Sunday, August 23, 2015

For the Record

The children of John Rukin Hopper and Marjory Ann Carr Hopper, left to right: 
Jack Hicks Hopper, Mary Lillian Hopper, Marjory Lynn Hopper and John Carr Hopper. 
This is a professional photograph and would have been taken either in Portales, New Mexico (birthplace of Jack, my father, on Dec. 19, 1906) 
or after they moved to Yuma, AZ, where he finished high school, and
where my grandparents lived out their lives.
The beautiful girl in white died of cancer at age 40; my father died at 80, 
after a long struggle with Parkinson's Syndrome.
Carr, the older boy, lived until age 93 and left a large family.
Mary Lillian never had children, but was married to an Army man, Colonel Mason Elder.
She taught school and became an artist after she retired.
This one of my favorite photographs, which is why it is here on The Memory Thread.

The silence afterwards

Try to be done now
with the provocations and sales statistics,
the Sunday breakfasts and incinerators,
the military parades, the architecture competitions
and the triple rows of traffic lights.
Get through it and be done
with the party preparations and marketing analyses
for it’s too late,
it’s far too late,
be done with it and come home
to the silence afterwards
that meets you like a hot spurt of blood against your forehead
and like the thunder on the way
and the chimes of mighty bells
that make your eardrums quiver
for words are no more,
there are no more words,
from now on everything will speak
with the voices of stones and trees.
The silence that lives in the grass
on the underside of each blade
and in the blue intervals between the stones.
The silence
that follows after the shots and the bird-song.
The silence
that lays a blanket over the one who is dead
and that waits on the stairs until everyone is gone.
The silence
that nestles like a fledgling between your hands,
your only friend.

Rolf Jacobsen

translated by John Irons

Rolf Jacobsen is my recent discovery of a poet about the same age as my father.  This is a link to the entry on Jacobsen in Wikipedia. You can see in the entry what stature this poet has in his native Norway.

This translation is one I found here on the blog of the translator, and there are quite a few things I like better about it than the translation I have in Twenty Poems that was done by Robert Bly. Of course, what I "like" is not very significant, since I do not understand Norwegian. But this translation has a little more "fullness" that I prefer, except for in one place. Hey, it's my blog! Reading these poems has touched me deeply, and I hope to introduce some of them to others.

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