Jul 072010
 

Chariot Race, Norfolk County Fair (ok, this has nothing to do with the People's Choice competition except, you know, it's a competition)

The votes were split up and spread around in a confusing way. How can a person tabulate results when a voter votes for X or Y? But by a resounding margin the winner of the First Ever Numéro Cinq Translation Contest is Shy Anonymous for the following entry (see votes and commentary here):

Ja, er dreigde iets. En hij bleef daar zitten, ziek van angst, làf, zonder
Oi, the dredged nets. In the bleeding dark night, the bleakness of angst, the laughable and yet yonder

geestkracht, zonder moed…. Er dreigde iets en hij voelde het
untouchable geschtalt, yonder mood of ease. Here the dredged nets and the night-holding heat

naderen, hem overvallen, met hem strijden op leven en dood, in
are born, here the ovaries swell, having met the stream of life and dread, in

eene overspanning van wanhoop: hij voelde zich wankelen,
the ever-spanning war whoop. Here the fields awaken,

nederzinken, hij voelde zich gerukt worden uit de fluweelen
the unborn children frolic, here the fields are rich with wooden flowers,

zachtheid van zijn leven, neergesmakt worden op straat, zonder dak,
holding the sin and sang, the yin and yang, the wooden markets up this street,

zonder iets … Wat behoorde hem toe! Het linnen aan zijn lichaam,
down that…. What harm beholds the toe! The linen and the lichen,

de schoenen aan zijne voeten, de ring aan zijn vinger, het was van
the school totems, both wrung with vinegar, all in the name of

Frank. Het souper daarginds, zijn bed boven, het was van Frank. Zoo
Frano. Here was the super tamarind, the unmade bed, the name of Frano. He was too

was het geweest een vol jaar lang en als hij ooit weg zoû moeten
large for even himself to fathom or believe in,

gaan met alleen het zijne, dan zou hij moeten gaan … naakt, in den
here a man who towered over mountains, yes, even in

winter. En hij kón niet meer zijn, als hij geweest was in Amerika,
winter. Here was a man that was tall enough to see all the way to America,

dienstbaar scharrelend van den eenen dag op den anderen. Zijn lijf
that barren wasteland of flat days and wandering weeks. Indeed, life

en zijne ziel waren beide als geweekt in een bad van lauwe weelde;
was barren of joy and zeal besides the gefilte fish and the baths of laurel weeds;

hij was geworden als eene kasplant, die, gewend aan de vochte
His was a garden of eggplant, and yes, the voice of Gwenda

warmte der serres, vreest in de open lucht te worden gezet. Want het
the warm and severe, asleep in the open light of the wooden gazelle. Do you want

dreigde, gruwzaam, onbarmhartig: geen seconde was die bedreiging
to hear more, my guzzywam, my heart and barn warmer: three seconds and the man died, suffocated in the wrung bedsheets,

van hem af, en, in de lafheid zijner verweeking, wrong hij er zachtjes
snuffed, and in the last remaining weeks of those left behind, the zealots chose wrong,

zijne witte handen om, en drupten er twee tranen langs zijn strak
writing on the wrong hand, and thus disrupted the wee track lines of hope, striking

masker van wanhoop.
the mask of the venerable Master of war whoops.

Louis Couperus

Several entries received first place votes: Anna Maria Johnson, Gary Garvin’s first entry in Chinese characters, Julie Larios and Claire Wilkshire. Jacob Glover got a third place vote despite the fact that there is no third place. Shy Anonymous also got two second place votes (even though there is no second place).

The original passage is in Dutch. It’s a paragraph from Louis Couperus‘s 1891 novel Noodlot (Destiny or Footsteps of Fate). I’m sure you all knew that right away.

Now, of course, we await the judges’ decision in the official contest. Two judges have been treated and released from hospital. One is receiving drug therapy–mostly Thorazine. One has resigned.

  4 Responses to “2010 Numéro Cinq Translation Contest — And The Winner Is…”

  1. Ah, good old Louis.

    Will there be a formal award presentation?

  2. Congrats to the shy anonymous person. I hope this success will inspire enough confidence in the author that he or she will dare to state his or her name next time around! I liked that poem very much and was torn between whether to vote for it or the cow poem.

  3. […] just because of his hilariously parodic official translation but also (as Jacob suggested in his People’s Choice vote comment) because of his incredibly witty first response, that passage of Chinese characters (when […]

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