krytyk literacki i
wydawca; wolny ptak
Wilbur (1921)-2017) – poeta amerykański, urodził się w
Nowym Jorku, w 1942 roku ukończył Amherst College w Massachusetts,
wkrótce potem został powołany do wojska, służył do końca II
wojny światowej we Francji, ale - poza kilkoma drobnymi wierszami
- wojna nie pozostawiła wyraźnego śladu w jego twórczości. Po
powrocie do Stanów Zjednoczonych uzyskał dyplom Master of Arts na
Uniwersytecie Harvarda i poświęcił się pracy
naukowo-dydaktycznej. Wykładał na Uniwersytecie Harvarda,
Uniwersytecie Wesleya w Middletown oraz w Smith College w
Northampton. Wydał zbiory wierszy: „The Beautiful Changes, and
Others Poems” (1947), „Ceremony, and Other Poems” (1950), „A
Bestiary” (1955), „Things of This World. Poems 1943-1956”
(1956), „Advice to a Prophet, and Other Poems” (1961),
„Walking to Sleep. New Poems and Translations” (1969), „The
Mind-Reader. New Poems” (1976), „New and Collected Poems"
(1987), „Mayflies. New Poems and Translations” (2000),
„Collected Poems 1943–2004" (2004), "Anterooms. New Poems and
Translations" (2010). Jest też znanym i cenionym tłumaczem poezji
i rosyjskiej. Otrzymał wiele prestiżowych nagród literackich, m.
in. dwukrotnie nagrodę Pulitzera w 1957 i 1989 r., National
Book Awards w 1957 r., Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize w 2006 r.
W 1987 r. pełnił godność poety konsultanta do Biblioteki
Kongresu (Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of
Jego wiersze tłumaczyli na polski: Ludmiła Marjańska, Stanisław
Barańczak, Robert Stiller, Leszek Elektorowicz i Krzysztof
Stachnik. Wydano m. in. tom: Richard Wilbur: Jasnowidz i inne
wiersze. Wybrała, przełożyła i wstępem opatrzyła Ludmiła
Marjańska. PIW, Warszawa 1981, obejmujący wybór z jego
wczesnych utworów, powstałych w latach 1943-1976. Moje przekłady,
poza jednym wierszem „Czerwcowe światło”, pochodzącym z
debiutanckiego tomiku R. Wilbura, odnoszą do jego najnowszych
książek, wydanych w latach 2000-2010
i publikowane są po raz pierwszy.
Z tomu „The Beautiful Changes, and Other Poems”, 1947
Your voice, with clear location of June days,
Called me outside the window.You were there,
Light yet composed, as in the just soft stare
Of uncontested summer all things raise
Plainly their seeming into seamless air.
Then your love looked as simple and entire
As that picked pear you tossed me, and your face
As legible as pearskin's fleck and trace,
Which promise always wine, by mottled fire
More fatal fleshed than ever human grace.
And your gay gift—Oh when I saw it fall
Into my hands, through all that naïve light,
It seemed as blessed with truth and new delight
As must have been the first great gift of all.
przekład Ryszarda Mierzejewskiego pt. „Czerwcowe światło”
poetycki na cały rok
A Dutch Courtyard
What wholly blameless fun
To stand and look at pictures. Ah, they are
Immune to us. This courtyard may appear
To be consumed with sun,
Most mortally to burn,
Yet it is quite beyond the reach of eyes
Or thoughts, this place and moment oxidize;
This girl will never turn,
Cry what you dare, but smiles
Tirelessly toward the seated cavalier,
Who will not proffer you his pot of beer;
And your most lavish wiles
Can never turn this chair
To proper uses, nor your guile evict
These tenants. What surprising strict
Propriety! In despair,
Consumed with greedy ire,
Old Andrew Mellon glowered at this Dutch
Courtyard, until it bothered him so much
He bought the thing entire.
przekład Ludmiły Marjańskiej pt. „Holenderski
podwórzec” w temacie
Z tomu „Ceremony, and Other Poems”, 1950
My dog lay dead five days without a grave
In the thick of summer, hid in a clump of pine
And a jungle of grass and honey-suckle vine.
I who had loved him while he kept alive
Went only close enough to where he was
To sniff the heavy honeysuckle-smell
Twined with another odor heavier still
And hear the flies' intolerable buzz.
Well, I was ten and very much afraid.
