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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.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aprilia Zank

Alan Brownjohn

Marechiare



De Tosti.Cel mai deplorabil cintec de dragoste, si in plus
La Radio Trei! Dar degetul ezita o clipa
Sa atinga butonul caci tocmai imi amintii de ceva
Imi amintii de drumul zilnic la scoala, pe vremuri,
Pe la sfirsitul anilor cinzeci, cu un coleg de pe-atunci

In acelasi compartiment de opt locuri, cu geamuri imbicsite de fum,
Scaune tapisate pline de pete, pe pereti peisaje marine, Elmers End,
Eden Park, West Wickham, Hayes. Pe tot parcursul,
Tovarasul meu de calatorie, acel cinic profesor de muzica
Obisnuia sa mormaie, sa fredoneze, sa zimbeasca si sa se scuze

- Pregateam lectiile. Peisajul monoton suburban
Se strecura prin circumscriptia electorala a lui Macmillan
Dinauntru spre periferie, si ‘In afara de cite un loc ici si colo
Aici este ca la tara’, obisnuia sa spuna . Si o saptamina intreaga
Inainte de Sedinta cu Parintii de vinerea

Dat fiindca deja cintase la Glyndebourne dovedind
Ca se poate prezenta ca un tenore robusto acceptabil
Repeta balada lui Tosti pentru Parinti
Uvertura bombastica, larmoaianta acrobatie vocala…
De facea sa tremure si sa rasune ferestrele-n titini

Locuri sterpe cu ateliere-n ruina, nelocuite vreodata
Terenuri de golf cu stegulete-n peluze ofilite.
- Defilau in goana, iar el repeta de zor pentru Parinti
‘Si cui ii pasa! Hai sa fim seriosi, Brownjohn, cui dracului ii pasa!’
Obisnuia sa zica cu tinuta si tonul potrivite virstei

La Elmers End, daca nu ma insel, vineri dimineata,
Pe cind ‘o noua zi isi deschidea coapsele slinoase
Ca sa intram si sa ne irosim in ea’ s-a ridicat
Si ‘ca sa nu-ti stic tot prapaditul de drum’, s-a
Mutat in compartimentul de alaturi care era gol.

- Dar acum iata-ma inapoi in prezent, cu degetul inert
Permitind cintecului la radio cinzeci de ani mai tirziu
Sa mearga pina la sfirsitul patetic; si inca mi se pare
Ca-l aud cintind, acoperind rotile incete care ne carau
Intr-un loc ’sub nivelul nostru’, dupa cum tinea sa zica adesea.

Tenorul lui infocat se auzea strabatind prin perete
Pe care-atirna, ca peste tot in aceste vagoane,
O oglinda, o mica oglinda argintie, in care puteai
Sa-ti aranjezi parul sau sa faci grimase-adecvate
Pentru discutii diverse sau rendez-vous-uri cu fete

Sau pur si simplu pentru pronuntie… Si iara ma oglindesc azi in ea
Cum eram la douzeci si sase de ani si n-o sa mai fiu niciodata;
Si ma surprind plingind la auzul acestor doua voci pline de patos
A lui Jim Farr si a lui Tito Schipa, aducindu-mi aminte
Ca la fel ca pestii lui Tosti, continui sa 'tinjesc dupa dragoste'.
 

 

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