Friday, May 13, 2016

A letter from Magdalene, to her mother. (this could have been my letter...)

My humblest attempt to translate:
Van Magdalena die gereinigde
C.J. Langenhoven


"...It has been three years, four years, five years, Mother - how long is it now? - that I didn't write home. There is nothing to write about except sin and shame. And the thought of home was like judgement. But have I not longed, not longed, not longed through lonely nights, to lay my head on your chest and cry out all of my bitterness. I couldn't trash my feelings as I could my step all over my virtue.

I know all too well what will happen - I know my father and my mother. I know my name never cross your lips; I am worse than the dead. But dear mother of mine, I know also, however you silence this name, Magdalene will always live in your hearts. Who knows, if I was not shunned for my first fall like a leper - I would have carried my cross as I deserved it, I wouldn't have gone from fallen to forsaken. But when there were no love or shelter left for me, I had to make of evil my wages. No, dear mother, I do not mean to reproof. What else could you have done? Your home and your name were clean, from generation to generations before, and I defiled it. And what could others have done? They still had sons and daughter unpolluted.

But after nightlong years, came the awakening, and I write at the first light of dawn. I have the right to write again, because there is no more smut to tell, but beauty. Listen, mother. We heard of the new prophet, Jesus of Nazarene. And a bunch of us, of the circle that glory in our recklessness, men with no conscience, and woman that no longer cared to care, we went out for the fun to follow the crowds to hear Jesus preach. He is always so interesting, we heard; as good as a circus.

When we got to the meeting, we kept to one side and laughed and joked and made comments in our usual extravagance about the rags of the poor and the backyard fashions and the sourpuss faces of the oh so holy Pharisees - because there was not a sort to think of for they all flocked after Jesus.

And when he began to speak, from his first word, we were quiet."

to be continued...

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