Cannon Magazine / The Last Books, Amsterdam, has just announced that my translation of Peter Handke’s long poem To Duration will be published in December. 48 pages. Click HERE to pre-order the book.
And here a foretaste:
. . .
Duration cannot be relied on:
not even the pious
who attend mass daily,
not even the patient, the masters of waiting,
not even the loyal
who will always, steadfastly, be yours,
can be assured of its lifelong presence.
I know, perhaps,
that it becomes possible only
when I am able
to stay at my task
and to be vigilant at it,
presence of mind to the tips of my fingers.
And what is the task
that demands my persistence?
It will manifest itself
in affection for the living
– for one of them –
and in the awareness of an attachment
(even if only imagined).
This task, it is not large,
not special, not unusual, not superhuman,
not war, not a landing on the moon,
not discovery, not the work of a century,
not the scaling of a peak, not a kamikaze flight:
I share it with millions,
and with my neighbour as well as
with the dwellers at the ends of the earth
where, through a common task,
a world-centre arises identical
to my own.
Yes, this task from which, over the years, duration springs,
it is fundamentally inconspicuous,
not worth talking about
but worth holding on to through writing:
for it must be my main task.
It must be my true love.
And I must,
if the moments of duration are to spring from me
and give my stiff face a form
and insert a heart into my empty breast,
practice, year in and year out,