2020년 노벨문학상 수상자로미국 시인이자 수필가 루이즈 글릭을 선정했다고 스웨덴 노벨 위원회가 발표했다.
글릭씨는 1996년 폴란드 작가 비스와바 심보르스카 이후 노벨문학상을 받은 첫 번째 여성 시인이며,
노벨 문학상 16번째 여성 수상자다.
1968년 첫 시집 ‘맏이’(Firstborn)를 낸 뒤, 1993년 퓰리처상을 받은 ‘야생 붓꽃’(Wild Iris)을 포함해
12권의 시집을 펴냈다. 2003년에는 12대 미국 계관시인이 됐다.
미국 여성 문학인이 노벨상을 받은 것은 지난 1993년 흑인 여성 소설가 토니 모리슨 이후 27년 만이다.
2016년에는 미국 싱어-송라이터 밥 딜런이 노벨 문학상 수상자로 선정되어서 떠들석하기도했다.
미국 문학을 대표하는 시인 글릭은 퓰리처상에 이어 2014년에는 미국 도서상을 받았다.
그리스 로마 신화 등을 폭넓게 활용해서 유년 시절과 가족사의 주제를 다루어서
그녀의 많은 작품들은 자서전 성격을 다분히 띄고 있다.
퓰리처상을 수상한 ‘야생 붓꽃’은 상실과 소외의 시대에 고통받는 많은 사람을 위로한 것으로
이미 평가 받았는데, 특히 요즘 코로나 바이러스로 고통받고 외로운 사람들에게
위로와 치유를 많은 독자들에게 선사해 주어서 다시 한번 주목받고 있었다.
그녀의 시는 평범한 언어를 사용해서, 명료하고 솔직하게 표현을 하는 동시에
그녀만의 유머와 다소 냉소적인 위트가 넘친 시로 잘 알려져 있다.
개인적으로 오래 전부터 그녀의 시를 참 좋아했는데,
올해 노벨 문학상 수상자로 선정되었다는 소식에 무척 내 일처럼 반가웠다.
그리고 오랜만에 책꽂이 구석에 꼽혀있던 그녀의 시집 4권 중에서
좋아하는 시 스무편을 무작위로 선정해서
그녀의 수상을 축하하는 마음으로 다시 한번 음미해 본다.
한글 번역은 시간이 허락하는대로 하나씩 시도해 봐야겠다.
오늘 가을 하늘과 가을 바람이 너무 좋아서 단단하게 차려 입고 대문을 나서서
2시간 정도 온 몸으로 기분좋게 쌩쌩 부는 바람을 맞으면서 걷다가
담은 사진과 함께 시를 소개합니다.
1. The Red Poppy
The great thing
is not having
a mind. Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me. I have
a lord in heaven
called the sun, and open
for him, showing him
the fire of my own heart, fire
like his presence.
What could such glory be
if not a heart? Oh my brothers and sisters,
were you like me once, long ago,
before you were human? Did you
to open once, who would never
open again? Because in truth
I am speaking now
the way you do. I speak
because I am shattered.
않은 점이지요. 감정들:
오, 나는 이것들은 가지고 있지요; 그것들이
한글 번역: Nancy Helen Kim©
(한글번역은 잠시 후 내립니다.)
2. Love Poem
There is always something to be made of pain.
Your mother knits.
She turns out scarves in every shade of red.
They were for Christmas, and they kept you warm
while she married over and over, taking you
along. How could it work,
when all those years she stored her widowed heart
as though the dead come back.
No wonder you are the way you are,
afraid of blood, your women
like one brick wall after another.
Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.
I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn't expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring--
afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy
in the raw wind of the new world
Is it winter again, is it cold again,
didn't Frank just slip on the ice,
didn't he heal, weren't the spring seeds planted
didn't the night end,
didn't the melting ice
flood the narrow gutters
wasn't my body
rescued, wasn't it safe
didn't the scar form, invisible
above the injury
terror and cold,
didn't they just end, wasn't the back garden
harrowed and planted-
I remember how the earth felt, red and dense,
in stiff rows, weren't the seeds planted,
didn't vines climb the south wall
I can't hear your voice
for the wind's cries, whistling over the bare ground
I no longer care
what sound it makes
when was I silenced, when did it first seem
pointless to describe that sound
what it sounds like can't change what it is-
didn't the night end, wasn't the earth
safe when it was planted
didn't we plant the seeds,
weren't we necessary to the earth,
the vines, were they harvested?