In my kind world the dead were out of range
And I could not forgive the sad or strange
In beast or man. My father took the spade
And buried him. Last night I saw the grass
Slowly divide (it was the same scene
But now it glowed a fierce and mortal green)
And saw the dog emerging. I confess
I felt afraid again, but still he came
In the carnal sun, clothed in a hymn of flies,
And death was breeding in his lively eyes.
I started in to cry and call his name,
Asking forgiveness of his tongueless head.
..I dreamt the past was never past redeeming:
But whether this was false or honest dreaming
I beg death's pardon now. And mourn the dead.
przekład Ludmiły Marjańskiej pt. „Łaska
przebaczenia” w temacie
The good gray guardians of art
Patrol the halls on spongy shoes,
Impartially protective, though
Perhaps suspicious of Toulouse.
Here dozes one against the wall,
Disposed upon a funeral chair.
A Degas dancer pirouettes
Upon the parting of his hair.
See how she spins! The grace is there,
But strain as well is plain to see.
Degas loved the two together:
Beauty joined to energy.
Edgar Degas purchased once
A fine El Greco, which he kept
Against the wall beside his bed
To hang his pants on while he slept.
przekład Ludmiły Marjańskiej pt. „Obrazek
z muzeum” w temacie
I read how Quixote in his random ride
Came to a crossing once, and lest he lose
The purity of chance, would not decide
Whither to fare, but wished his horse to choose.
For glory lay wherever turned the fable.
His head was light with pride, his horse's shoes
Were heavy, and he headed for the stable.
przekład Ludmiły Marjańskiej pt. „Przypowieść”
A Glance from the Bridge
Letting the eye descend from reeking stack
And black façade to where the river goes,
You see the freeze has started in to crack
(As if the city squeezed it in a vice),
And here and there the limbering water shows,
And gulls colonial on the sullied ice.
Some rise and braid their glidings, white and spare,
Or sweep the hemmed-in river up and down,
Making a litheness in the barriered air,
And through the town the freshening water swirls
As if an ancient whore undid her gown
And showed a body almost like a girl's.
przekład Ludmiły Marjańskiej pt. „Spojrzenie z mostu”
A ball will bounce; but less and less. It's not
A light-hearted thing, resents its own resilience.
Falling is what it loves, and the earth falls
So in our hearts from brilliance,
Settles and is forgot.
It takes a sky-blue juggler with five red balls
To shake our gravity up. Whee, in the air
The balls roll around, wheel on his wheeling hands,
Learning the ways of lightness, alter to spheres
Grazing his finger ends,
Cling to their courses there,
Swinging a small heaven about his ears.
But a heaven is easier made of nothing at all
Than the earth regained, and still and sole within
The spin of worlds, with a gesture sure and noble
He reels that heaven in,
Landing it ball by ball,
And trades it all for a broom, a plate, a table.
Oh, on his toe the table is turning, the broom's
Balancing up on his nose, and the plate whirls
On the tip of the broom! Damn, what a show, we cry:
The boys stamp, and the girls
Shriek, and the drum booms
And all come down, and he bows and says good-bye.
If the juggler is tired now, if the broom stands
In the dust again, if the table starts to drop
Through the daily dark again, and though the plate
Lies flat on the table top,
For him we batter our hands
Who has won for once over the world's weight.
przekład Ludmiły Marjańskiej pt. "Żongler"
tu wzlatuje się i spada...
The Death of a Toad
A toad the power mower caught,
Chewed and clipped of a leg, with a hobbling hop has got
To the garden verge, and sanctuaried him
Under the cineraria leaves, in the shade
Of the ashen and heartshaped leaves, in a dim,
Low, and a final glade.
The rare original heartsbleed goes,
Spends in the earthen hide, in the folds and wizenings, flows
In the gutters of the banked and staring eyes. He lies
As still as if he would return to stone,
And soundlessly attending, dies
Toward some deep monotone,
Toward misted and ebullient seas
And cooling shores, toward lost Amphibia^Rs emperies.
Day dwindles, drowning and at length is gone
In the wide and antique eyes, which still appear
To watch, across the castrate lawn,
The haggard daylight steer.
przekład Stanisława Barańczaka pt. „Śmierć ropuchy”
Still, Citizen Sparrow...
