Uit: The Idle Years (Vertaald door Cengiz Lugal)
“Off we went. We eventually found the docks and walked around all the tobacco warehouses there. And, sure enough, by lunchtime, there was Nejip, standing in front of us, covered in a ﬁlthy brown layer of muck. He stank of tobacco. He could not believe his eyes. He hugged me, hugged Gazi, then hugged me again. Then he went inside a warehouse and asked for a short break. He shoved us into the restaurant next door and told us to have ourselves a good meal.
‘I’ve got to get back now,’ he said, ‘but when you’re ﬁnished here you can wait for me at the café. I’ll have a word, so don’t you pay for anything!’
Gazi had already sat down. ‘Don’t just stand there,’ he said to me. ‘Sit down, and let’s tuck in!’ He impatiently tapped his fork on his plate.
‘Let’s not get too carried away,’ I warned, ‘because…’
‘Leave me alone. I’m so hungry I can’t see straight. Waiter, excuse me, over here…. These waiters are a bit dozy… Hey, waiter, over here’
The waiter came over.
‘First,’ said Gazi, ‘bring me some cold dolma… Or, no, wait. I’ll have hot dolma, but make sure the chef gives me some big ones!’
The waiter chuckled as he went off.
‘What are you staring at?’ Gazi asked me. ‘I’m going to eat a week’s worth. What’s it to you? But how did Nejip know we were hungry? Do we look that starved, I wonder? That’s what you call a friend. One look at us, and he could tell we were hungry. Good on him!’
Orhan Kemal (15 september 1914 – 2 juni 1970)
You sit in the garden alone with your notebook, a sandwich,
flask, and pipe.
It is night but so calm that the candle burns without flickeing,
spreads its glow over the table of rough planks
and gleams in bottle and glass.
You take a sip, a bite, and fill and light your pipe.
You write a line or two and give yourself pause and ponder
the thin streak of evening red slowly passing to the red of morning,
the sea of wild chervil, green-white foaming in the darkness
of summer night,
not one moth around the candle but choirs of gnats in the oak,
leaves so stillagaint the sky … And the aspen rustles in the
All nature strong with love and death around you.
As if were the last evening before a long, long journey:
You have the ticket in your pocket and finally everything is packed.
And you can sit and sense the nearness of the distant land,
sense how all is in all, both its end and its beginning,
sense that here and mow is both your departure and retur
sense how death and life are as strong as wine inside you!
Yes, to be one with the night, one with myself, with the candle’s flame
which looks me in the eye still, unfathomable and still,
one with the aspen that trembles and whispers,
one with the crowds of flowers leaning out of darkness to listen
to something I had on my tongue to say but never got said,
something I don’t want to reveal even if I could.
And that it murmurs inside me of purest happiness!
And the flame rises … It is as though the flowers crowded
nearer and nearer the light in a rainbow of shimmering points.
The aspen trembles and plays, the evening red passes
and all that was inexpressible and distant is inexpressible and near
I sing of the only thing that reconciles,
only of what is practical, for all alike.
Vertaald door L. Nathan en J. Larson
Gunnar Ekelöf (15 september 1907 – 16 maart 1968)
Uit: Change me
“The city was lovely in December. Most of the narrow streets in the town center were draped in lighting, and I’m not talking schmaltzy, blinking, trailer-trash numbers either. These were uniformly white strands, their elegance adding to the city’s already over-the-top beauty. And the streets were simply packed in the evenings — everyone just finishing up work, kids running around, street musicians competing for the attention of passersby. The stores were packed with holiday shoppers, but the wares they had for sale were nothing like what the street vendors were peddling.
The street vendor’s routine was similar to that of most illegal street sellers: Spread a huge blanket on the sidewalk, and arrange the goodies over it in a way that facilitates a hasty, gather-it-up getaway should the police come around. Most of the vendors, who often displayed their goods in packs of six or seven, had things like rainbow-colored knitted caps and scarves, leather belts and bags — things I wasn’t interested in. But one fellow had an absolute gem of a thing: a foot-high stuffed cow standing upright on a fairly stable set of hind legs. When turned on, its upper body simply thrashed in every direction. The action of the upper portion led the legs to waddle here and there, and the effect of 20 of these cows doing this in concert just captivated me.
As I stood at a distance watching, I pictured the toy as a gift for my three-year-old nephew, Zdenek — how much he would enjoy it! The vendor, a short fellow who looked to be about 30, had a shock of straight, combed-over black hair. He wore a lined flannel shirt over jeans, and running shoes. He had a pleasant-looking face, but his eyes were nervous and constantly scanning the crowds. I must have looked suspicious to him standing across the pedestrian way, because his eyes kept returning to mine. Eventually (more to stop him from eyeing me than from a real desire to buy), I went over and asked him how much one of the thrashing cows cost”
Jim Curtiss (Beaver Falls, 15 september 1969)
Viel zu wenig kenne ich die Bäume,
Die vor meinem Fenster stehn und rauschen,
Viel zu selten baun sich meine Träume
Nester, um die Winde zu belauschen,
Und des Himmels Silberwolkenspiele
Gehn vorüber, ohne mich zu trösten –
Ganz vergessen habe ich so viele
Wunder, die mir einst das Herz erlösten.
Ein Tropfen Traurigkeit …
Ein Tropfen Traurigkeit ist gut dem Blute.
Das dunkle läutert sich und schimmert heller-
Das allzu schwere rinnt ein wenig schneller,
Das schon gestillt in satter Süße ruhte.
Ina Seidel (15 september 1885 – 2 oktober 1974)