5. A Fable
Two women with
the same claim
came to the feet of
the wise king. Two women,
but only one baby.
The king knew
someone was lying.
What he said was
Let the child be
cut in half; that way
no one will go
drew his sword.
Then, of the two
renounced her share:
the sign, the lesson.
you saw your mother
torn between two daughters:
what could you do
to save her but be
willing to destroy
yourself—she would know
who was the rightful child,
the one who couldn't bear
to divide the mother.
To say I'm without fear--
It wouldn't be true.
I'm afraid of sickness, humiliation.
Like anyone, I have my dreams.
But I've learned to hide them,
To protect myself
From fulfillment: all happiness
Attracts the Fates' anger.
They are sisters, savages--
In the end they have
No emotion but envy.
In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.
8. The Garden
The garden admires you.
For your sake it smears itself with green pigment,
The ecstatic reds of the roses,
So that you will come to it with your lovers.
And the willows--
See how it has shaped these green
Tents of silence. Yet
There is still something you need,
Your body so soft, so alive, among the stone animals.
Admit that it is terrible to be like them,
Is that an attitude for a flower, to stand
like a club at the walk; poor slain boy,
is that a way to show
gratitude to the gods? White
with colored hearts, the tall flowers
sway around you, all the other boys,
in the cold spring, as the violets open.
There were no flowers in antiquity
but boys' bodies, pale, perfectly imagined.
So the gods sank to human shape with longing.
In the field, in the willow grove,
Apollo sent the courtiers away.
And from the blood of the wound
a flower sprang, lilylike, more brilliant
than the purples of Tyre.
Then the god wept: his vital grief
flooded the earth.
Beauty dies: that is the source
of creation. Outside the ring of trees
the courtiers could hear
the dove's call transmit
its uniform, its inborn sorrow—
They stood listening, among the rustling willows.
Was this the god's lament?
They listened carefully. And for a short time
all sound was sad.
There is no other immortality:
in the cold spring, the purple violets open.
And yet, the heart is black,
there is its violence frankly exposed.
Or is it not the heart at the center
but some other word?
And now someone is bending over them,
meaning to gather them—
They could not wait
in exile forever.
Through the glittering grove
the courtiers ran
calling the name
of their companion
over the birds' noise,
over the willows' aimless sadness.
Well into the night they wept,
their clear tears
altering no earthly color.
10. The Wild Iris
At the end of my suffering
there was a door.
Hear me out: that which you call death
Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.
It is terrible to survive
buried in the dark earth.
Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.
You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:
from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater.
11. The Night Migrations
This is the moment when you see again
the red berries of the mountain ash
and in the dark sky
the birds' night migrations.
It grieves me to think
the dead won't see them—
these things we depend on,
What will the soul do for solace then?
I tell myself maybe it won't need
these pleasures anymore;
maybe just not being is simply enough,
hard as that is to imagine.
12. The Past
Small light in the sky appearing
two pine boughs, their fine needles
now etched onto the radiant surface
and above this
high, feathery heaven—
Smell the air. That is the smell of the white pine,
most intense when the wind blows through it
and the sound it makes equally strange,
like the sound of the wind in a movie—
Shadows moving. The ropes
making the sound they make. What you hear now
will be the sound of the nightingale, Chordata,
the male bird courting the female—
The ropes shift. The hammock
sways in the wind, tied
firmly between two pine trees.
Smell the air. That is the smell of the white pine.
It is my mother’s voice you hear
or is it only the sound the trees make
when the air passes through them
because what sound would it make,
passing through nothing?
A child draws the outline of a body.
She draws what she can, but it is white all through,
she cannot fill in what she knows is there.
Within the unsupported line, she knows
that life is missing; she has cut
one background from another. Like a child,
she turns to her mother.
And you draw the heart
against the emptiness she has created.
Remember the days of our first happiness,
how strong we were, how dazed by passion,
lying all day, then all night in the narrow bed,
sleeping there, eating there too: it was summer,
it seemed everything had ripened
at once. And so hot we lay completely uncovered.
Sometimes the wind rose; a willow brushed the window.
But we were lost in a way, didn't you feel that?
The bed was like a raft; I felt us drifting
far from our natures, toward a place where we'd discover nothing.
First the sun, then the moon, in fragments,
stone through the willow.
