Ja no caldria continuar
amb Strand, però no puc deixar un poema a mitges, així que acabo
amb la traducció de la segona part de “Traducció, 5”. Es pot
traduir? No es pot traduir? Preguntes inútils perquè la qüestió,
fins que tothom sigui omnilingüe, és com.
sencer i, per si algú, sigui poeta o no es vol entretenir amb la
lectura o la traducció, tanco aquest petit cicle amb “The Great
Poete Retorn”, publicat al “The New Yorker” l'any 1995 i
posteriorment, l'any 99, al volum Blizzard of one: poems.
digué Borges, “que Wordsworth rebutja
ser traduït. Sou vós
qui haurà de ser traduït, qui
haurà de convertir-se,
encara que el temps s'eternitzi, en l'autor
de “The Prelude”,
això és el que va passar amb Pierre Menard quan
va traduir Cervantes.
Ell no volia compondre un altre Don Quijote
-cosa que és fàcil-
sinó Don Quijote. La seua admirable intenció
era produir unes
pàgines que coincidissin -paraula per paraula,
lletra per per lletra-
amb les de Miguel de Cervantes.
El mètode inicial que
imaginà era relativament senzill: Conèixer
recuperar la fe catòlica, guerrejar contra els moros
i el turcs, oblidar la
història d'Europa entre 1602 i 1918, i ser
Miguel de Cervantes.
Compondre Don Quijote a principis
del segle disset era
una empresa raonable, i necessària,
potser fatal; a
principis del segle vint, era quasi impossible.”
impossible”, li vaig dir, “sinó absolutament impossible,
perquè par traduir hom
ha de deixar de ser.” Vaig tancar
els ulls per un segon i
em vaig adonar que si deixava de ser,
mai podria saber-ho.
“Borges...” vaig estar a punt de dir-li
que la força d'un
estil hauria de mesurar-se per al seua resistència
a la traducció.
“Borges...” Però quan vaig obrir els ulls, ell i el
text on estava
dibuixant havien desaparegut.
-------- o ---------
I was in the bathtub when Jorge Luise Borges stumbled in
door. "Borges, be careful!" I yelled. "The floor is
and you are blind." Then, soaping my chest, I said,
have you ever considered what is implicit in a
`I translate Apollinaire into English' or `I
translate de la Mare
into French': that we take the highly
idiosyncratic work of
an individual and render it into a language
that belongs to
everyone and to no one, a system of meanings
general to permit not only misunderstandings but to
into doubt the possibility of permitting anything
"Yes," he said, with an air of
"Then don't you think," I said, "that
the translation of
poetry is best left to poets who are in
possession of an
English they have each made their own, and that
teachers, who feel responsibility to a language not in
modifications but in its monolithic entirety, make the worst
translators? Wouldn't it be best to think of translation as a
transaction between individual idioms, between, say, the
of D'Annunzio and the English of Auden? If we did,
we could end
irrelevant discussions of who has and who
hasn't done a correct
"Yes," he said, seeming to get
"Say," I said. "If translation is a kind
of reading, the
assumption or transformation of one personal
another, then shouldn't it be possible to translate
in one's own language? Shouldn't it be possible to
Wordsworth or Shelley into Strand?"
will discover," said Borges, "that Wordsworth refuses
be translated. It is you who must be translated, who must
for however long, the author of The Prelude. That
happened to Pierre Menard when he translated Cervantes.
not want to compose another Don Quixote --which
would be easy--
but *the* Don Quixote. His admirable
ambition was to produce
pages which would coincide --word
for word and line for line--
with those of Miguel de
Cervantes. The initial method he
conceived was relatively
simple: to know Spanish well, to
re-embrace the Catholic
faith, to fight against the Moors and
Turks, to forget
European history between 1602 and 1918, and to
*be* Miguel de
Cervantes. To compose Don Quixote at the beginning
seventeenth century was a reasonable, necessary, and
inevitable undertaking; at the beginning of the twentieth
century it was almost impossible."
impossible," I said, "but absolutely impossible,
order to translate one must cease to be." I closed
for a second and realized that if I ceased to be, I
know. "Borges..." I was about to tell him that
strength of a style must be measured by its resistance to
translation. "Borges..." But when I opened my eyes, he,
and the text into which he was drawn, had come to an end.
When the light
poured down through a hole in the clouds,
We knew the great poet
was going to show. And he did.
A limousine with all white tires
and stained-glass windows
Dropped him off. And then, with a clear
and soundless fluency,
He strode into the hall. There was a hush.
His wings were big.
The cut of his suit, the width of his tie,
were out of date.
When he spoke, the air seemed whitened by
The worm of desire bore into the heart of everyone
There were tears in his eyes. The great one was better than
“No need to rush,” he said at the close of the reading,
Of the world is only the end of the world as you know
How like him, everyone thought. Then he was gone;
the world was a blank. It was cold and the air was still.
you people out there, what is poetry anyway?
Can anyone die
without even a little?