Geir Uthaug er tildelt Norsk Oversetterforenings Hieronymusdiplom «for hans mangeårige virke som gjendikter og formidler av engelsk litteratur fra romantikken til et norsk publikum.»

Tildelingen fant sted under årsmøtemiddagen 19. mars 2022.

Hieronymusdiplomet deles ut av foreningen som en utmerkelse for fortjenstfull innsats, enten gjennom stor produksjon, langt slit, glødende interesse for oversetterkollegiet eller annen høyverdig og likeverdig innsats.

Etter å ha takket for tildelingen leste Geir Uthaug sin ferske gjendiktning til engelsk av Arnulf Øverlands «Du må ikke sove» (1937), gjengitt her:

You must not sleep!

I awoke one night from a disturbing dream;
It felt as if a strange voice spoke earnestly,
Low as a faint, subterranean stream.
I arose and said: “What do you want of me?”

“You must not sleep! You must not sleep!
You must not think it was only a dream.
Picture the theme:
The gallows are built right here on the lawn.
The soldiers will fetch me tomorrow at dawn.

Awaiting our doom
The prisoners’ cells are placed row by row
We lie in the terrible cold below
We are rotting alive in the wretched gloom.

Why we lie here waiting we do not know.
And who shall be the next one to go?
We sigh and we cry, can’t you hear us weeping?
And can you do nothing? Oh do not keep sleeping.

No one can hear –
No one will see or know what we fear.
What is more:
No one believes what is happening here.
But you say that can’t be true.
People are not so cruel to each other?
There must be some who are kind like you?
You sure have something to learn, my brother.

They say you must give your life when it’s needed.
Now we have done it, in vain we have pleaded.
The world has forgotten us, betrayed is our fight.
You must not sleep again tonight.

You must not go to your business and pleasure,
Thinking of losses and gains and leisure.
You must not blame it on cattle and land,
Saying it’s all I can spare, understand?
You must not sit in your good, cosy home,
Pitying poor people who are bound to roam.
You must not allow as some people do,
the injustice that is not levelled at you!
With my last breath I cry till I fall:
You are not allowed to forget this at all.

Do not forgive them, they know what they’re doing.
They kindle the flames of hatred and ruin.
Their lust is in killing, in torment and fear.
They want to see the world disappear.
They wish to drown us in human blood too!
Don’t you believe it? You know it’s true.

You know that children are marching through cities,
Happy as soldiers, singing their ditties,
Fired by their mothers’ betrayal for more.
Defending their country they will go to war.

You know of the villainous treasons that leads
To heroes and faith and noble deeds.
You know that there’s nothing a child respects more
Than heroes and banners and trumpets and gore.

He must fight in a whirlwind of shells and forever
Is left there to rot, and then has to face
Death for Hitler’s aryan race
You know that’s the goal of human endeavour.

I did not know it. It’s too late, I trust.
My trial is fair and my punishment just.
I believed in progress, I believed in peace,
In labour, in friendship and love and ease.
He who is not prepared to die with the rest
must venture alone, on the scaffold’s crest.

I cry in the dark, Oh, could you but hear us.
It’s one thing to do, and that’s to prepare us.
Save your own soul, I cry full of yearning
Save your own children, for Europe is burning.”

I shivered, felt cold; outside stars were shining.
Besparkling the sky, but a foreboding lining,
a streak in the sky like a dark ugly gleam
Spoke of the same as the voice in my dream.

The day beyond the earth’s rim stood
gleaming and rising in fire and blood.
Rose in anxiety, breathless and bold
as if the stars themselves grew cold.

I thought to myself: Something now will aspire
Save your children, my people, our world is on fire.

(Geir Uthaug©2022)