Still, citizen sparrow, this vulture which you call
Unnatural, let him but lumber again to air
Over the rotten office, let him bear
The carrion ballast up, and at the tall
Tip of the sky lie cruising. Then you’ll see
That no more beautiful bird is in heaven’s height,
No wider more placid wings, no watchfuller flight;
He shoulders nature there, the frightfully free,
The naked-headed one. Pardon him, you
Who dart in the orchard aisles, for it is he
Devours death, mocks mutability,
Has heart to make an end, keeps nature new.
Thinking of Noah, childheart, try to forget
How for so many bedlam hours his saw
Soured the song of birds with its wheezy gnaw,
And the slam of his hammer all the day beset
The people’s ears. Forget that he could bear
To see the towns like coral under the keel,
And the fields so dismal deep. Try rather to feel
How high and weary it was, on the waters where
He rocked his only world, and everyone’s.
Forgive the hero, you who would have died
Gladly with all you knew; he rode that tide
To Ararat; all men are Noah’s sons.
przekład Stanisława Barańczka pt. „Ale, obywatelu
wróblu...” w temacie
Z tomu „Things of This World. Poems 1943-1956”, 1956
Love Calls Us to the Things of This World
The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,
And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul
Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple
As false dawn.
Outside the open window
The morning air is all awash with angels.
Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses,
Some are in smocks: but truly there they are.
Now they are rising together in calm swells
Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear
With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;
Now they are flying in place, conveying
The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving
And staying like white water; and now of a sudden
They swoon down into so rapt a quiet
That nobody seems to be there.
The soul shrinks
From all that is about to remember,
From the punctual rape of every blessed day,
"Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry,
Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven.''
Yet, as the sun acknowledges
With a warm look the world's hunks and colors,
The soul descends once more in bitter love
To accept the waking body, saying now
In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,
"Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;
Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;
Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone,
And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating
Of dark habits,
keeping their difficult balance."
przekład Leszka Elektorowicza pt. „Miłość wzywa nas
ku rzeczom tego świata” w temacie
Piazza di Spagna, Early Morning
I can't forget
How she stood at the top of that long marble stair
Amazed, and then with a sleepy pirouette
Went dancing slowly down to the fountain-quieted square;
Nothing upon her face
But some impersonal loneliness,- not then a girl
But as it were a reverie of the place,
A called-for falling glide and whirl;
As when a leaf, petal, or thin chip
Is drawn to the falls of a pool and, circling a moment above it,
Rides on over the lip-
Perfectly beautiful, perfectly ignorant of it.
przekład Ludmiły Marjańskiej pt. „Piazza di Spagna
wczesnym rankiem” w temacie
Boy at the Window
Seeing the snowman standing all alone
In dusk and cold is more than he can bear.
The small boy weeps to hear the wind prepare
A night of gnashings and enormous moan.
His tearful sight can hardly reach to where
The pale-faced figure with bitumen eyes
Returns him such a God-forsaken stare
As outcast Adam gave to paradise.
The man of snow is, nonetheless, content,
Having no wish to go inside and die.
Still, he is moved to see the youngster cry.
Though frozen water is his element,
He melts enough to drop from one soft eye
A trickle of the purest rain, a tear
For the child at the bright pane surrounded by
Such warmth, such light, such love, and so much fear.
przekład Ludmiły Marjańskiej pt. „Chłopiec przy oknie”
jest chodzącym cudem...
Z tomu „Advice to a Prophet, and Other Poems”, 1961
Even as children they were late sleepers,
Preferring their dreams, even when quick with monsters,
To the world with all its breakable toys,
Its compacts with the dying;
From the stretched arms of withered trees
They turned, fearing contagion of the mortal,
And even under the plums of summer
Drifted like winter moons.
Secret, unfriendly, pale, possessed
Of the one wish, the thirst for mere survival,
They came, as all extremists do
In time, to a sort of grandeur:
Now, to their Balkan battlements
Above the vulgar town of their first lives,
They rise at the moon's rising. Strange
That their utter self-concern
Should, in the end, have left them selfless:
Mirrors fail to perceive them as they float
Through the great hall and up the staircase;
Nor are the cobwebs broken.
Into the pallid night emerging,
Wrapped in their flapping capes, routinely maddened
By a wolf's cry, they stand for a moment
Stoking the mind's eye
With lewd thoughts of the pressed flowers
And bric-a-brac of rooms with something to lose,--
Of love-dismembered dolls, and children
Buried in quilted sleep.
