Elizabeth Bishop, Earste deade yn Nova Scotia

 
Earste deade yn Nova Scotia

Yn de kâlde, kâlde pronkkeamer
bierde myn mem Arthur op
ûnder de gromolito’s: Edward,
prins fan Wales, mei prinsesse
Alexandra, en kening George
mei keninginne Mary.
Op de tafel ûnder harren
stie in opsette iisdûker,
sketten en opset troch Omke
Arthur, Arthur syn heit.

Sûnt Omke Arthur
in kûgel yn him jage hie,
hie er gjin wurd mear sein.
Hy oerlei mei himsels
op syn wite, beferzen mar,
de tafel mei it moarmeren blêd.
Syn boarst, breed en wyt,
wie kâld en aaiber;
syn eagen wienen read glês,
eat om te begearen.

‘Kom mar’, sei mem,
‘Kom en nim ôfskie
fan dyn neefke Arthur.’
Ik waard optild en krige
fan mem ien maaieklokje
om Arthur yn syn hân te dwaan.
Arthur syn kiste wie
in lyts glasearre gebakje,
en fan syn wite, beferzen mar ôf
eage de readeagige fûgel it oer.

Arthur wie o sa lyts.
Hy wie hielendal wyt, as in pop
dy’t noch net beskildere wie.
Kening Winter wie út ein set mei
him op te fervjen, sa’t er altyd die
mei it Eskdoarnblêd (Foar Ivich).
Hy wie krekt begûn mei syn hier,
in pear reade fegen, en doe
hie Kening Winter syn kwaste dellein
en him wyt litten, foar ivich.

De minsume keninklike pearen
wienen waarm yn read en harmelyn,
mei de fuotten goed bewuolle
yn de slepen fan de dames.
Sy nûgen Arthur út, hy mocht
de lytste paazje wurde oan it hôf.
Mar hoe koe Arthur dêr no hinne,
syn skriele klokje yn in knûstke,
mei de eagen sa stiif ticht
en op de dyk in grou pak snie?

 

First Death in Nova Scotia

In the cold, cold parlor
my mother laid out Arthur
beneath the chromographs:
Edward, Prince of Wales,
with Princess Alexandra,
and King George with Queen Mary.
Below them on the table
stood a stuffed loon
shot and stuffed by Uncle
Arthur, Arthur’s father.

Since Uncle Arthur fired
a bullet into him,
he hadn’t said a word.
He kept his own counsel
on his white, frozen lake,
the marble-topped table.
His breast was deep and white,
cold and caressable;
his eyes were red glass,
much to be desired.

“Come,” said my mother,
“Come and say good-bye
to your little cousin Arthur.”
I was lifted up and given
one lily of the valley
to put in Arthur’s hand.
Arthur’s coffin was
a little frosted cake,
and the red-eyed loon eyed it
from his white, frozen lake.

Arthur was very small.
He was all white, like a doll
that hadn’t been painted yet.
Jack Frost had started to paint him
the way he always painted
the Maple Leaf (Forever).
He had just begun on his hair,
a few red strokes, and then
Jack Frost had dropped the brush
and left him white, forever.

The gracious royal couples
were warm in red and ermine;
their feet were well wrapped up
in the ladies’ ermine trains.
They invited Arthur to be
the smallest page at court.
But how could Arthur go,
clutching his tiny lily,
with his eyes shut up so tight
and the roads deep in snow?

 

Ut Questions of Travel, 1965. Nova Scotia is in kustprovinsje yn it easten fan Kanada. Bishop, berne yn 1911, brocht dêr in part fan har bernejierren troch. George V wie yn 1910–1936 kening fan it Feriene Keninkryk en dêrmei ek fan Kanada, dat diel útmakket fan it Britske Mienebest. It blêd fan de maple (eskdoarn, beltsjebeam) is it bekendste symboal fan Kanada. It liet The Maple Leaf For Ever út 1867 jilde lange tiid as it ûnoffisjele Kanadeeske folksliet.

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