Archive for ‘Translation’

Saturday, 18 January 2020

The Home of the Heart by Muktabai

Where never darkness comes my home I’ve made;
There my delightsome lodging ever find.
That perfect shelter cannot fail our need;
Going and coming trouble us no more.
Beyond all vision and above all spheres,
He, our delight, our inmost sould indwells.
He, Mukta says, is our heart’s only home.

From: Macnicol, Margaret (ed.), Poems by Indian Women, Selected and Rendered by Various Translators, 1923, Association Press: Calcutta and Oxford University Press: London, p. 47.
(https://archive.org/details/poemsbyindianwom00macn/)

Date: 13th century (original in Marathi); 1923 (translation in English)

By: Muktabai (1279-1297)

Translated by: Margaret Grant Campbell Macnicol (18??-19??) and D. K. Laddu (?-?)

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

At the Gate by Henrik Nordbrandt

1.
In the dream
at the gate to your grave
you stopped me
with the same words
I had spoken in a dream
where I died before you

so now I can no longer dream.

2.
Rusty, and on squeaky hinges
all the gates I have ever
seen, heard, or described
closed one by one
under a grey sky.

That is all there was
in my mind, earth.

3.
What can I say about the world
in which your ashes sit in an urn
other than that?

4.
On every trip you stay ahead of me.
On platforms I see your footprints in fresh snow.
When the train starts to move
you jump out of the back carriage

to reach the next station ahead of me.

5.
Outside the small towns with their sleepy street lights:
stadiums bright as capitols.

The lights glinted off your glasses.

Where else should you look for the ring
which, the night the power went out,
rolled under the bed and was gone?

6.
“I miss you, too”
were my last words
on the telephone
when you said you missed me.
I miss you too, Forever!

7.
You are gone.

Three words. And not one
of them
exists now in any

other context.

From: https://www.poetryinternational.org/pi/poem/16681/

Date: 1995 (original in Danish); 2009 (translation in English)

By: Henrik Nordbrandt (1945- )

Translated by: Thom Satterlee (1967- )

Friday, 13 December 2019

Hymn for Saint Lucia by Arvid Rosén

Nightly, go heavy hearts
Round farm and steading
On earth, where sun departs,
shadows are spreading.
Then on our darkest night,
Comes with her shining light
Saint Lucia! Saint Lucia!
Then on our darkest night,
Comes with her shining light
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia

Night-darkling, huge and still.
Hark! something’s stirring!
In all our silent rooms,
Wingbeats are whisp’ring!
Stands on our threshold there,
White clad, lights in her hair,
Saint Lucia! Saint Lucia!
Stands on our threshold there,
White clad, lights in her hair,
Saint Lucia! Saint Lucia!

“Darkness shall fly away
Through earthly portals!”
She brings such wonderful
words to us mortals!
“Daylight, again renewed,
will rise, all rosy-hued!”
Saint Lucia! Saint Lucia!
“Daylight, again renewed,
will rise, all rosy-hued!”
Saint Lucia! Saint Lucia!

From: http://donerickson.name/home/swedish/lucia.htm

Date: 1928 (original in Swedish); 19?? (translation in English)

By: Arvid Rosén (1895-1973)

Translated by: Colin MacCallum (19??- )

Monday, 25 November 2019

Tantaliad by Ana Gorría

A raft capsizing
in your gut;
a far-off sun,
an empire of thirst.

From: https://exchanges.uiowa.edu/issues/fledglings/gorria-siegert/

Date: 2005 (original in Spanish); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Ana Gorría (1979- )

Translated by: Yvette Siegert (19??-)

Friday, 15 November 2019

Lassitude by Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck

These lips have long forgotten to bestow
Their kiss on blind eyes chiller than the snow,
Henceforth absorbed in their magnificent dream.
Drowsy as hounds deep in the grass they seem;
They watch the grey flocks on the sky-line pass,
Browsing on moonlight scattered o’er the grass,
By skies as vague as their own life caressed.
They see, unvexed by envy or unrest,
The roses of joy that open on every hand,
The long green peace they cannot understand.