Things anyone could see.
Then the circles closed. Slowly the nights grew cool;
the pendant leaves of the willow
yellowed and fell. And in each of us began
a deep isolation, though we never spoke of this,
of the absence of regret.
We were artists again, my husband.
We could resume the journey.
15. A Myth of Devotion
When Hades decided he loved this girl
he built for her a duplicate of earth,
everything the same, down to the meadow,
but with a bed added.
Everything the same, including sunlight,
because it would be hard on a young girl
to go so quickly from bright light to utter darkness
Gradually, he thought, he'd introduce the night,
first as the shadows of fluttering leaves.
Then moon, then stars. Then no moon, no stars.
Let Persephone get used to it slowly.
In the end, he thought, she'd find it comforting.
A replica of earth
except there was love here.
Doesn't everyone want love?
He waited many years,
building a world, watching
Persephone in the meadow.
Persephone, a smeller, a taster.
If you have one appetite, he thought,
you have them all.
Doesn't everyone want to feel in the night
the beloved body, compass, polestar,
to hear the quiet breathing that says
I am alive, that means also
you are alive, because you hear me,
you are here with me. And when one turns,
the other turns—
That's what he felt, the lord of darkness,
looking at the world he had
constructed for Persephone. It never crossed his mind
that there'd be no more smelling here,
certainly no more eating.
Guilt? Terror? The fear of love?
These things he couldn't imagine;
no lover ever imagines them.
He dreams, he wonders what to call this place.
First he thinks: The New Hell. Then: The Garden.
In the end, he decides to name it
A soft light rising above the level meadow,
behind the bed. He takes her in his arms.
He wants to say I love you, nothing can hurt you
but he thinks
this is a lie, so he says in the end
you're dead, nothing can hurt you
which seems to him
a more promising beginning, more true.
16. The White Lilies
As a man and woman make
a garden between them like
a bed of stars, here
they linger in the summer evening
and the evening turns
cold with their terror: it
could all end, it is capable
of devastation. All, all
can be lost, through scented air
the narrow columns
uselessly rising, and beyond,
a churning sea of poppies--
Hush, beloved. It doesn't matter to me
how many summers I live to return:
this one summer we have entered eternity.
I felt your two hands
bury me to release its splendor.
17. Penelope's Song
Little soul, little perpetually undressed one,
Do now as I bid you, climb
The shelf-like branches of the spruce tree;
Wait at the top, attentive, like
A sentry or look-out. He will be home soon;
It behooves you to be
Generous. You have not been completely
Perfect either; with your troublesome body
You have done things you shouldn't
Discuss in poems. Therefore
Call out to him over the open water, over the bright
With your dark song, with your grasping,
Like Maria Callas. Who
Wouldn't want you? Whose most demonic appetite
Could you possibly fail to answer? Soon
He will return from wherever he goes in the
Suntanned from his time away, wanting
His grilled chicken. Ah, you must greet him,
You must shake the boughs of the tree
To get his attention,
But carefully, carefully, lest
His beautiful face be marred
By too many falling needles.
Orange blossoms blowing over Castile
children begging for coins
I met my love under an orange tree
or was it an acacia tree
or was he not my love?
I read this, then I dreamed this:
can waking take back what happened to me?
Bells of San Miguel
ringing in the distance
his hair in the shadows blond-white
I dreamed this,
does that mean it didn't happen?
Does it have to happen in the world to be real?
I dreamed everything, the story
became my story:
he lay beside me,
my hand grazed the skin of his shoulder
Mid-day, then early evening:
in the distance, the sound of a train
But it was not the world:
in the world, a thing happens finally, absolutely,
the mind cannot reverse it.
Castile: nuns walking in pairs through the dark garden.
Outside the walls of the Holy Angels
children begging for coins
When I woke I was crying,
has that no reality?
I met my love under an orange tree:
I have forgotten
only the facts, not the inference—
there were children, somewhere, crying, begging for coins
I dreamed everything, I gave myself
completely and for all time
And the train returned us
first to Madrid
then to the Basque country
19. The Myth of Innocence
One summer she goes into the field as usual
stopping for a bit at the pool where she often
looks at herself, to see
if she detects any changes. She sees
the same person, the horrible mantle
of daughterliness still clinging to her.
The sun seems, in the water, very close.
That's my uncle spying again, she thinks—
everything in nature is in some way her relative.
