Elizabeth Bishop, Fiifheech

 
Fiifheech

Tsjuster noch.
De ûnbekende fûgel sit op syn fêste tûke.
It hûntsje fan hjirnêst blaft hifkjend
yn syn sliep, ien kear mar.
Faaks ek yn syn sliep, trillerjend,
hifket de fûgel ien of twa kear.
Fragen – as it dat binne –
dêr’t fuort en sljocht beskie op komt
fan de dei sels.

Unbidige moarn, plomp, stipt;
skier ljocht tekenet elke keale tûke,
elk ôfsûnderlik twiichje lâns ien kant ôf
en skept in twadde beam, fan glêzen nerven...
De fûgel sit der noch. Hy liket no te gapjen.

It swarte hûntsje strúnt oer syn hiem.
De stim fan syn baas klinkt strang op:
‘Do moatst dy skamje!’
Wat hat er dien?
Hy springt blier op en del,
giselet yn rûntsjes yn de fallen blêden.

Hy hat dúdlik gjin skamtegefoel.
Hy en de fûgel witte, alles is antwurd op jûn,
oeral is foar soarge,
nochris hifkje hoecht net.
– Juster sa licht nei hjoed brocht!
(In juster dat ik suver net te tillen fyn.)

 

Five Flights Up

Still dark.
The unknown bird sits on his usual branch.
The little dog next door barks in his sleep
inquiringly, just once.
Perhaps in his sleep, too, the bird inquires
once or twice, quavering.
Questions—if that is what they are—
answered directly, simply,
by day itself.

Enormous morning, ponderous, meticulous;
gray light streaking each bare branch,
each single twig, along one side,
making another tree, of glassy veins . . .
The bird still sits there. Now he seems to yawn.

The little black dog runs in his yard.
His owner’s voice arises, stern,
“You ought to be ashamed!”
What has he done?
He bounces cheerfully up and down;
he rushes in circles in the fallen leaves.

Obviously, he has no sense of shame.
He and the bird know everything is answered,
all taken care of,
no need to ask again.
—Yesterday brought to today so lightly!
(A yesterday I find almost impossible to lift.)

 

Ut Geography III, 1976. YouTube: ‘Five Flights Up’, foardroegen troch Elizabeth Bishop sels, 1974.

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