Then they are off in a negative frenzy,
Their black shapes cropped into sudden bats
That swarm, burst, and are gone. Thinking
Of a thrush cold in the leaves
Who has sung his few summers truly,
Or an old scholar resting his eyes at last,
We cannot be much impressed with vampires,
Colorful though they are;
Nevertheless, their pain is real,
And requires our pity. Think how sad it must be
To thirst always for a scorned elixir,
The salt quotidian blood
Which, if mistrusted, has no savor;
To prey on life forever and not possess it,
As rock-hollows, tide after tide,
Glassily strand the sea.
przekład Roberta Stillera pt. „Nieumarli”
Advice to a Prophet
When you come, as you soon must, to the streets of our city,
Mad-eyed from stating the obvious,
Not proclaiming our fall but begging us
In God's name to have self-pity,
Spare us all word of the weapons, their force and range,
The long numbers that rocket the mind;
Our slow, unreckoning hearts will be left behind,
Unable to fear what is too strange.
Nor shall you scare us with talk of the death of the race.
How should we dream of this place without us?--
The sun mere fire, the leaves untroubled about us,
A stone look on the stone's face?
Speak of the world's own change. Though we cannot conceive
Of an undreamt thing, we know to our cost
How the dreamt cloud crumbles, the vines are blackened by frost,
How the view alters. We could believe,
If you told us so, that the white-tailed deer will slip
Into perfect shade, grown perfectly shy,
The lark avoid the reaches of our eye,
The jack-pine lose its knuckled grip
On the cold ledge, and every torrent burn
As Xanthus once, its gliding trout
Stunned in a twinkling. What should we be without
The dolphin's arc, the dove's return,
These things in which we have seen ourselves and spoken?
Ask us, prophet, how we shall call
Our natures forth when that live tongue is all
Dispelled, that glass obscured or broken
In which we have said the rose of our love and the clean
Horse of our courage, in which beheld
The singing locust of the soul unshelled,
And all we mean or wish to mean.
Ask us, ask us whether with the worldless rose
Our hearts shall fail us; come demanding
Whether there shall be lofty or long standing
When the bronze annals of the oak-tree close.
przekład Ludmiły Marjańskiej pt. „Rada dla proroka”
i eschatologia (motyw
końca świata i sądu ostatecznego w poezji)
Z tomu „The Mind-Reader. New Poems”, 1976
St. John tells how, at Cana's wedding feast,
The water-pots poured wine in such amount
That by his sober count
There were a hundred gallons at the least.
It made no earthly sense, unless to show
How whatsoever love elects to bless
Brims to a sweet excess
That can without depletion overflow.
Which is to say that what love sees is true;
That this world's fullness is not made but found.
Life hungers to abound
And pour its plenty out for such as you.
Now, if your loves will lend an ear to mine,
I toast you both, good son and dear new daughter.
May you not lack for water,
And may that water smack of Cana's wine.
przekład Ludmiły Marjańskiej pt. „Toast weselny”
Z tomu „Mayflies. New Poems and Translations”,
A Barred Owl
The warping night air having brought the boom
Of an owl’s voice into her darkened room,
We tell the wakened child that all she heard
Was an odd question from a forest bird,
Asking of us, if rightly listened to,
„Who cooks for you?” and then „Who cooks for you?”
Words, which can make our terrors bravely clear,
Can also thus domesticate a fear,
And send a small child back to sleep at night
Not listening for the sound of stealthy flight
Or dreaming of some small thing in a claw
Borne up to some dark branch and eaten raw.
przekład Ryszarda Mierzejewskiego pt. „Sowa
kreskowana” w temacie
„Now,” said the voice of lock and window-bar,
„You must confront things as they truly are.
Open your eyes at last, and see
The desolateness of reality.”
„Things have,” I said, „a pallid, empty look,
Like pictures in an unused coloring book.”
„Now that the scales have fallen from your eyes”
Said the sad hallways, „you must recognize
How childishly your former sight
Salted the world with glory and delight.”
„This cannot be the world,” I said. „Nor will it,
'Till the heart's crayon spangle and fulfill it.”
przekład Ryszarda Mierzejewskiego pt. „Na Moorditch”
In somber forest, when the sun was low,
I saw from unseen pools a mist of flies
- In their quadrillions rise
And animate a ragged patch of glow
With sudden glittering - as when a crowd
- Of stars appear
Through a brief gap in black and driven cloud,
One arc of their great round-dance showing clear.
