Marta Pessarrodona
LA IL·LUSTRACIÓ POÈTICA METROPOLITANA & CONTINENTAL
Plurilingual Anthology of Catalan Poetry
English

 
Marta Pessarrodona
(Terrassa, 1941)


AIMING AT SARAH BERNHARDT
BERLIN: JANUARY 1929
SPRINGTIME

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AIMING AT SARAH BERNHARDT



Youíve made some good appearances,
touched off maddening applause
and brought tears to so many eyes
that were eager to covet you.

Many times, however, youíve forgotten
that you didnít have a large theater
but just the same old daily stage
(that of living one day after the next).

At times, however, you havenít realized
that there was no audience,
that it wasnít opening night
and the stalls and boxes werenít full.

Youíve had the zeal of a leading lady
but rehearsals have worn you out,
and you have shied away from roles
where you had to speak up for yourself.

Alas!, youíve forgotten so many times
that others had minor roles
and, in certain acts, they also had the ability
as well as the skill to perform parts in the drama.
 



Translated by D. Sam Abrams
Five Poets, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988

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BERLIN: JANUARY 1929




Vita set aside
her translations of Rilke.
The telephone was Moabit 37-94,
and Friedrichstrasse station, journeyís end.

One afternoon, at the Funkturm,
alone on their first and last brief escape,
Vita made her understand
how short-lived human passions are.

The rather spirited conversation
and the pulse of such high-tension souls
managed to silence
the lethal human tide.
(The future bombs
didnít cast a gloom over the afternoon at all.)

24 Brüken Allee, an address,
today a companion to ghosts
from old-time embassies:
the city hadnít been split.

Virginia returned to London
a week later, ill.
Vita began to feel that
Leidenschaft was a very strange
compound noun.

Actually, neither of the two
had the least inkling
of disasterís rhetoric.
 


Translated by D. Sam Abrams
Five Poets, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988

Ě


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 

SPRINGTIME
 
We feel so much
like dying when everything
around us
is eager to come to life.

You see, the same as usual:
we donít know since when,
nor since what sorrow.

(Cíest cette manque de tendre
and the lethal fear of reproach:
to leave the image unobscured.)

I donít know if a dove will greet you
from a window sill in the morning;
nor who will do what in memory of me.

We feel so much
like dying when everything
around us
is eager to come to life.
 


Translated by D. Sam Abrams
Five Poets, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988

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