Elizabeth Bishop, Manearlik

 
Manearlik
                                        foar in bern fan 1918

Wy sieten tegearre op de bok
doe’t myn pake tsjin my sei:
‘Tink derom, sprek elkenien oan
dy’tst mar tsjinkomst ûnderweis.’

Wy kamen in frjemdling tsjin te foet.
‘Goendei, minhear. Noch in moaie dei.’
Pake syn swipe tikke tsjin syn hoed
en ik bûgde dêr’t ik siet en sei it nei.

Doe kamen wy kunde, in jonge, achterop
mei in krie op ’t skouder, tam en grut.
‘Jou altyd elkenien in lift;
ûnthâld dat, asto âlder wurdst,’

sei pake. Dat Willy klom nêst ús
op de bok, mar ‘Kra!’ die doe de krie
en hy fleach fuort. Ik wie ûngerêst.
Hoe wist er wêr’t er hinne gie?

Mar hy fleach mar koarte stikjes foarút,
fan hamei nei hamei, en joech replyk
as Willy floite. ‘In bêste fûgel,
en goed opbrocht ek, dat blykt,’

sei pake, ‘prate jo tsjin him,
dan wit er kreas beskie te jaan.
Minske of bist, manearlik is ’t.
Dat moatte jim ek altyd dwaan.’

Rieden der automobilen foarby,
dan waarden gesichten achter stof wei.
Sa lûd as wy koenen rôpen wy dochs
‘Goendei! Goendei! In moaie dei!’

Wy kamen by Hustler Hill en pake sei
dat de merje no wol wurch wêze soe,
dus stapten wy ôf en rûnen doe,
sa’t ús manearlikens it woe.

 

Manners
                                        for a Child of 1918

My grandfather said to me
as we sat on the wagon seat,
“Be sure to remember to always
speak to everyone you meet.”

We met a stranger on foot.
My grandfather’s whip tapped his hat.
“Good day, sir. Good day. A fine day.”
And I said it and bowed where I sat.

Then we overtook a boy we knew
with his big pet crow on his shoulder.
“Always offer everyone a ride;
don't forget that when you get older,”

my grandfather said. So Willy
climbed up with us, but the crow
gave a “Caw!” and flew off. I was worried.
How would he know where to go?

But he flew a little way at a time
from fence post to fence post, ahead;
and when Willy whistled he answered.
“A fine bird,” my grandfather said,

“and he’s well brought up. See, he answers
nicely when he’s spoken to.
Man or beast, that’s good manners.
Be sure that you both always do.”

When automobiles went by,
the dust hid the people’s faces,
but we shouted “Good day! Good day!
Fine day!” at the top of our voices.

When we came to Hustler Hill,
he said that the mare was tired,
so we all got down and walked,
as our good manners required.

 

Ut Questions of Travel, 1965

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