Elizabeth Bishop, Sestina

 
Sestina

Septimberrein falt op it hûs.
Yn de keuken sit de âlde beppe
te skimerjen mei it bern
nêst it Lytse Wûnder Fornús,
sy lêst de mopkes foar út it almenak,
laket, praat, ferstoppet sa har triennen.

Sy tinkt dat de moesson fan har triennen
en de slachrein op it dak fan it hûs
beide foarsein wienen troch it almenak
mar inkeld bekend binne oan in beppe.
De izeren tsjettel sjongt op it fornús.
Sy snijt wat bôle en seit tsjin it bern:

’t Is no tiid foar tee; mar it bern
sjocht hoe’t lytse hurde tsjetteltriennen
as gekken dûnsje op it hite swarte fornús,
krekt sa’t de rein grif ek dûnset op it hûs.
Se rommet wat, de âlde beppe,
en hinget it snoade almanak

op oan syn toutsje. It almenak
sweeft heal iepen boppe it bern,
sweeft as in fûgel boppe de âlde beppe
en har teekopke fol donkerbrune triennen.
Sy rillet en fynt, dat seit se, it hûs
mar skrousk, leit hout by yn it fornús.

It moast sa wêze, seit it Wûnder Fornús.
Ik wit wat ik wit, seit it almenak.
Mei krytsjes tekenet it bern in steech hûs
en in bochtich paad. Dan set it bern
der in man yn mei knopen as triennen
en lit it grutsk sjen oan de beppe.

Mar heimlik, wylst de beppe
drok dwaande is mei it fornús,
falle der moantsjes del as triennen
fan tusken de siden fan it almenak
middenyn it blomperk dat it bern
mei soarch oanlein hat foar it hûs.

Tiid en plantsje triennen, seit it almenak.
De beppe sjongt foar it wûndere fornús
en it bern tekenet noch sa’n ûngrûnber hûs.

 

Sestina

September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother
sits in the kitchen with the child
beside the Little Marvel Stove,
reading the jokes from the almanac,
laughing and talking to hide her tears.

She thinks that her equinoctial tears
and the rain that beats on the roof of the house
were both foretold by the almanac,
but only known to a grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child,

It’s time for tea now; but the child
is watching the teakettle’s small hard tears
dance like mad on the hot black stove,
the way the rain must dance on the house.
Tidying up, the old grandmother
hangs up the clever almanac

on its string. Birdlike, the almanac
hovers half open above the child,
hovers above the old grandmother
and her teacup full of dark brown tears.
She shivers and says she thinks the house
feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.

It was to be, says the Marvel Stove.
I know what I know, says the almanac.
With crayons the child draws a rigid house
and a winding pathway. Then the child
puts in a man with buttons like tears
and shows it proudly to the grandmother.

But secretly, while the grandmother
busies herself about the stove,
the little moons fall down like tears
from between the pages of the almanac
into the flower bed the child
has carefully placed in the front of the house.

Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove
and the child draws another inscrutable house.
 

 
 
Ut Questions of Travel, 1965. Ofbylding: in lytse Marvel Stove (merknamme), bedoeld as boartersguod of miniatuer-ferkeapmodel, om 1900 hinne makke.

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