I am never alone, she thinks,
turning the thought into a prayer.
Then death appears, like the answer to a prayer.
No one understands anymore
how beautiful he was. But Persephone remembers.
Also that he embraced her, right there,
with her uncle watching. She remembers
sunlight flashing on his bare arms.
This is the last moment she remembers clearly.
Then the dark god bore her away.
She also remembers, less clearly,
the chilling insight that from this moment
she couldn't live without him again.
The girl who disappears from the pool
will never return. A woman will return,
looking for the girl she was.
She stands by the pool saying, from time to time,
I was abducted, but it sounds
wrong to her, nothing like what she felt.
Then she says, I was not abducted.
Then she says, I offered myself, I wanted
to escape my body. Even, sometimes,
I willed this. But ignorance
cannot will knowledge. Ignorance
wills something imagined, which it believes exists.
All the different nouns—
she says them in rotation.
Death, husband, god, stranger.
Everything sounds so simple, so conventional.
I must have been, she thinks, a simple girl.
She can't remember herself as that person
but she keeps thinking the pool will remember
and explain to her the meaning of her prayer
so she can understand
whether it was answered or not.
20. Persephone the Wanderer
In the first version, Persephone
is taken from her mother
and the goddess of the earth
punishes the earth—this is
consistent with what we know of human behavior,
that human beings take profound satisfaction
in doing harm, particularly
we may call this
sojourn in hell continues to be
pawed over by scholars who dispute
the sensations of the virgin:
did she cooperate in her rape,
or was she drugged, violated against her will,
as happens so often now to modern girls.
As is well known, the return of the beloved
does not correct
the loss of the beloved: Persephone
stained with red juice like
a character in Hawthorne—
I am not certain I will
keep this word: is earth
"home" to Persephone? Is she at home, conceivably,
in the bed of the god? Is she
at home nowhere? Is she
a born wanderer, in other words
replica of her own mother, less
hamstrung by ideas of causality?
You are allowed to like
no one, you know. The characters
are not people.
They are aspects of a dilemma or conflict.
Three parts: just as the soul is divided,
ego, superego, id. Likewise
the three levels of the known world,
a kind of diagram that separates
heaven from earth from hell.
You must ask yourself:
where is it snowing?
White of forgetfulness,
It is snowing on earth; the cold wind says
Persephone is having sex in hell.
Unlike the rest of us, she doesn't know
what winter is, only that
she is what causes it.
She is lying in the bed of Hades.
What is in her mind?
Is she afraid? Has something
blotted out the idea
She does know the earth
is run by mothers, this much
is certain. She also knows
she is not what is called
a girl any longer. Regarding
incarceration, she believes
she has been a prisoner since she has been a daughter.
The terrible reunions in store for her
will take up the rest of her life.
When the passion for expiation
is chronic, fierce, you do not choose
the way you live. You do not live;
you are not allowed to die.
You drift between earth and death
which seem, finally,
strangely alike. Scholars tell us
that there is no point in knowing what you want
when the forces contending over you
could kill you.
White of forgetfulness,
white of safety—
there is a rift in the human soul
which was not constructed to belong
entirely to life. Earth
asks us to deny this rift, a threat
disguised as suggestion—
as we have seen
in the tale of Persephone
which should be read
as an argument between the mother and the lover—
the daughter is just meat.
When death confronts her, she has never seen
the meadow without the daisies.
Suddenly she is no longer
singing her maidenly songs
about her mother's
beauty and fecundity. Where
the rift is, the break is.
Song of the earth,
song of the mythic vision of eternal life—
shattered with the strain
of trying to belong to earth—
What will you do,
when it is your turn in the field with the god?
Faithful and Virtuous Night (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014)
Poems: 1962-2012 (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2013)
A Village Life (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2009)
Averno (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006)
The Seven Ages (Ecco Press, 2001)
Vita Nova (Ecco Press, 1999)
Meadowlands (Ecco Press, 1996)
The First Four Books of Poems (Ecco Press, 1995)
The Wild Iris (Ecco Press, 1992)
Ararat (Ecco Press, 1990)
The Triumph of Achilles (Ecco Press, 1985)
Descending Figure (Ecco Press, 1980)
The Garden (Antaeus, 1976)
The House on Marshland (Ecco Press, 1975)
Firstborn (New American Library, 1968)
Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry (The Ecco Press, 1994)
American Originality: Essays on Poetry (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2017)
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