Elizabeth Bishop, De fisk

 
De fisk

Ik fong in geweldige fisk
en hold him lâns de boat
heal út it wetter, mei myn heak
fêst yn in hoeke fan syn bek.
Hy focht net.
Hy hie alhiel net fochten.
Hy wie ien bonk wrantelich gewicht,
útput, earbiedweardich
en ûnsjoch. Hjir en dêr
hong syn brune fel yn repen
as antyk behangpapier,
en as behangpapier wie
syn donkerbrune tekening:
foarmen as roazen yn folle bloei,
flekt en troch de jierren ferskiere.
Hy wie bespikkele mei seepokken,
fine rozetten fan kalk,
en teheistere
troch lytse wite seeluzen,
en oan de ûnderkant hongen
twa, trije flarden grien wier del.
Wylst syn kiuwen
de freeslike soerstof ynsûgden
– de bangmeitsjende kiuwen,
farsk en bros fan bloed,
kinst dy der raar oan snije –
tocht ik oan it grouwe wite fleis,
teplak skikt as fearren,
de bonken en de graten,
de dramatyske tinten read en swart
fan syn glânzjend yngewant
en de rôze swimblaas
as in grutte pioenroas.
Ik seach him yn de eagen,
dy’t grutter wienen as mines
mar ek platter en fergiele,
mei irissen fette en set
yn ferware sulverpapier,
sjoen troch linzen
fan âlde skurve mika.
Se ferskoden in bytsje, mar net
as respons op myn blik
– it wie mear as it kanteljen
fan in foarwerp nei it ljocht.
Ik bewûndere syn noartske troanje,
it meganyk fan syn tsjeak,
en doe seach ik
dat der fan syn ûnderlippe
– ast dat sa neame kinst: lippe –
grym, wiet en as wienen ’t wapens
fiif âlde stikken angelsnoer hongen,
of fjouwer en in ein metaaltried
mei de waarle der noch oan,
mei alle fiif de grutte heakken
stevich fêstgroeid yn syn bek.
In grien snoer, raffelich dêr’t er
it brutsen hie, twa swierdere linen
en in fine swarte tried,
noch krôle fan it spannen en knappen
doe’t it brutsen wie, en hy ûntkommen.
As medaljes mei raffele,
wiuwkjende lintsjes
sljurke fan syn seare tsjeak
in fiifhierrich burd fan wiisheid.
Ik stoarre en stoarre
en de lytse hierboat
rûn fol mei fiktoarje,
fan de puozze linswetter
dêr’t oalje om de rustige motor
in reinbôge útspraat hie
oan it oranje ferrustke easfet,
de troch de sinne barsten doften,
de dollen oan harren koardsjes
en de boarden ta – oant oer alles
reinbôge, reinbôge, reinbôge lei!
En ik liet de fisk frij.

 

The Fish

I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of its mouth.
He didn’t fight.
He hadn’t fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
and infested
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
—the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly—
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
—It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
—if you could call it a lip—
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels—until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.

 

Ut North & South, 1946. YouTube: ‘The Fish’, foardroegen troch Elizabeth Bishop sels, 1947.

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