Susan Ye Laird, poetry magazine, poetry translations
 Translations
     with S. Ye Laird

Remember the month of November... in this issue we offer Andrew Graham-Yooll's "Remember Monica" and Tiffany Higgins 'Dance, dance while the hive collapses' as part of our 2018 Anthony Poetry Translation Prize, as our plan still undergoes a crystallization process in the next few months, to hash out target languages list and judges and prize etc etc...

Mari Carreno Untitled Watercolor

Mario Carreño, the painter we ignore from Havana Time 2009. "Yet not even his biographer, Marilu Ortiz de Rozas, knew what the artist felt on those return journeys.  Carreño didn’t make public statements upon his return to Chile, nor did he comment about those to his closest friends." 

Andrew Graham-Yooll , born in (1944) in Argentina of Scottish and English parents. He has published about thirty books and was the editor of the English-language Buenos Aires Herald ( founded in 1876) up to December 2007. In London, he worked on the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and was editor of Index on Censorship. He writes his own poetry and translates other poets from Spanish into English, and British and US poets into Spanish. He has four children and seven grandchildren.  'Memories of Monica' was first published in July issue of Triada in Spain with bilingual text in English and Spanish.

MEMORIES OF MONICA  by Andrew Graham-Yooll

How will I describe her beauty when only pictures can be seen?

The wonder of her is not in photos, well, maybe some parts;

but I want a great portrait to show shapes, the bumps, the pieces,

elation came just watching her, feeling her joy, seeing her sadness.

         I remember Monica… her laughter.

 

What has a meaning at this time of pain?  Harsh stabbing questions?

Yes, her laughter, the laughter.  I miss that, as when I said, “Your

breasts are beautiful.” She laughed. “I never thought they were,

nobody admired them.” Two divine flowers overflowed my hands

and seemed to slip like fine warm sand through parted fingers;  

“Yes … they are.” She laughed sweetly. “I was taught they were

for feeding kids,” she said.  “That’s all.  If we had met earlier...

Just that.” Anger rises from hurt, sorrow from tears that can’t dry.

         I remember Monica… her joy.

 

As she climbed to hang her heart on winter roughened branches,

all grey, except her face full of pleasure: from the ground I looked

up her shorts and stated what I saw. She let herself down, loudly

admonishing amid peals  of laughter. I must recall this much again.

A  shabby patter of recollections with empty words, the fingers,

the arms, the nose, eyes, lips too, of course, each claims an Ode…

Then come outbursts of fury enhanced with odious ire, cancer does

that, devastating the gentleness of pity from a depth without  words.

         I remember Monica… her pain.

 

Oh, words.  My word! They sound useless, repetitive, childish almost,

not even as useful as flooding tears might be. So trite in repetition,

I must tell her, you know, that the fig tree has small early leaves.

The vines sprout, so with the orange, the lemon, blossoms all about.

         I remember Monica… the pity.

 

Not fully felt, because the injury is not mine, the cause unknown,

blasted with the bad breath of piercing injury.  We ask why.  Why?

As if we were none to blame for nought never ever. Easy it was,

“Just a back ache, no more.”  She didn’t want to know sooner.

         I remember Monica… the loss.

 

How many tears will we shed before the sadness of solitude is bearable?

How can joy shine in memory while the guilt of loss prevails?  Only  

the forgotten are dead.  But if memory keeps life to assist our escape

from the welts of ending I could stay in possession of all of dear you.

Sylvia Plath Collected Poems 
No. 176

   The Bee Meeting

 

Who are these people at the bridge to meet me? They are the villagers------ 
The rector, the midwife, the sexton, the agent for bees. 
In my sleeveless summery dress I have no protection, 
And they are all gloved and covered, why did nobody tell me? 
They are smiling and taking out veils tacked to ancient hats. 

 

I am nude as a chicken neck, does nobody love me? 
Yes, here is the secretary of bees with her white shop smock, 
Buttoning the cuffs at my wrists and the slit from my neck to my knees. 
Now I am milkweed silk, the bees will not notice. 

They will not smell my fear, my fear, my fear. 

