Quinta-feira, 20 de Fevereiro de 2014

Nas horas que me pertencem


18 Professional Sickness
I imagine that for a poet auditory haliucinations are some­thing in the nature of an occupational disease.
As many poets have said - Akhmatova (in 'Poem Without a Hero') and M. among them- a poem begins with a musical phrase ringing insistently in the ears; at first inchoate, it later takes on a precise form, though still without words. I sometimes saw M. trying to get rid of this kind of 'hum', to brush it off and escape from it. He would toss bis head as though it could be shaken out like a drop of water that gets into your ear while bathing. But it was always louder than any noise, radio or conversation in te same room.
Akhmatova told me that when ‘Poem Without a Hero' came to her, she was ready to try anything just to get rid of it, even rushing to do her washing. But nothing helped. At some point words formed behind the musical pbrase and then the lips began te move. The work of a poet has prob­ably something in common with that of a composer, and the appearance of words is the crucial factor that distin­guishes it from musical composition. The 'hum' sometirnes carne to M. in his sleep, but he could never remember it on waking. I have a feeling that verse exists before it is com­posed (M. never talked of 'writing' verse, only of 'composing' it and then copying it out). The whole process of composi­tion is one of straining to catch and record something compounded of harmony and sense as it is relayed from an unknown source and gradually forms itself into words. The last stage of the work consists in ridding the poem of all the words foreign to the harmonlous whole which existed before the poem arose. Such words slip in by chance, being used to fill gaps during the emergence of the whole. They become lodged in the body of the poem, and removing them is hard work. This final stage is a painful process of listening in to oneseif in a search for the objective and absolutely precise unity called a 'poem'. In his poem 'Save My Speech', the last adjective to come was 'painstaking' (in 'the painstaking tar of hard work'). M. complained that he needed something more precise and spare here, in the manner of Akhmatova: 'She knows how to do it.' He seemed to be waiting for her help.
I noticed that in his work on a poem there were two points at which he would sigb with relief - when the first words in a une or stanza came to him, and when the last of the foreign bodies was driven out by the right word. Only then is there an end to the process of listening in to oneself - the same process that can prepare the way for a disturbance of the inner hearing and loss ef sanity. The poem now seems to fall away from te author and no longer torments him with its resonance. He is released from the thing that obsesses him. lo, the poor cow, escapes from te gadfly.
If the poem won't 'go away', M. said, ir means that there is something wrong with ir, or something 'still hidden in it'- a last fruitful bud from which a new shoot might sprout. In other words, the work is not finished. Whenever M.'s 'inner voice' ceased, he was always very eager to read the new poem to someone. I wasn't enough for this: I witnessed his troes at such dose quarters that M. always thought I must also be able to hear the 'hum'. He even reproached me sometimes for not having caught part of it. In his Iast Voronezh period (when he wrote the verse in his Second and Third Note­books) we went round to Natasha Shtempel, or invited Fedia Marants, an agronomist of the utmost charra and integrity who in his youth had studied to be a violinist but had had to give it up when he damaged his hand in an accident. Fedia had some of the inner harmony which comes to people who listen to music, and though this was his first en­counter with poetry, his musical sense made him a better judge than many a specialist would have been.


Hope Against Hope de Nadezhda Mandelstam, trad. Max Hayword, Penguin

publicado por C. às 13:38
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