Grahame Davies: Berlin (From Welsh)

Berlin
By Grahame Davies
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me read the original Welsh

Sgt. Nikolai Masalov saved a girl's life on April 28, 1945, during the Battle of Berlin. After the war, a statue recording the event was erected in Treptower Park.

We heard her voice amid the sound of guns
As we were advancing on the Reichstag,
With Nazi bullets chewing up the bridge's statues and our company's cover. 
Then, through the smoke, we saw her, a three-year-old German girl
crying out amid the troops, beside her mother's corpse.

I was not a bronze man at the time
when I jumped off that bridge into the river,
with Fascists' bullets thrashing up the water around me.
I was much uglier than the dapper statue
After I'd dragged back through the mud and oil of the river Spree
With the girl in my arms.

Many times I've been asked: why.

At the time, it was instinct:
Rescuing a child was as natural as killing an enemy.

Now that both Reich and Soviets have receded like the smoke of battle, 
I see that succor and corpses aren't equivalent,
And that the moment, selfless, remains as bronze:
The killer still gun-free, his own salvation in his arms.


The Original:

Berlin
Grahame Davies

(Y Rhingyll Nikolai Masalov. Achubodd Masalov fywyd yr eneth ar. Ebrill 28, 1945, yn ystod y frwydr am Berlin. Wedi’r rhyfel, codwyd cerflun ym Mharc Treptower i gofnodi’r digwyddiad.)

Clywsom ei llais rhwng sŵn y gynnau,
wrth inni nesau at y Reichstag,
a bwledi’r Natsïaid yn cnoi cerfluniau’r bont a lochesai’n cwmni.
Wedyn, drwy’r mwg, fe welsom hi, Almaenes deirblwydd oed
yn llefain rhwng y lluoedd, wrth ochr celain ei mam.

Nid dyn o efydd oeddwn ar y pryd,
wrth neidio’r bont i’r afon,
a bwledi’r Ffasgwyr yn ffustio’r dwr o’m hamgylch.
A llawer mwy diolwg oeddwn na’r cerflun trwsiadus
wedi imi lusgo ‘nôl drwy laid ac olew’r Spree
a’r ferch yn fy mreichiau.

Droeon fe ofynnwyd imi, pam.

Ar y pryd, greddf ydoedd:
roedd achub plentyn mor naturiol â lladd gelyn.

Erbyn hyn, a Reich a Sofiet wedi cilio fel mwg y frwydr,
fe welaf nad cyfwerth celanedd ac ymgeledd,
ac mai’r ennyd anhunanol a erys fel efydd:
y lladdwr di-ddryll yn dal, yn ei freichiau, ei achubiaeth ef ei hun.

No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget