Transculturating for Wordliness / Verbe, monde et transculturation /

Stephanos Stephanides, « Transculturating for Wordliness », Transtext(e)s Transcultures 跨文本跨文化 [En ligne], 1 | 2006, mis en ligne le 13 septembre 2009, consulté le 06 mai 2016. URL : http://transtexts.revues.org/161 ; DOI : 10.4000/transtexts.161

English
French
Chinese (in PDF)


Transculturating for Wordliness

When I was a student in Britain many years ago, as a migrant out of language and out of place, a “Hellene” and a “post-colonial Cypriot”, I was troubled by the linear periodization of my literary studies, which led me from Beowulf to T.S. Eliot and left me asking myself where I belong – looking for the chance connections and turbulence that brought me into that classroom. In the too easy alignment of language, culture, and nation, I was always wanting to move sideward and across, above and below. While my comparatist impulse took me to Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian studies, I found the same linear periodization of Spain and Portugal and peripheralization of the extra-European space as I did in the study of English literature. Continue reading “Transculturating for Wordliness / Verbe, monde et transculturation /”

Rhapsody on a Dragoman (2012)

For Susan and Harish, υψίστοus διδασκάλους

English
Greek
Turkish


 

Part 1: Invisible in Daylight

I am a dragoman
courtesan of the word
I pluck my eyes to hear
with skill and improvisation
wor-l-ds of hard edges,
a treacherous and loyal
exponent of obsessions
not all men know my speech

in the night I go under
in company of dervishes and learn
why cyclamens sprout in pavement cracks
and mutter promises, amidst the dust,
of the beautiful and the unseen
I ask meaning for
fore give fore go fore play
an island warbler
still with no quarrel
or a swallow
in the line of flight
meandering with finality
knowing that the road is lost
in floating debris
of fortuitous choices
precipitous moves

with impulsive sagacity
I swirl and sail away
vexed in my state of grace
daytime dragoman
nighttime dervish

Part II: My Heart Takes on any Form

When hearts hum in the buzz
of morning light so bright it silences,
the lady arrived at the City Gate
and waited for the tarjuman
she had requested in a letter sent from Egypt,
someone versed in her language
to accompany her to the Sublime Porte.
Only I among the rayahs spoke her tongue
from that island in the northern sea.
Today, following my companion’s counsel
I shed my kufta and jubbeh,
and present myself with boyunbagi and waistcoat in a style
after the French.

I bow and before she presumes
to scrutinize the measure of my wisdom
If I am  a fool servant or a learned scholar
I do not climb  inside the carriage
I swiftly step up to the box instead and take my seat
next to the driver while I instruct the porter boy
if he receive bakshish to say “thank you” as her kind expect,
and reveal neither gratitude nor displeasure;
she need not know our measure of her generosity,
only count the day’s profit within our own walls;
we do not know
if she desires the sweetness of  the sultanina grape
or some other island sweetness.
When heaven wants to speak
it needs few words
to open gateways here, there, and elsewhere.
Trees grow in silence
as do the date-palms lining the river
inside the city wall.

Along the path of Hermes
the wind will track the language down
as we track the dust of love
in the mausoleum smell of mourning
jasmine turning putrid.

When the evening drops stealthily
I will retire to the Dragoman’s house
where hot stone will transform my body to vapory waters
absorbing the contours of the cypress
with long shadows of night in a crimson trance
penetrating the skylight of the hamam
yearning neither joy nor melancholy.
Time to appease my traveling consciousness.
On the divan I will translate  for my companions
Verses of the Tarjuman al-ashwaq of Ibn Arabi
My heart takes on any form …

Nicosia 2012


Ραψωδία του Δραγομάνου

Μέρος 1: Στης Μέρας το Φως Αόρατος

Είμαι ένας δραγομάνος
Εταίρα της λέξης
Αρπίζω τα μάτια μου για να ακούω
Με δεξιοτεχνία και αυτοσχεδιασμό
Κόσμους ακατέργαστων άκρων,
Ένας δόλιος μα πιστός
μάστορας εμμονών
δεν τη γνωρίζουν όλοι τη λαλιά μου

μέσα στη νύχτα βυθίζομαι
με τη συντροφιά δερβίσηδων και μαθαίνω
γιατί τα κυκλάμινα φυτρώνουν στις σχισμές των πεζοδρομίων
και μουρμουρώ υποσχέσεις, στη σκόνη μέσα
του όμορφου και του αφανούς
ζητώ το νόημα
της συγχώρεσης της παραίτησης της ερωτοτροπίας
ένας συκοφάγος του νησιού
χωρίς έριδες ακόμη
ή ένα χελιδόνι
στη γραμμή φυγής
διαγράφοντας μαιάνδρους προς τ’ αμετάκλητο
γνωρίζοντας πως ο δρόμος είναι ήδη χαμένος
μέσα σε αιωρούμενα συντρίμμια
τυχαίων επιλογών
απότομων κινήσεων

με αυθόρμητη οξύνεια
στροβιλίζομαι και σαλπάρω
οργισμένος μέσα στην κατάσταση χάριτος μου
δραγομάνος τη μέρα
τη νύχτα δερβίσης

Translated by Philippos Philippou and Yiorgos Floros, 2012

Μέρος ΙΙ: Κάθε λογής μορφή ενδύεται η καρδιά μου

Την ώρα που βουίζουν οι καρδιές σε αχό
αυγής τόσο λαμπρής που σιωπή σκορπίζει,
αφίχθηκε η κυρά στης Πόλης μας την Πύλη
κι εκεί περίμενε να φτάσει ο tarjuman
που είχε παραγγείλει σ’ επιστολή από Αίγυπτο σταλμένη,
κάποιον δαήμονα στη γλώσσα της
να τηνε συνοδεύσει ως την Μεγάλη Πόρτα.
Μονάχα εγώ απ’ τους ραγιάδες τη γλώσσα της μιλούσα
γλώσσα απ’ εκείνο το νησί της βόρειας θάλασσας.
Σήμερις, ορμήνια του συντρόφου μου ’κλουθάω
κι απεκδύομαι καφτάνι και τζουμπέ
και βάζω boyunbagi με γιλέκο καταπώς
οι Φράγκοι συνηθίζουν.

Σκύβω και πριν εκείνη πάρει θάρρος
να περιεργαστεί το μέτρο της σοφίας μου
αν είμαι δούλος άμυαλος ή λόγιος μορφωμένος
παρά να μπω στην άμαξα επιδέξια ανεβαίνω
και κάθομαι στου αμαξηλάτη το πλευρό
ενώ ορμηνεύω τον αμούστακο χαμάλη,
μπαξίσι αν πάρει να πει “thank you” όπως προσμένει η φάρα της,
δίχως να δείξει ούτε χολή μα ούτε ευγνωμοσύνη.
Δεν είναι ανάγκη εκείνη να γνωρίζει πώς την μετράμε εμείς την ανοιχτοχεριά
παρά μονάχα να μετρά το ημερήσιο κέρδος μες στα δικά μας τείχη.
Δεν ξέρουμε
αν λαχταρά γλύκα της σουλτανίνας
ή κάποιαν άλλη γλύκα του νησιού.
Όταν το θέλει να μιλήσει ο ουρανός
μπορεί με λόγια λιγοστά
να ανοίξει εξώθυρες εδώ, εκεί κι απανταχού.
Τα δέντρα μεγαλώνουν στη σιωπή
όπως οι χουρμαδιές στου ποταμού τις όχθες
στης πόλης των τειχών εντός.

Στο διάβα του Ερμή
θα ιχνηλατήσει ο άνεμος τη γλώσσα
όπως ιχνηλατούμε εμείς τη σκόνη της αγάπης
στου  μαυσωλείου τη μυρωδιά
του μουχλιασμένου γιασεμιού του πένθους.

Σαν σουρουπώσει στα κλεφτά
θ’ αποσυρθώ στου Δραγομάνου την εστία όπου
λίθοι θερμοί το σώμα μου θα στρέψουν σ’ υδρατμούς
που απορροφούν κυπαρισσιού περίγραμμα
με υψιτενείς σκιές της νύχτας σ’ έξαρση πορφυρένια
διεισδύουν μέσα από τον φεγγίτη στο χαμάμ
και δεν ποθούν μήτε χαρά μήτε μελαγχολία.
Ώρα να κατευνάσω συνείδηση αποδημητική μου.
Στο ντιβάνι θα μεταφράσω για τους συντρόφους μου
στίχους  απ’ το Tarjuman al-ashwaq του  Ίμπν Αραμπί.
Κάθε λογής μορφή ενδύεται η καρδιά μου…

Λευκωσία, 2012
Μετάφραση: Δέσποινα Πυρκεττή


 

Part 1: Gün Işığında Görünmez

bir tercümanım ben
kelimelerin nüfuzlu fahişesiyim
gözlerimi çıkartıyorum duymak için
yetenekle ve doğaçlama
keskin kenarlı dün-ya-lan,
kalleş ve sadık
saplantılar yandaşıyım
herkes bilmez dilimi

geceleri kendimden geçiyorum
dervişler eşliğinde ve öğreniyorum
siklamenlerin neden kaldırımların çatlaklarında büyüdüğünü
ve vaatler mirildanıyorum, tozlar ortasında
güzel olanlardan ve görünmezlerden
anlamlannı soruyorum
bağış lamanin, vaz geçmenin ve ön sevişmenin
bir ada çaibülbülü
hala kavgasız
ya da bir kırlangıç
uçuş hattında
yolun kaybolduğunu bilerek
katiyetle dolanan
suda yüzen döküntüler arasında
tesadüfı seçimlerin
aceleci hareketlerin

Atılgan bir bilgelikle
Döne döne seyrediyorum uzaklara
İnayetimde kızgın
Gündüzleri tercüman
Geceleri derviş

Turkish translation edited by Aydın Mehmet Alı, 2012

Part II: Her şekle girebilir artık kalbim

Parlak sabah ışığının susturduğu
uğultu içinde mırıldandığı zaman yürekler,
Şehrin Kapısına varır kadın
ve tercümanı bekler
Mısır’dan gönderdiği mektupla talep ettiği,
kendi dilini bilen biri
eşlik etsin diye Babıali’yle görüşmesine.
Reaya arasında sadece ben biliyorum onun dilini
kuzey denizindeki o adada konuşulan.
Onun tavsiyesine uyup bu gün
çıkarıp attım kaftan ile cübbeyi,
Fransızların tarzında, boyunbağı
ve yelekle arz-ı endam ettim.

Eğildim ve bilgeliğimi ölçmeye
yeltenmeden daha o
aptal bir uşak, yoksa bilgili bir alim miyim
araba vagonuna oturmak yerine
hızla tırmanıp yerimi aldım sürücünün yanında
ve talimat verdim kapıcı oğlana
bahşiş alırsa “thank you” desin, bekleyeceği gibi kadının,
ne minnet ne de memnuniyetsizlik göstermesin diye.
Bilmesi gerekmiyor cömertliğinin bizdeki ölçüsünü
sadece günün karı olarak kabul etsin verdiğini duvarlarımız içinde;
Bilmiyoruz
sultani üzümlerin tatlılığını çeker mi canı
veya adanın başka lezzetlerini?
Konuşmak istediğinde gök
birkaç sözcük ister sadece
geçit açmak için burda, orda veya başka yere.
Sessizce büyür ağaçlar,
nehir kenarına sıralı hurmaların büyüdüğü gibi
şehrin duvarları içinde.

Hermes’in patikaları boyunca
dilin izini sürecek rüzgar
aşk tozlarının izini sürdüğümüz gibi
sabahın türbe kokusunda,
çürüyen yasemin kokusunda.

Sinsice inerken akşam
Dragoman’in evine çekileceğim
selvi ağacının dış çizgisini emen
sıcak taşlar buharlı sulara dönüştürecek bedenimi,
kendinden geçen kızıl gecenin uzun gölgeleriyle
hamam kubbesinin pencerelerinden giren
ne neşeye ne de hüzüne hasret duyan.
Gezgin bilincimi yatıştırma saati geldi.
Divana uzanıp, İbn Arabi’nin
Tarjuman al-ashwaq kitabından şiirler tercüme edeceğim
Her şekle girebilir artık kalbim…

Lefkoşa 2012
Çev.  Gür Genç


PDF here.
Part 1 of “Rhapsody on a Dragoman” along with its Greek and Turkish translations appeared in the book Cyprus Tracing the Non-Visible, edited by Achilleas Kentonis and Maria Papacharalambous and published by the European Commission.

The Wind Under My Lips

 

 

The Wind Under My Lips is the working title a memory novel or memory fiction that I have been writing and publishing in fragments.  The first fragment was published in the Cyprus literary journal Cadences with the title ‘The Wind Under My Lips ’ (2009), and subsequently bilingually with a Greek translation by Despina Pirketti in the volume Our Fathers, compiled and designed by photographer Menelaos Pittas.  The second fragment was entitled ‘Winds Come From Somewhere’ in the journal Kunapipi (2011). The third fragment was entitled ‘a litany in my slumber’ published in CounterText  (2015).

Stephanides, Stephanos.”The Wind Under My Lips.” Cadences: A Journal of Literature and the Arts, 5,. (2009) 102-111. Nicosia: European University Cyprus.

Stephanides, Stephanos.  “The Wind Under My Lips.” In Menelaos Pittas, Πατέρες Ημών /Our Fathers (2011). Nicosia: Ravdoskopos.

Stephanides, Stephanos. “Winds come from somewhere.” Kunapipi 33.1 (2011): 13.

Stephanides, Stephanos. “a litany in my slumber.” CounterText 1.1 (2015): 105–130.