Elizabeth Bishop, By de fiskloadsen

 
By de fiskloadsen

Hoewol’t it in kâlde jûn is,
sit der by ien fan de fiskloadsen
in âldman te netteboetsjen.
Syn net is yn de skimer hast ûnsichtber,
in donker pearsbrún,
en syn priem fersliten en glêdwreaun.
De loft rûkt sa sterk nei kabbeljau
dat jins noas der fan rint en jins eagen trienje.
De fiif fiskloadsen hawwe steile puntdakken,
smelle battings mei dwerslatten rinne omheech
nei opslachromtes achter de gevels
sadat der op- en delkroade wurde kin.
Alles is sulver: it swiere oerflak fan de see,
dy’t stadich dinet as yn bestân om oer te streamen,
is opaak, mar it sulver fan de banken,
kreeftefallen en mêsten, ferspraat
oer de rûge, skerpe rotsen,
is fan in klearblyklike trochskinendheid
krekt as de âlde geboutsjes mei smaragdgrien moas
dat op de nei it lân kearde muorren groeit.
De mânske fisktobben binne alhiel fuorre
mei lagen prachtige hjerringskobben
en de kroaden binne allyksa beplastere
mei rjemmige maljenkolders yn reinbôchkleuren,
dêr’t reinbôchkleurige michjes op krioele.
Op it hellinkje achter de huzen
stiet tusken de tinne, ljochte tûfkes gers
in âlde houten ierdwine, barsten,
mei twa lange, feal wurden hânspeaken
en wat mankelike flekken, as opdroege bloed,
dêr wêr’t it izerwurk rustke hat.
De âldman nimt in Lucky Strike oan.
Hy wie in freon fan ús pake.
Wy prate oer it ôfnommen ynwennertal
en oer kabbeljau en hjerring, wylst hy wachtet
op it binnenfarren fan in hjerringboat.
Der sitte glitterkes op syn fest en op syn tomme.
Mei dat swarte, âlde knyft, dêr’t it limmet
hast fan weisliten is, hat er fan ûntelbere fisken
de skobben, de wichtichste skientme, ôfskrabbe.

Under by de wetterkant, op it plak
dêr’t se de boaten op it droege lûke,
binne lâns it lange talúd dat it wetter yn rint
tinne sulveren beamstammen dwers
oer de grize stiennen lein, leger en leger
mei goed ien oant oardel meter tuskenromte.

Kâld tsjuster djip en folslein helder,
foar gjin stjerling te daaien elemint,
al foar fisk en seehûnen… Benammen
ien seehûn haw ik hjir jûn nei jûn sjoen.
Hy wie nijsgjirrich nei my. Hy hie niget oan muzyk;
krekt as ik leaude er yn folsleine ûnderdompeling,
dus plichte ik foar him baptistegesangen te sjongen.
Ek song ik ‘In sterke fêsting is ús God’.
Hy rjochte him op yn it wetter en meunstere my
stoefop, wylst er syn kop wat ferweegde.
Dan ferdwûn er om ynienen sawat op itselde plak
wer op te dûken, mei in soarte fan skouderopheljen
as die er it tsjin better witten yn.
Kâld tsjuster djip en folslein helder,
it heldere grize izige wetter… Jinsen, achter ús,
begjinne de foarname hege spjirren.
Blauwich, oerienkomstich harren skaden,
steane in miljoen krystbeammen
op krysttiid te wachtsjen. It wetter liket te hingjen
boppe de rûnsliten, grize en blaugrize stiennen.
Ik haw it kear op kear sjoen, deselde see, deselde,
licht en ûnferskillich skommeljend boppe de stiennen,
izich frij boppe de stiennen,
boppe de stiennen en dan de wrâld.
Soest dyn hân deryn stekke,
dan soe de pols dy daalk sear dwaan,
dyn bonken soenen pynlik wurde en soest dyn hân brâne
as wie it wetter in omsetting fan fjoer
dat op stiennen tart en brânt mei in donkergrize flam.
Soest it priuwe, dan soe it earst bitter smeitsje,
dan sâltich en dan wis dyn tonge brâne.
It is as hoe’t wy ús kennis foarstelle:
tsjuster, sâlt, helder, yn beweging, baarlike frij,
út de kâlde hurde mûle fan de wrâld
opdjippe, foar altyd oan de rotsige boarsten
ûntlutsen, floeiend en opdjippe, en mei’t
ús kennis histoarysk is, floeiend en ferflein.

 

At the Fishhouses

Although it is a cold evening,
down by one of the fishhouses
an old man sits netting,
his net, in the gloaming almost invisible,
a dark purple-brown,
and his shuttle worn and polished.
The air smells so strong of codfish
it makes one’s nose run and one’s eyes water.
The five fishhouses have steeply peaked roofs
and narrow, cleated gangplanks slant up
to storerooms in the gables
for the wheelbarrows to be pushed up and down on.
All is silver: the heavy surface of the sea,
swelling slowly as if considering spilling over,
is opaque, but the silver of the benches,
the lobster pots, and masts, scattered
among the wild jagged rocks,
is of an apparent translucence
like the small old buildings with an emerald moss
growing on their shoreward walls.
The big fish tubs are completely lined
with layers of beautiful herring scales
and the wheelbarrows are similarly plastered
with creamy iridescent coats of mail,
with small iridescent flies crawling on them.
Up on the little slope behind the houses,
set in the sparse bright sprinkle of grass,
is an ancient wooden capstan,
cracked, with two long bleached handles
and some melancholy stains, like dried blood,
where the ironwork has rusted.
The old man accepts a Lucky Strike.
He was a friend of my grandfather.
We talk of the decline in the population
and of codfish and herring
while he waits for a herring boat to come in.
There are sequins on his vest and on his thumb.
He has scraped the scales, the principal beauty,
from unnumbered fish with that black old knife,
the blade of which is almost worn away.

Down at the water’s edge, at the place
where they haul up the boats, up the long ramp
descending into the water, thin silver
tree trunks are laid horizontally
across the gray stones, down and down
at intervals of four or five feet.

Cold dark deep and absolutely clear,
element bearable to no mortal,
to fish and to seals . . . One seal particularly
I have seen here evening after evening.
He was curious about me. He was interested in music;
like me a believer in total immersion,
so I used to sing him Baptist hymns.
I also sang “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”
He stood up in the water and regarded me
steadily, moving his head a little.
Then he would disappear, then suddenly emerge
almost in the same spot, with a sort of shrug
as if it were against his better judgment.
Cold dark deep and absolutely clear,
the clear gray icy water . . . Back, behind us,
the dignified tall firs begin.
Bluish, associating with their shadows,
a million Christmas trees stand
waiting for Christmas. The water seems suspended
above the rounded gray and blue-gray stones.
I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same,
slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones,
icily free above the stones,
above the stones and then the world.
If you should dip your hand in,
your wrist would ache immediately,
your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn
as if the water were a transmutation of fire
that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.
If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter,
then briny, then surely burn your tongue.
It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
drawn from the cold hard mouth
of the world, derived from the rocky breasts
forever, flowing and drawn, and since
our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.

 

Ut A Cold Spring, 1955. De begjinrigel fan ‘A Mighty Fortress Is Our God’, de Ingelske ferzje fan Martin Luther syn gesang ‘Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott’, is hjir werjûn neffens de oersetting fan Ype Poortinga (Fryslân sjongt!, 1943; ek yn lettere lietebondels).

This entry was posted in Elizabeth Bishop and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.