Gwen Harwood and Abelard (2)

The second treatments of the Eloisa and Abelard story written by Australian poet Gwen Harwood and published in 1961 under the male pseudonym of Walter Lehmann is ‘Abelard to Eloisa.’ (The first was ‘Eloisa to Abelard’ : see here)

Now it is Abelard ‘s turn to speak and he addresses passionate words of love and death to his beloved Eloisa. Although the author later defined the lyric as rubbish, since it was written only for demonstrating the incapability of the editors, the effect is anything but poor.

In this poem the irreverent acrostic spells out: “FUCK ALL EDITORS”: that Bulletin issue was withdrawn and pulped, but it was too late

Abelard to Eloisa

Far above memory’s landscape let the fears
unlatched from thundering valleys of your mind
carry their lightning. Stare the sun up. Find
kinetic heat to scorch your mist of tears.

All that vision limned by night appears
loose in dismembering air: think yourself blind.
Louder than death in headlines the unkind
elements hawk my passion: stop your ears.

Deny me now. Be Doubting Thomas. Thrust
into my side the finger of your grief.
Tell me I am an apparition frayed
out of the tattered winding-sheet of lust.
Recall no ghost of love. Let no belief
summon me, fleshed and bleeding, from the shade.

Abelardo a Eloisa

Molto al di sopra del paesaggio della memoria lascia che le paure
scatenate dalle valli tonanti della mente
trasportino i loro fulmini. Osserva il sole lassù. Trova
il calore cinetico e brucia la tua cortina di lacrime.

Tutta la visione dipinta dalla notte par
sciogliersi nell’aria disgregante: pensati cieca.
Più forte della morte nei titoli di giornale, gli elementi
crudeli urlano la mia passione: tappati le orecchie.

Rinnegami adesso. Sii incredula come Tommaso. Spingi
nel mio costato il dito del tuo dolore.
Dimmi che sono un’apparizione sfilacciata
strappata dal sudario della lussuria.
Non ricordare nessun fantasma d’amore. Non lasciare che una fede
mi richiami, in carne e sangue, dall’ombra.
(L.Z.)

Image: Léon-Marie-Joseph Billardet (1841), Abelard Instructing Heloise.

33 thoughts on “Gwen Harwood and Abelard (2)

  1. Grazie Luisa per questa bella e armonica traduzione e grazie per aver messo in evidenza cosa l’autrice ha voluto denunciare, celandola sotto versi d’amore. Questo che hai narrato mi fa molto piacere anche se non sono donna perché anch’io scrivo versi che suonano “FUCK ALL EDITORS”.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s