 

Which is the rector now, is it that man in black? 
Which is the midwife, is that her blue coat? 
Everybody is nodding a square black head, they are knights in visors, 
Breastplates of cheesecloth knotted under the armpits. 
Their smiles and their voices are changing. I am led through a bean      field. 

Strips of tinfoil winking like people, 
Feather dusters fanning their hands in a sea of bean flowers, 
Creamy bean flowers with black eyes and leaves like bored hearts. 
Is it blood clots the tendrils are dragging up that string? 
No, no, it is scarlet flowers that will one day be edible. 

 

Now they are giving me a fashionable white straw Italian hat 

And a black veil that molds to my face, they are making me one of them. 
They are leading me to the shorn grove, the circle of hives. 
Is it the hawthorn that smells so sick? 
The barren body of hawthorn, etherizing its children. 

 

Is it some operation that is taking place? 
It is the surgeon my neighbors are waiting for, 
This apparition in a green helmet, 
Shining gloves and white suit. 
Is it the butcher, the grocer, the postman, someone I know? 

 

I cannot run, I am rooted, and the gorse hurts me 
With its yellow purses, its spiky armory. 
I could not run without having to run forever. 
The white hive is snug as a virgin, 
Sealing off her brood cells, her honey, and quietly humming. 

 

Smoke rolls and scarves in the grove. 
The mind of the hive thinks this is the end of everything. 
Here they come, the outriders, on their hysterical elastics. 
If I stand very still, they will think I am cow-parsley, 
A gullible head untouched by their animosity, 

 

Not even nodding, a personage in a hedgerow. 
The villagers open the chambers, they are hunting the queen. 
Is she hiding, is she eating honey? She is very clever. 
She is old, old, old, she must live another year, and she knows it. 
While in their fingerjoint cells the new virgins 

 

Dream of a duel they will win inevitably, 
A curtain of wax dividing them from the bride flight, 
The upflight of the murderess into a heaven that loves her. 
The villagers are moving the virgins, there will be no killing. 
The old queen does not show herself, is she so ungrateful? 

 

I am exhausted, I am exhausted------ 
Pillar of white in a blackout of knives. 
I am the magician's girl who does not flinch. 
The villagers are untying their disguises, they are shaking hands. 
Whose is that long white box in the grove, what have they accomplished, why am I cold.
                      3 October 1962
 

普拉斯《诗全编》
第176 首

   养蜂集会,   translation by 'Getting 1, forgetting 2'

在桥头迎接我的这些人,是谁?是同村居民——
教区长、产婆、教堂司事、蜜蜂代理商。
身穿无袖连衣裙,我无遮无挡,
而他们都戴手套、穿防护服,为何没人告诉我?
他们微笑,取下别在古老的帽子上的面纱。

 

我像鸡脖子一样赤裸,难道没人爱我?
还好,蜜蜂会秘书走来,穿着店员的白外套,
扣紧我手腕上的滚边袖和从脖子到膝盖的缝隙。
现在,我是马利筋的穗须,蜜蜂注意不到了。
它们嗅不到我的恐惧、我的恐惧、我的恐惧。

 

现在,哪个是教区长?那个黑衣人?
哪个是产婆?那是她的蓝外套?
每个人都在点头,一只黑色方框,都是披甲挂胄的骑士,
粗棉布的胸甲,结,系在腋窝下。
他们的微笑与嗓音一直在变。我被领着穿过一片豆田。

 

一条条锡箔像人一样眨眼,
羽毛刷在豆花的海洋中左右挥闪着手掌,
乳脂似的豆花长着黑眼睛,豆叶如烦厌的心。
卷须拽起的那一串,是鲜血的凝块?
不,不,那是猩红的花,终有一天可以食用。

 

现在他们给我戴一顶时髦的白色意大利草帽,
一块黑面纱配我的脸,把我造就成他们的一员。
领我走向修剪整齐的树林,排成一圈的蜂箱。
是不是山楂树散发出如此难闻的味道?
山楂树不育的身躯,麻醉着它的孩子。

 

是否正在进行一项手术?
我的邻居们正是在等待手术师,
这幽灵,戴着绿色防护帽、
光洁的手套、一身白套服。
这是屠户、杂货商、邮差?我认识的某人?

