– Gjeterfunksjonen er sentral

Nate Klug er amerikansk poet og nybakt prest. I fjor ga han ut en knakende god liten bok som het Consent. Gjendiktninger fra den utgivelsen ble gjort av Steinar Obstad i siste nummer av tidsskriftet Bokvennen. Nå har Klug kommet med en ny utgivelse. Beijing Trondheim spurte kort om de praktiske ting rundt denne boka.

– Hvordan går det med nyboka?
– Den nye boka kommer ut denne uka på The Song Cave. Den heter Rude Woods, det er gjendiktninger fra Vergils Hyrdedikt.

– Hva med jobben? Kan denne boka relateres til arbeidet ditt på noen måte?
– Jeg er ferdig med studiene på Yale Divinity School og nå jobber jeg som protestantisk prest i Grinnell i Iowa. Boka har ikke noen direkte kobling til studiene mine, men det er en interessant kobling i dobbeltbetydningen av ordet «pastorale» – det er jo et mangetydig ord i engelskspråklig poesi. I kirken kan pastoral referere til et embete, som i «pastor». I poesi, kunst, osv., er «pastoral» en sjanger som behandler natur, landskap, beite, ensomhet. Gjeterfunksjonen er sentral i begge tradisjonene!

Vi byr på noen av Klugs dikt. Disse er hentet fra nonsite.org og Free Verse.


after Virgil, Aeneid 8

News comes from Latium
and now he has to decide; but thinking,
too quick for itself, splits as it starts,
it pours into one plan’s form
then jars and recombines, as if
to elaborate his fate from every angle
were to understand it:
so the light
held within a copper bowl
of water, shaking back the sun
or a moon’s glimmering particles,
will flit and work upon the walls
and crannies in an empty room,
rising to strike the ceiling, trembling,
though both water and bowl are still.

Against Epic

from Eclogue VI

Kings and complex battles–starting out,
I only liked a certain kind of song.
But then Apollo got me by the ear:
A shepherd should keep the flock fat
but his lines refined, like exquisite thread.
So now I woo a rustic muse on this compacted reed.
Don’t worry, General Varus, you’ll find plenty
of poets begging to construct your epics;
it’s simply that I no longer sing
what doesn’t simply come to me.

Once two shepherd boys stumbled
upon famous Silenus, splayed out in a cave
and snoring, his garlands discarded,
his two-handled drinking cup
still dangling from his fingers. They grabbed him
and tied him up with his own things–
for often the old man had teased them,
but they’d never gotten to hear him sing.
A nymph named Aegle showed up with mulberry juice
and rubbed it all over the poet’s face.
When Silenus woke and saw the trick, he laughed:
“But why keep me tied? You’ll get your songs,
and Aegle will get me whenever she wants.”

Then suddenly the great Silenus is singing.
You can see Fauns and fierce beasts
all keeping time, straight oaks
that can’t help shaking at the crown.
Nothing’s moved the woods like this since Orpheus.
For Silenus sang first of atoms–
seeds of the land, sea, and burning planets–
gathered dancing across the deep; sang how,
from these elements, everything would grow,
even this young orb called the earth,
spinning dry, hardening, until things slowly
owned their forms. The first sunrise stunned
the land, and the clouds, he sang,
now set above, apart, released their rain.
Pine forests started popping up.
Unaware of where they came from
or what they were, animals
rambled across the mountain ranges.

Silenus sang of causes and first things,
the stones that Pyrrha threw, Saturn’s reign;
how Prometheus ended up with fire,
the eagles that then fed upon his liver.
A song to comfort Pasiphae, relentless,
in love with a bull and doomed to wander.
A song to twirl bark and moss
around Phaeton’s sisters, turning them all
to weeping alders. A song recalling how Linus,
vatic shepherd, his hair arranged
with bitter parsley and flowers, inducted Gallus
into the order, “with these same reeds
the Muses gave Hesiod, whose songs lured
hard ash trees down from the mountains.”

And then the old story of Scylla,
monsters growling out of her bright groin
as she seized the Ithacan ship and made it shake
until, in the sea’s swirling depths,
her dogs had ripped apart each fallen sailor.
Or the legend of Philomela,
one day preparing for a wedding feast
then returned, horribly, a bird,
hovering above the roof of her old home.

Every kind of song that Apollo knows,
that the river Eurotas ordered its laurels to learn:
the valleys reverberate with them now.
And though the evening star–it was time
to drive in and count our sheep–
had begun to sweep through the reluctant sky,
Silenus could have kept singing.