Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Carol L. Gloo - Oomblik

Foto deur Leland Francisco

Carol L. Gloo

Die oomblik van my ma se dood
is ek besig om bevrore hoender af te spoel.
Geen visioen, geen skeur
van die tempelvoorhang, net
die sagte meegee van vleis.
Ek het haar vier dae gelede gesien.
Ek het gemeen sy is beter,
en die hospitaal het nie gebel nie,
so ek is pas terug
van ’n kerspartytjie op kantoor,
whisky op my asem
toe ek die foon antwoord.
En in ’n oomblik word ál my handelings
in die verlede onherroepelik.

[Vertaal deur Johann de Lange]

Monday, February 6, 2012

Reza de Wet (1952 - 2012)

Reza de Wet

Na 'n idee van Charlotte Mew
(vir Reza de Wet)

Ek onthou vele vertrekke,
& elkeen speel sy part
in die stadige verstilling
van die sigsag van die hart.

Johann de Lange

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Wilma Stockenström - On the suicide of young writers

 Ingrid Jonker (1933 - 1965)

Nat Nakasa (1937 - 1965)

On the suicide of young writers 
Wilma Stockenström

In memory of Ingrid Jonker and Nat Nakasa

For when they die
no flights in formation are necessary
crying starlings accompany them and the macabre gulls
no gun-carriage needs to be drawn past
poems carry them
sketches reveal tiny intimate details
long after the last news report on the dead politician

But when they die too young
– branch torn from the radiant peach-tree –
it  is an arm ripped off
blood drips on the breakfast table
the houses cower, the opulent churches cringe
and an acrid smoke blows across the land from endless caves.

(Tr. Johann de Lange)

Loftus Marais - Self-portrait on stainless contemporary surfaces

M. C. Escher, The Gallery

Self-portrait on stainless contemporary surfaces
Loftus Marais

the city renders me into my own objective correlative
the surfaces compel me to reflection
renders me deaf, I only stare, I stare at myself:
I’m functional on toasters, microwave ovens
kettles of stainless steel
I’m framed by the portholes of washing machines
at times even in the mysterious glint of door knobs
and the darkness mirrored off switched-off tv screens
I’m epic in panoramic sliding doors
my face wobbles across sedan windows
I’m selling myself to myself in shop windows
always amongst narcissi in front of the flower shop
I multiply by myself through the geometry of the city
I flash schizophrenic in swing doors, I look at
low-angle shots of myself on marble floors of lobbies
the city will echo faintly, but show me my facets
in every shade of unlyrical grey

[Translated by Johann de Lange]

Loftus Marais - Soul

Julie Newmar, Peignoir 1962. (c) Vintage Vogue

Loftus Marais

why does everyone assume the soul lives inside?  
hidden like your skeleton, only smaller
like a gland or a jewel
or a sip of clear sky held in forever…

for me it’s more like a kind of peignoir
liquid, satiny and radiant
worn while I’m combing my hair
my drag dress, my sacred night gown
I wear while piously pacing the room
like a young gloria swanson…

it is never stained
but sometimes it gets dry-cleaned (just in case)
after a Sunday brunch in my spring garden:
low-fat milk, organic honey, apples
on a table set as if for a wedding 

at night in my home: my soul draped
over a chair or the knob of a locked door
behind which I commit all kinds of sin
without soul and giggling
all body

[Translated by Johann de Lange]

Sheila Cussons - Sugar Candy

Sugar candy
Sheila Cussons

A poem does not always pick up like the wind.
At times it needs to be picked out, sought,
thought out from a single spare idea,
like the untangling, delicate and patient,
of a tightly woven silk cocoon or a tiny ball of yarn.
Or there is the method of accretion: as children,
once granny told us how they made sugar candy for tea,
we filled tiny flasks with sugared water coloured a pretty pink
with cochineal, dangled short pieces of thread
and then waited – oh how hard waiting is for a child: it
would take days apparently! – until the happy outcome:
each thread from top to bottom and thicker than your finger
one small pink column of crusty shiny crystals!
Now that’s what’s known as the “fetched” poem, the kind attained
as Eliot put it, through “expansion and accretion”.
But it is never making all the way: somewhere along the line
mystery takes over, and the thing, as if coming
to life under your hand, finds its own way and often arrives
not at all where you wanted or expected it to –
Untangling or waiting for crystals, the poet is
not the doer, at best a favourable circumstance,
literally standing-around, a directed kind of waiting, a favourable
if not favoured attention, or in the case 
of the other, the first mentioned wind-sudden kind of art, 
little more than an anus surprised by a divine fart.

[Translated by Johann de Lange]

N. P. van Wyk Louw - XXVIII. Aprilis

Leslie Caron as the dancer, Jane Avril.


N. P. van Wyk Louw

Jane Avril dances in Paris
scarlet lips, girdle pitch:
underneath like a smile
the thighs in braided muscle twitch

– “We” must (Cézanne insisted):
in shrill, sterile and sunlit-language glow
fix the soul (apparently) of “Old Masters”
and find “mind” and “wisdom” somehow –

those beautiful steel rods in black
shoot cleanly like an engine-arm blow
in sectors, minimal, and round in quartered
circles: shin and toe.

[Translated by Johann de Lange]