Dienstag, 24. August 2010

Odysseus poems (1)

Meditation am Webstuhl (Cyrus Atabay)

Verzweifle am Turnus der Dinge und schwöre ihm ab:
du schaffst ihn nicht aus der Welt.
Das Unaufhörliche hält nicht inne,
es wiederholt die Muster und erneuert den Umlauf.
Darum will ich nicht ins Detail gehen,
das tun schon andere und meinen,
der Ausschnitt erschöpfe das Ganze.
Was dich einmal entrückte,
so der Geruch der Mahd
oder das Licht nach einem Gewitter,
wird dich immer bezaubern:
Dort gilt es den Faden wieder aufzunehmen,
weiterzuknüpfen an dem Gewebe,
dessen Maschen die Schattenhand löst.
Du muß die Buhler, die dich von der Vergeblichkeit deines Unternehmens
– mit immerhin bestechenden Argumenten – überzeugen wollen,
Einzig den Freier erhoffend, der den Bogen nimmt,
den keiner zu spannen vermochte,
dich an die Sehne legt, den Pfeil,
der durch die Ringe fliegt,
treffend die zeitlose Mitte.

Meditation at the Loom
(my translation)

Doubt the cyclic order of the world and forthswear it:
you won’t cause it to not exist.
That which is unceasing never pauses for reflection,
it recreates the pattern and begins its revolution anew.
And so I won’t go into detail;
others have already done so, claiming
the whole is contained within an excerpt.
What delighted you once –
so the scent of the mowing
or the light after a storm –
this will always enchant you:
The task is to pick up the thread again,
to tie it once more into the web
whose stitches an invisible hand releases.
Those wooing you, who wish to convince you
– indeed, with oh-so-seductive arguments – that your task is futile:
send them packing!
Await with hope that suitor only, who takes the bow in his hand
which none have managed to draw,
who places you against the bowstring, an arrow
that flies through the rings
striking that timeless center.

Cyrus Atabay spent much of his life "unterwegs" between Iran, England and Germany, so perhaps it's not surprising that a number of his poems are concerned with the figure of the wanderer Odysseus. What's interesting about "Meditation am Webstuhl" is that it doesn't explicitly take up the theme of exile and return. Rather, it's a reflection upon history and tradition, the problem of writing what has already been said before.

Atabay's style is unusual, I find, and I make no claims to having produced a translation which captures the "texture" of the original. I found the hypotaxis in the middle of the poem particularly striking -- "ausbooten"** ends up being especially emphasized, whether through intent or the restrictions of German word order or both.

** The boat metaphor doesn't seem to carry over into English so easily. With some difficulty I restrained myself from translating this as "boot out".

Keine Kommentare:

Kommentar veröffentlichen