mai poti numi periferie un kilometru doi”
spunea el. Si, o saptamana intreaga
Intr-o vineri, de Seara Parintilor,


A cantat la Glyndebourne si apoi, reusind
Sa fie apreciat drept un tenor bun cu o voce plina,
A exersat balada lui Tosti pentru parinti.
Inceputul rasunator, salturile vocale induiosatoare,
Ferestrele care vibrau in legaturile lor din piele…

Tinutul inverzit, cu ateliere nefolosite in ruina,
Trasee de golf cu stegulete si gauri pe un verde pal
El canta pentru parinti si toate treceau pe langa noi,
“Cui ii pasa? Sincer, Brownjohn, cui naiba ii pasa?”
a spus el cu seriozitatea varstei.

La Elmers End, daca nu gresesc, intr-o vineri dimineata,
‘O alta zi incepe sa-si deschida picioarele
Ca sa ne strecuram inauntru’, a rostit el iesind;
‘sa nu iti topesc toata calatoria’, a mai spus
Si a intrat in compartimentul liber, de alaturi.

M-am intors in prezent; degetul asteptand, a lasat cantecul
Sa continue pana la sfarsitul jalnic de la radio
Cincizeci de ani mai tarziu si parca ii mai aud vocea
Cantand si acoperind sunetul molcom al rotilor
Care ne duceau intr-un loc, spunea el, ‘unde nu ne merita’.
Vocea lui pasionala, stridenta, de tenor se auzea
Prin perete unde era, ca in multe compartimente
O oglinda , o oglinjoara in care sa te poti pieptana
Sau sa te poti privi exersand diferite chipuri
Mai degraba potrivite pentru interviuri, iubite

Ori doar pentru invatarea pronuntiei…in care
Ma oglindesc si azi ca la douazeci si sase de ani
Pe care nu-i mai am si ma trezesc plangand
La auzul vocilor modulate ale lui Jim Farr si Tito Schipa,
Ce-mi amintesc de pestii lui Tosti ‘bolborosind a dragoste’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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