 

我跑不了了,我已生根,荆豆
以它黄色的豆荚和尖长的硬壳刺痛我。
我无法逃跑,一旦逃跑,就得永远逃跑。
白色蜂房温婉,如处女蜂,
封住她的孵巢、她的蜂蜜,柔声嗡鸣。

烟雾缭绕,若丝巾飘曳于树林。

蜂群的头脑认为这是一切的终结。
先遣队冲来了,带着歇斯底里的机动性。
如果我纹丝不动,它们会以为我是欧芹,
轻信的脑袋,免于它们的敌意,

 

我甚至没有点头,灌木丛中的要人。
村民们打开蜂室,搜捕蜂后。
她在躲藏?在吃蜜?她很聪明。
她老了,老了,老了,她必须再活一年,对此她很清楚。
而在指节似的蜂巢中,新一代处女蜂

 

梦想着她们注定获胜的决斗。
一道蜡帘隔开她们,无法婚飞,
那女凶手腾飞,驶入钟爱她的天堂。
村民们移动着处女蜂,不会有杀戮。
老蜂后拒不现身,竟如此毫不领情?

 

我已筋疲力尽,筋疲力尽——
白柱子站在飞刀闪过时的眩晕中。
我是魔术师的女助手,不畏缩。
村民正卸下伪装,互相握手。
树丛中那只白色长箱子是谁的,他们完成了什么,我为何这么冷。
               1962年10月3日

Translator: 得一忘二  Jinghua Fan, bilingual poet/translator, currently teaches and doing literary research in Singapore. Author of two poetry books. Prof. Fan has done extensive research in the field of Sylvia Plath study, both in English and translation into Chinese. his English blog based in Singapore , and blog in Chinese ( based in Mainland China) 

传说   by Mao Jing  茅境

传说中有传说的人物,把灯传下去
传到农夫这一代,灯已经昏黄
醉酒的灯光,装饰你的面孔
好像一瓶葡萄酒洒在墓地上

断肠的故事,总要把这一切埋葬
有一股郁愤在你腹中发酵膨胀
总要告别舞台的,你是舞台的柱子
你是舞台的板
你在冷井看水中的灯光

谣言要传下去,灯火要传下去
信仰要传下去,仇恨要传下去

姑娘的腰带,有乳色的欲望
荒芜的紫禁城,荒芜的故乡
有些长脚的鹭鸶,有些长脚的蜘蛛
在你离去的舞台废墟
仰头张望

Legendary  - translation into English by S. Ye

There are legendary characters in mythology,
they pass down the light of being
To the generation of farmers, the lights are sputtering
flickering drunken flames, adorned each other's face
as if from an empty bottle, the last drop of wine seeping into tombs.

Gut wrenching stories, always tried to bury it all
yet sorrow and rage festering together inside of you.
In the end, we must all take our leave,
but you were the center beam of the playhouse
you floored other actors
you saw the light beneath frozen well.

Rumor shall live, light and fire shall live
Faith shall live, angst and hatred shall live

Waistline of fair maiden, carried our mirky desire
Abandoned Forbidden city, abandoned birthplaces
A couple long leg Egrets, a couple spiders
after you left the ruined playhouse
They raised their heads and looked on.

"At Melville's Tomb" by Hart Crane

Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge 
The dice of drowned men's bones he saw bequeath 
An embassy. Their numbers as he watched, 
Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured. 

And wrecks passed without sound of bells, 
The calyx of death's bounty giving back 
A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph, 
The portent wound in corridors of shells. 

Then in the circuit calm of one vast coil, 
Its lashings charmed and malice reconciled, 
Frosted eyes there were that lifted altars; 
And silent answers crept across the stars. 

Compass, quadrant and sextant contrive 
No farther tides . . . High in the azure steeps 
Monody shall not wake the mariner. 
This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps.

