Johan Harstad, Elizabeth Bishop

De Noorse schrijver Johan Harstad werd geboren op 10 februari 1979 in Stavanger. Zie ook alle tags voor Johan Harstad op dit blog.

Uit: Chlorine (Vertaald door Deborah Dawkin en Erik Skuggevik)

“I have been weighed and found wanting. It’s nearly two o’clock, the last lesson of the day, and I am standing at the back of the diving board, right on its edge, and in front of me are the others, others who are going to dive, and soon it will be my turn. But it’s impossible. Come what may. I know it.
But I’ve got to do it. This is the final dress rehearsal. The last chance but one. I must walk out onto the diving board, bend my knees, and push out with all my strength, dive out into the pool, break the water’s surface, kick my way downward, I must reach the bottom of the pool, find the lifeless plastic dummy down there, rescue her, bring her to the surface with me, pull her after me toward land, up onto the slippery tiles of the swimming hall, and save her life. That is what I’ve got to do. And when I’ve done it a slip of paper will come out of her side, out of a waterproof hatch, a note saying she is alive, showing the frequency of her heartbeat, that she is breathing, evenly, and that she will pull through, even though she has been under water for too long, much too long. Now, it’s my turn.
You’ve got to do it. It is one of the requirements for Physical Education in your last year of senior school, and it’s now it counts, and I’ve been dreading this moment, I shan’t manage it, yet I have to save her, I have to get that piece of paper from out of her, otherwise I’ll be defeated, and I’ll flunk P.E., and I can’t afford to do that. So I jump. I dive out over the side and disappear down into the water, get chlorine in my eyes, gasp for air that isn’t there, and my body turns stubbornly in the water and I come floating to the top, breaking through the water’s surface, a foot first and then my head, I barely draw breath, see the teacher standing by the diving board in her white trousers and blue T-shirt, and around her neck hangs the whistle, when she blows it I’ll be finished, then I can come up onto land again, but she doesn’t blow, she shouts out try again!—and I duck my head beneath the water, and far below there’s something red, which must be her, the one that’s drowned, and I need to reach her, so I kick off, my ears hurting, and I kick, kick, but I don’t reach any farther, my lungs are completely empty, I’m aching, and I begin to travel downward, but not fast enough, my body veers off course, twists, and I come floating to the surface, she blows the whistle, next!
When you’ve finished your dive, you get left in peace for a few minutes, get to sit and gather yourself on the bench beside the large windows where the sun comes in and glistens in the water. I sit on the bench, shivering, smelling chlorine, and the next one dives out, I watch him disappear to the bottom, take hold of the dummy, and come back up with her around him, he grabs her under the chin, holds her head high and swims with her into land, pulls her up after him onto the poolside, lays her on the tiles and checks her pulse, presses his lips against her lips of rubber, blows life into her, finds the correct spot and massages her heart, giving her life back, a gift, and the teacher blows the whistle, goes over to him, checks the slip of paper ejected from her waist, it looks fine, excellent graphs, she rips the printout off, staples it in her book under his name, and writes satisfactory, or something of the sort, a grade, then casts the dummy back out again, she drowns anew, undramatically, stoically.”


Johan Harstad (Stavanger, 10 februari 1979)


De Amerikaanse dichteres en schrijfster Elizabeth Bishop werd geboren op 8 februari 1911 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Zie ook alle tags voor Elizabeth Bishop op dit blog.


De berg

’s Avonds iets achter me.
Ik schrik een seconde, deins terug
Of stop huiverend en verbrand.
Ik weet mijn leeftijd niet.

In de ochtend is het anders.
Een open boek confronteert me,
te dichtbij om comfortabel te lezen.
Zeg me hoe oud ik ben.

En dan stoppen de valleien
ondoordringbare nevels
als katoen in mijn oren.
Ik weet mijn leeftijd niet.

Ik ben niet van plan te klagen.
Ze zeggen dat het mijn schuld is.
Niemand vertelt me iets.
Zeg me hoe oud ik ben.

De diepste afbakening
kan zich langzaam verspreiden en wegzinken
zoals elke vervaagde tatoeage.
Ik weet mijn leeftijd niet.

Schaduwen vallen neer; lichten stijgen op.
Klauterende lichten, oh kinderen!
Jullie blijven nooit lang genoeg.
Zeg me hoe oud ik ben.

Stenen vleugels zijn hier gezeefd
met veren die veren verharden.
De klauwen zijn ergens verloren.
Ik weet mijn leeftijd niet.

Ik word doof. Vogelgeroep
druppelt en de watervallen
zijn ongeschonden. Wat is mijn leeftijd?
Zeg me hoe oud ik ben.

Laat de maan gaan hangen,
de sterren gaan vliegeren.
Ik wil mijn leeftijd weten.
Zeg me hoe oud ik ben.


Vertaald door Frans Roumen


Elizabeth Bishop (8 februari 1911 – 6 oktober 1979)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 10e februari ook mijn blog van 10 februari 2019 deel 1 en eveneens deel 2.