2013-01-12

bardachd: (Default)
2013-01-12 12:02 am
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Waiting for the Barbarians - CP Cavafy

Waiting for the Barbarians - CP Cavafy


What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.


Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.


Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete with titles, with imposing names.


Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.


Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.


Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.


And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.


Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard
bardachd: (Default)
2013-01-12 12:21 am
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Them and [uz] - Tony Harrison

Them and [uz] - Tony Harrison

for Professors Richard Hoggart & Leon Cortez

ai, ai, ay, ay ... stutterer Demosthenes
gob full of pebbles outshouting seas-

4 words only of mi 'art aches and ... 'Mine's broken,
you barbarian, T.W.!' He was nicely spoken.
'Can't have our glorious heritage done to death!'

I played the Drunken Porter in Macbeth.

'Poetry's the speech of kings. You're one of those
Shakespeare gives the comic bits to: prose!
All poetry (even Cockney Keats?) you see
's been dubbed by [Ls] into RP,
Received Pronunciation, please believe (Ls)
your speech is in the hands of the Receivers.'

We say ‘(Ls) not [uz], T.W.!’ That shut my trap.
I doffed my flat a's (as in ‘Flat cap’)
my mouth all stuffed with glottals, great
lumps to hawk up and spit out ... E-nun-ci-ate!

- Tony Harrison
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2013-01-12 12:25 am
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For the Stay-At-Home Wife - Eleanor Lerman

For the Stay-At-Home Wife - Eleanor Lerman

While I am dressing, dream. While I collect my papers
and my courage, stay behind the bright tide of the dawn
and watch the stars wash up like shells upon the shore
Be safe. Be fearless in the silence. Protect the space
where I should be

And then in green fields, golden fields ribboned with
flowers, go through the open gate. There will be no
wind; the warmth alone will heal you. Ribbons of
light, ribbons of clouds: all this is for you. Stay close
to home. Stay within the loving circle. Far away,
I will write your name between the sun and shadow
on each page I sign

And when the twilight creeps into the house
with its sad eyes, turn on the lamp. Sit in the chair.
The key is in my pocket and I am coming home
with the news that everything you’ve lost
remembers you. In time, messages will turn up
in literature and science; in the way the moon
thinks of you when it lingers in the morning, wanting
to wait just one more hour before it is compelled
to climb back into the dark
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2013-01-12 12:40 am

Y Gododdin VI-XIV trans Sian Echard

[VI - XIV]

Gwyr a aeth ododin chwerthin ognaw.
chwerw en trin a llain en emdullyaw.
byrr vlyned en hed yd ynt endaw.
mab botgat gwnaeth gwynnyeith gwreith
e law.
ket elwynt e lanneu e benydyaw.
a hen a yeueing a hydyr a llaw.
dadyl diheu angheu y eu treidaw.Read more... )


Men went to Gododdin, laughter-inciting,
Bitter in battle, with blades set for war.
Brief the year they were at peace.
The son of Bodgad, by the deeds of his hand
did slaughter.
Though they went to churches to do penance,
The young, the old, the lowly, the strong,
True is the tale, death oer’took them.

Men went to Gododdin, with eager laughter,
Attacking in an army, cruel in battle,
They slew with swords without much sound
Rheithfyw, pillar of battle, took pleasure in giving.

Men went to Catraeth, swift was their host.
Fresh mead was their feast, their poison too.
Three hundred waging war, under command,
And after joy, there was silence.
Though they went to churches to do penance,
True is the tale, death oer’took them.

Men went to Catraeth, mead-nourished,
Sturdy and strong, it would be wrong should I not praise them.
Amid blood-red blades in dark-blue sockets,
The war-hounds fought fiercely, tight formation.
Of the war-band of Brennych, I would have thought it a burden,
to leave any in the shape of a man alive.
A friend I have lost; faithful I was.
Swift in the struggle, it grieves me to leave him.
The brave one desired no father-in-law’s dowry,
The son of Cian from Maen Gwyngwn.Read more... )