My dear friend Steven Epperson read my translation of Peter Handke’s “To Duration” this morning while walking to work. Here his response:
To the reader of To Duration,
A recommendation: Read it out loud, on foot
under an overcast Monday morning sky
as you walk from home to work.
Be advised: you may find yourself weeping
In recognition of life fleeting, durable and deep.
He named it, wrote it, spoke it.
Thank you for bringing To Duration
To my tongue, my heart.
Go well, and thanks, Steven
Rev. Dr. Steven Epperson
Unitarian Church of Vancouver
溫哥華尋道會– Vancouver Xundaohui – “Seekers of the Way”
About Scott Abbott
I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
I am still reflecting on this poem, Scott. I think it is impossible to read without reading it right into one’s own life, in search of those places, those moments when I touch the experience of duration. And to wonder why I may have found it less of late.
Joe, I wonder the same thing about my life in my 66th year. And then when the moments come they overwhelm me with double the power since they are rarer.