在梅尔维尔墓前 ( Hart Crane)

  --  赵毅衡 译

经常,在海波下,离暗礁很远, 
他看见淹死者的白骨做的骰子 
遗下了音信。当他注视 
骰子落在泥岸上,点数模糊。 

沉船驰过,没有敲钟, 
死亡的略微获物开出花萼送回 
断章残简,青黑的象形文字, 
贝壳走廊里缠绕着不祥物。 

此后,大圆圈中小圈子静下, 
水的抽击被惑住,解了恨, 
迷糊的眼睛高筑起祭坛, 
无声的回答爬过星群。 

罗盘、四分仪,六分仪,再无法 
催起潮水——在蔚蓝的陡岸之上 
波浪之歌无法唤醒水手, 
只有大海保存这奇异的影子。 

选自《白房子》(1926) 

I encountered this most fabulous blog entry on Hart Crane's 'At Melville's Tomb' from Tuesday Poem site,  by Zireaux, author of "Kamal: a Novel in Verse".  The translation into Chinese is done by Professor Henry Yi-heng Zhao: Writer, poet, critic. Ph.D . in Comparative Literature at University of California at Berkeley, Professor at School of Asian and African Studies, University of London. Main works: The Uneasy Narrator: Chinese Fiction from the Traditional to the Modern, Towards a Modern Zen Theatre, etc.  Special thanks to Prof. Henry Zhao for granting us permission to publish his translation on our November issue.

Dance, Dance, While the Hive Collapses      BY TIFFANY HIGGINS

Oh my, oh my, I lose myself

I study atlases and cirrus paths

in search of traces of it, of you

                            of that thing, of that song

                            I keep pressing my ear to the current

                            of air to hear ... 

                                                              I hear it and it disappears

                                                               It was all I wanted to do in this life

                                                               to sense that phantom tap

on my nerves, to allow myself

to be hit by it, attacked, aroused

until, as if someone else, I arise

                               I dance my part in paradise

                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I read that bees who’ve drunk
imidacloprid

                              can’t waggle to indicate
                               to others where the best
                               nectar is located

   

   (you and I also long to map
   for each other the sweetest
   suck of sap)

 

                                Workers carry far less food
                                back to the waiting hive.

     

                                                                  They wander, wobble
                                                                  can’t bring their way
                                                                  home alive

 

The imidacloprid-imbibed
can’t bring it back
to the colony.
                                 Some hives collapse
                                  entirely.
                                                            I desire to say that I, I
                                                            would do it differently

                                                                         I would be the bee, bloomed
                                                                         with pesticide

that still would shake out a wiggle
like the finger’s signature
on the iPad at checkout:


      not quite you, but still identity
      more like a wave than solid you
      yet enough to signify:

                                 There, there, in the far off field
                                  spiked acanthus, trumpets of datura

 

                                               in the abandoned lot
                                               on the corner of International and High

 

                                                            the mystic assignation
                                                            the golden throat of light:
      

                                                                         gorge, gorge, take
                                                                         your fill, I would cry
                                     

                                                before I too failed
                                                and my bumbling body lay down to die

Tiffany Higgins is the author of And Aeneas Stares into Her Helmet (2009), selected by Evie Shockley as the winner of the 2008 Carolina Wren Press Poetry Prize. Her poems appear in the Massachusetts Review, Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, Prelude, Catamaran Literary Reader, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Higgins translates contemporary Brazilian writing and blogs on Brazil. She teaches at several colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area.  This poem first appeared in January 2016 Ecojustice Poetry Foundation site.

Poetry

I’d dance my last dance
to rescue the hive
yes, I’d carry the amber whirrers
out alive                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                 Or not. Perhaps I too would succumb

 

to the corn syrup, chemical 
piped into our supply.

 

                (I, too, longing to find my
                way to you,
                would go off course.)

 

                              Alas. There is still melody,
                              rhythm, someone is streaking
                              out in air, droning

 

                                          around the phonograph, which is the grooved
                                           heart valve of the black vinyl
                                           divine who is winding this universe.
                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Someone is dancing us.
Will it be you?                                           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

            Dance, dance, as the hive collapses
            Dance, dance, while the colony disassembles
            Dance the occasion
            Dance the gorgeous design                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

inside the honey
of our lit up veins                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

             between the stripes and streams
             of these swift rays

water and tree scape

Archive of Translations

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