It was no muddled swarm I witnessed, for
In entrechats each fluttering insect there
- Rose two steep yards in air,
Then slowly floated down to climb once more,
So that they all composed a manifold
- And figured scene,
And seemed the weavers of some cloth of gold,
Or the fine pistons of some bright machine.
Watching these lifelong dancers of a day
As night closed in, I felt myself alone
In a life too much my own,
More mortal in my separateness than they -
Unless, I thought, I had been called to be
- Not fly or star
But one whose task is joyfully to see
How fair the fiats of the caller are.
przekład Ryszarda Mierzejewskiego pt. „Jętki”
Z tomu „Collected Poems 1943-2004”, 2004
Though the season's begun to speak
Its long sentences of darkness,
The upswept boughs of the larch
Bristle with gold for a week,
And then there is only the willow
To make bright interjection,
Its drooping branches decked
With thin leaves, curved and yellow,
Till winter, loosening these
With a first flurry and bluster,
Shall scatter across the snow-crust
Their dropped parentheses.
przekład Ryszarda Mierzejewskiego pt. „Na uboczu”
harmonii z przyrodą
Blackberries for Amelia
Fringing the woods, the stone walls, and the lanes,
Old thickets everywhere have come alive,
Their new leaves reaching out in fans of five
From tangles overarched by this year’s canes.
They have their flowers too, it being June,
And here or there in brambled dark-and-light
Are small, five-petaled blooms of chalky white,
As random-clustered and as loosely strewn
As the far stars, of which we now are told
That ever faster do they bolt away,
And that a night may come in which, some say,
We shall have only blackness to behold.
I have no time for any change so great,
But I shall see the August weather spur
Berries to ripen where the flowers were –
Dark berries, savage-sweet and worth the wait –
And there will come the moment to be quick
And save some from the birds, and I shall need
Two pails, old clothes in which to stain and bleed,
And a grandchild to talk with while we pick.
przekład Ryszarda Mierzejewskiego pt. „Jeżyny dla Amelii”
i inne leśne zbieranie
Z tomu „Anterooms. New Poems and Translations”,
Sometimes, on waking, she would close her eyes
For a last look at that white house she knew
In sleep alone, and held no title to,
And had not entered yet, for all her sighs.
What did she tell me of that house of hers?
White gatepost; terrace; fanlight of the door;
A widow’s walk above the bouldered shore;
Salt winds that ruffle the surrounding firs.
Is she now there, wherever there may be?
Only a foolish man would hope to find
That haven fashioned by her dreaming mind.
Night after night, my love, I put to sea.
przekład Ryszarda Mierzejewskiego pt. „Dom”
Give thanks for all things
On the plucked lute, and likewise
The harp of ten strings.
Have the lifted horn
Greatly blare, and pronounce it
Good to have been born.
Lend the breath of life
To the stops of the sweet flute
Or capering fife,
And tell the deep drum
To make, at the right juncture,
Then, in grave relief,
Praise too our sorrows on the
Cello of shared grief.
przekład Ryszarda Mierzejewskiego
pt. „Psalm” w temacie
Out of the snowdrift
Which covered it, this pillared
Sundial starts to lift,
Able now at last
To let its frozen hours
Melt into the past
In bright, ticking drops.
Time so often hastens by,
Time so often stops—
Still, it strains belief
How an instant can dilate,
Or long years be brief.
Dreams, which interweave
All our times and tenses, are
What we can believe:
Dark they are, yet plain,
Coming to us now as if
Through a cobwebbed pane
Where, before our eyes,
All the living and the dead
Meet without surprise.
przekład Ryszarda Mierzejewskiego
pt. „Przedpokoje” w temacie
These trees came to stay.
Planted at intervals of
Thirty feet each way,
Each one stands alone
Where it is to live and die.
Still, when they have grown
To full size, these trees
Will blend their crowns, and hum with
Meanwhile, see how they
Rise against their rootedness
On a gusty day,
Nodding one and all
To one another, as they
Rise again and fall,
Swept by flutterings
So that they appear a great
Consort of sweet strings.
przekład Krzysztofa Stachnika pt. „Młody
sad” w temacie
Inne wiersze Richarda Wilbura w tematach:
świecie wróżb, zaklęć i sił tajemnych,
- w szkole i w życiu,
życie jest człowieka,
i potęga myśli,
w ZOO i nie tylko tam,
wyspy szczęśliwe, arkadia