20 jun. 2013

Three versions of insomnia

Goya, Capricho #43
А.С. Пушкин (Mосква 1799 - Санкт-Петербург, 1837)

Когда для смертного умолкнет шумный день,
         И на немые стогны града
Полупрозрачная наляжет ночи тень
         И сон, дневных трудов награда,
В то время для меня влачатся в тишине
         Часы томительного бденья:
В бесдействии ночном живей горят во мне
         Змеи сердечной угрызенья;
Мечты кипят, в уме подавленном тоской,
         Теснится тяжких дум избыток;
Воспоминание безмолвно предо мной
         Свой длинный развивает свиток;
И с отвращением читая жизнь мою,
         Я трепещу и проклинаю,
И горько жалуюсь, и горько слезы лью,
         Но строк печальных не смываю.

By A.S. Pushkin (Moscow, 1799 – Saint Petersburg, 1837)
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

When din of day for mortals softly ends
         And onto the mute city squares
The thin penumbra of the night descends
         With slumber, balm of daylong cares,
Then, in the still for me the hours wring
         Exhausting wakeful pains anew.
Searing in blank of night, the serpent's sting
         Venoms my heart with acid rue.
Black fancies seethe. An overflow of thought
         Aghast, builds in the angst-strained soul;
Remembrance wordlessly and out of naught
         Unwinds its long unholy scroll.
Then reading with disgust the writ of years
         I tremble, damn my every day,
Bawl bitter plaints, and bitterly shed tears
         But wipe not one sad line away.
(Thanks to Pat McGowan)

Insomnia, de Jorge Cadavid (Pamplona, 1962)
Published in Letras Libres.
El insomnio no tiene objeto ni sujeto, sino algo que tiene que ver con la conciencia que trabaja durante él. Es la angustia, la vigilancia. La mente se concentra y se reconoce en un punto eterno. Es la leche negra de la cabra nocturna de la que habla Rilke. El insomnio: conciencia de lo infinito que no termina jamás. Vigilia anónima. No soy yo quien vigila la noche; es la propia noche la que vela con los ojos abiertos.

Insomnia by Jorge Cadavid (Pamplona, 1962)
Translated by Jorge Salavert

Insomnia has neither an object nor a subject, but rather something that has to do with the awareness at work throughout. It is the agony, the watchfulness. Your mind focuses, acknowledging itself at an eternal point. It is the nocturnal goat’s black milk Rilke talked about. Insomnia: an awareness of the never-ending infinite. Anonymous wakefulness. It is not me who watches the night; it is night itself that stays awake, wide-eyed.

Sleepless, by Jorge Salavert (València, 1964)
First published in Hypallage.

Where will this insomnia take us tonight?
Will it show as lithe shadow, or as shade
of memories forgotten? As a tide
of seas uncharted, while city lights fade?

Even darkness does have something to hide.
Our fears, our dread, are always custom-made;
wakefulness unearths it all, the flight
and the vain search, the words we left unsaid.

Even if we had no sadness to behold,
there would be sufficient sleepless moments
to write, if not a book, at least an old

sonnet, or a song, lines for a poem,
words from pure grief, to treasure more than gold…
till the time we’re no more, when it all ends.

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