Gwyneth Lewis: The Present (From Welsh)

The Present
By Gwyneth Lewis
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

"A watch as a gift? My husband's given me time?
How could you give me a gold bracelet that would wind

up wounding my wrist so deeply? Be sure,
The shifty wheel in these entrails will turn

into our enemy, be the tick of the time-
-bomb set to blow all love between us right

to smithereens someday. No, not today
but the sharp teeth of the clock will stay

precise enough for their trek to eat 
through all our life, and tear our pieces

to nothingness." "Time is my own present
For you. And not its mechanisms (it's unpleasant

to watch hair whiten) but its breadth
and depth, true ardor with its hard shadows

and awareness of death. No, a couple's love is warm
as a bonfire, and the seconds swarm

like frail moths through dead night,
drawn to it, to admire the light

before we die. For the moment, though, 
just wear your gold watch like an O

to remind you we're a wheel that spins upon
a fertile void to come when we are gone."

The Original:

Rhodd

‘Oriawr yn anrheg? Amser gan fy ngwr?
Sut allet ti roi breichled aur yn glwyf

mor ddwfn am fy ngarddwrn? Y mae troi
y rhod ddyfeisgar ym mherfeddion hom

yn elyn inni, mae fel ffiws ar fom
a fydd yn chwythu pob cariad rhyngom

yn deilchion ryw ddydd. Na, nid heddi chwaith,
ond er mor gwyrain ydyw’r gwaith

ar ddanedd yr olwynion, mae eu taith
yn llyncu’n bywyd, yn ei rwygo’n rhacs

i ebargofiant.’ ‘Amser yw fy rhodd
i ti. Nid ei beirianwaith — y mae’n anodd

gweld gwallt yn gwynnu — ond ei led
a’i ddyfnder, serch â’i gysgodian caled

a’r gwybod am angau. Na, mae cariad dau
fel coercerth a daw’r eiliadau

ato yn wyfynnod brau
mewn heidiau i edmygu’r golau

cyn i ni farw. Ond, am y tro,
gwisg dy oriawr aur fel O

a chofia ein bod yn gylch, ac yn ei ganol
y gwacter ffrwytholon a fydd ar ein hôl.’

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