Saturday, December 13, 2008

People are a problem

"The major problem - one of the major problems, for there are several - one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.

"To summarize: it is a well known fact, that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

"And so this is the situation we find: a succession of Galactic Presidents who so much enjoy the fun and palaver of being in power that they very rarely notice that they're not.

"And somewhere in the shadows behind them - who?

"Who can possibly rule if no one who wants to do it can be allowed to?"

Chapter 28 of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Behind her eyes

I am contemplating Nicole,
she is having a break,
a cup of tea on her hands.

She is looking at an undetermined point in front of her.
The head bows while worlds seem to be created,
in her thoughts.

Wisdom is growing inside her.
Behind those eyes, in that silence,
there is a life, older than her.

She is the woman that has no smile
or the most beautiful smile.

She finishes her break.
Stands up and gives a cold-looking to the world.
The same world she is kissing inside her heart.

No te salves / Don't save yourself

by Mario Benedetti

No te quedes inmóvil
al borde del camino

no congeles el júbilo
no quieras con desgana
no te salves
ahora ni nunca
no te salves

no te llenes de calma

no reserves del mundo
sólo un rincón tranquilo

no dejes caer los párpados
pesados como juicios

no te quedes sin labios
no te duermas sin sueño
no te pienses sin sangre
no te juzgues sin tiempo

pero si pese a todo
no puedes evitarlo
y congelas el júbilo
y quieres con desgana

y te salvas ahora
y te llenas de calma

y reservas del mundo
sólo un rincón tranquilo

y dejas caer los párpados
pesados como juicios

y te secas sin labios
y te duermes sin sueño
y te piensas sin sangre
y te juzgas sin tiempo

y te quedas inmóvil
al borde del camino

y te salvas
no te quedes conmigo

Don´t be immobile
on the edge of the road

Don't freeze the joy
Don't love with reluctance
Don't save yourself
now or ever
Don't save yourself

Don't fill yourself with calm

Don't reserve in the world
just a calm place

Don't let fall your eyelids
heavy as judgments

Don´t speak without lips
Don't fall asleep without sleepiness
Don't think of you without blood
Don't judge yourself without time

But if in spite of everything
you cannot avoid it
And you freeze the joy
And you love with reluctance

And you save yourself now
And you fill yourself with calm

And you reserve in the world
just a calm place,

And you let fall your eyelids
heavy as judgments

And you speak without lips
And you fall asleep without sleepiness
And you think of yourself without blood
And you judge yourself without time

And you are immobile
on the edge of the road,

And you save yourself
Don't stay with me

Translation by Latinbabygirl/myself.

Miłość od pierwszego wejrzenia / Love at the first sight / L'amour au premier regard

by Szymborska Wisława

Oboje są przekonani,

że połączyło ich uczucie nagłe.

Piękna jest taka pewność,
ale niepewność jest piękniejsza.

Sądzą, że skoro nie
znali się
nic miedy nimi nigdy się nie działo.

A co na to ulice, schody, korytarze,

na których mogli się od dawna mijać?

Chciałabym ich zapytać,
czy nie
pamietają -
może w drzwiach obrotowych

kiedyś twarzą w twarz?
jakieś ,,przepraszam\'\' w ścisku?
głos ,,pomyłka\'\' w słuchawce?

- ale znam ich odpowiedź.

Nie, nie pamietają.

Bardzo by ich zdziwiło,
że od
dłuższego już czasu
bawił się nimi przypadek.

Jeszcze nie całkiem gotów
zamienić się
dla nich w los,
zbliżał ich i oddalał,
zabiegał im droge
i tłumiąc
odskakiwał w bok.

Były znaki, sygnały,
cóż z tego, że

Może trzy lata temu
albo w zeszły wtorek
listek przefrunął
z ramienia na ramię?
Było coś zgubionego i podniesionego.

Kto wie, czy już nie piłka
w zaroślach dzieciństwa?
Były klamki i dzwonki,
na których
dotyk kladł się na dotyk.

Walizki obok siebie w przechowalni.
Był może pewnej nocy jednakowy sen,
natychmiast po zbudzeniu zamazany.

Każdy przecież początek
to tylko ciąg
a księga zdarzeń
zawsze otwarta w połowie.

They both thought
that a sudden feeling had united them
This certainty is beautiful,
Even more beautiful than uncertainty.

They thought they didn't know each other,
nothing had ever happened between them,
These streets, these stairs, this corridors,
Where they could have met so long ago?

I would like to ask them,
if they can remember -
perhaps in a revolving door
face to face one day?
A "sorry" in the crowd?
"Wrong number" on the 'phone?
- but I know the answer.
No, they don't remember.

How surprised they would be
For such a long time already
Fate has been playing with them.

Not quite yet ready
to change into destiny,
which brings them nearer and yet further,
cutting their path
and stifling a laugh,
escaping ever further;
There were sings, indications,
undecipherable, what does in matter.
Three years ago, perhaps
or even last Tuesday,
this leaf flying
from one shoulder to another?
Something lost and gathered.
Who knows, perhaps a ball already
in the bushes, in childhood?

There were handles, door bells,
where, on the trace of a hand,
another hand was placed;
suitcases next to one another in the
left luggage.
And maybe one night the same dream
forgotten on walking;

But every beginning
is only a continuation
and the book of fate is
always open in the middle.

Translation from Polish by Roman Gren
Translation from French by Sarah Hardenberg