Tuesday, 10 March 2009

lithograph

Sjón (Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson)

lithograph

marie curie and edvard munch were in paris at the same time

munch was interested in new discoveries and went to visit
the curies’ research laboratory on rue lhomond in the 5me arrondissement

marie was alone there and showed the painter how she and pierre
were wrestling with radium and finally gave him afternoon tea

in the lithograph munch sent her as a thank you present
the woman scientist sits among the equipment with her hand under her cheek

the angle of vision is oblique and in the bottom right hand corner you can see
the back of pierre’s neck as he sits at his desk writing in a book

marie curie looks into the light and has the same hairstyle as
edvard munch’s sister in the painting “death in the sickroom”

the picture has been lost – to dream it foretells the dreamer’s death


steinþrykk

marie curie og edvard munch voru samtíða í parísarborg

munch var forvitinn um nýjar uppgötvanir og fór í heimsókn
á tilraunastofu curie-hjónanna við rue lhomond í 5ta hverfi

marie var enn heima og sýndi listamanninum hvernig þau pierre
glímdu við radíumið en að því loknu bauð hún upp á siðdegiste

á steinþrykksmyndinni sem munch sendi henni í pakkarskyni
situr vísindakonan innan um tækjakostinn með hönd undir kinn

sjónarhornið er gleitt og í neðra horninu hægra megin sést í
hnakkann á pierre sem stendur við púlt og skrifar í bók

marie curie horfir mót ljósinu og er með sömu hárgreiðslu og
systir edvards munch á málverkinu „dauðinn við sjúkrabeðinn“

myndin er týnd – að dreyma hana boðar dreymandanum feigð



Translated from Icelandic by David McDuff

2 comments:

  1. A strange, dead-pan poem. Is it a true story, or a Sjón fiction? Munch did a lot of painting from photos, evidently.

    Sjón himself seemed a little dead-pan when he read a section out from his novel "The Blue Fox" last year at the Nordic Translation Conference, followed by the same passage read by the translator of that novel, Vicky Cribb.

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  2. I believe it's a fiction. But Munch and the Curies were in Paris at the same time.

    The Icelandic word "feigð" is very hard to find an equivalent for in English. To be "feigur" is to have the shadow of death hanging over one - to be almost dead, in fact.

    While Vicky Cribb has translated some of Sjón's prose, Sjón himself tells me that she will not agree to translate his poems. That task is one that seems to have fallen to yours truly, and there are now nearly enough translations for a book. Bloodaxe are at present "considering".

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