From: Maeterlinck, Maurice and Miall, Bernard (transl.), Poems: Done into English Verse by Bernard Miall, 1915, Methuen & Co: London, p. 11.
(http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/50043)

Date: 1896 (original in French); 1914 (translation in English)

By: Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck (1862-1949)

Translated by: Arthur Bernard Miall (1876-1953)

Monday, 4 November 2019

Death’s A Debt That Everybody Owes by Palladas

Death’s a debt that everybody owes,
and if you’ll last the night out no one knows.

Learn your lesson then, and thank your stars
for wine and company and all-night bars.

Life careers gravewards at a breackneck rate,
so drink and love, and leave the rest to Fate.

From: Harrison, Tony, Collected Poems, 2016, Penguin: London, p. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=io3_CgAAQBAJ)

Date: 4th century (original in Greek); 1975 (translation in English)

By: Palladas (4th century)

Translated by: Tony Harrison (1937- )

Sunday, 3 November 2019

GGS 2817: I Awoke From Sleep by Fujiwara no Ietaka

I awoke from sleep
hearing a sad sound
I had not listened for:
the voice of waves at daybreak
breaking on the rocky shore.

From: Carter, Steven D. (ed. and transl.) Waiting for the Wind: Thirty-Six Poets of Japan’s Late Medieval Age, 1989, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 42.
(https://www.gwern.net/docs/japanese/1989-carter-waitingforthewind.pdf)

Date:  c12th century (original in Japanese); 1989 (translation in English)

By: Fujiwara no Ietaka (1158-1237)

Translated by: Steven D. Carter (19??- )

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Canto 1: Summer from Rtusamhāram (The Gathering of the Seasons) by Kālidasa

1
The sun blazing fiercely,
the moon longed for eagerly,
deep waters inviting
to plunge in continually,
days drawing to a close in quiet beauty,
the tide of desire running low:
scorching Summer is now here, my love.

2
Night’s indigo-masses rent by the moon,
wondrous mansions built on water,
cooled by fountains; various gems
cool to the touch; liquid sandal;
the world seeks relief in these
in Summer’s scorching heat, my love.

3
Palace-terraces perfumed, luring the senses,
wine trembling beneath the beloved’s breath,
sweet melodies on finely-tuned lutes:
lovers enjoy tese passion-kindling things
at midnight in Summer, my love.

4
Curving hips, their beauty enhanced
by fine silks and jewelled belts;
sandal-scented breasts caressed by necklaces of pearls,
fragrant tresses bathed in perfumed water:
with these women soothe their loves
in burning Summer, my love.

5
Swaying hips; soles tinted deep rose;
anklets with tinkling bells
imitating at each step the cry of the wild goose:
men’s hearts are churned by desire.

6
Breasts rubbed smooth with liquid sandal,
crowned by strings of pearls lustrous as dewdrops,
hips encircled by golden belts—
whose heart will not yearn restless?

7
High-breasted women in the flush of youth,
limbs shining with beads of sweat, throw off
heavy garments and put on thin stoles
right for the season to cover their breasts.

8
The breeze of moist sandal-scented fans,
the touch of flower-garlands on the beloved’s breast,
the lute’s exquisite murmuring sound:
these now awaken sleeping Love.

9
Gazing all night longingly
on the faces of lovely women sleeping happy
on terraces of sparkling white mansions,
the moon pales at dawn struck by guilty shame.

10
Hearts burning in the fire of separation,
men far from home can scarcely bear to see
the swirling clouds of dust tossed up
from the earth burnt by the sun’s fierce heat.

11
Antelopes suffering from Summer’s savage heat,
race with parched throats towards the distant sky
the colour of smooth-blended collyrium, thinking:
—‘there’s water there in another forest.’

12
As enchanting twilights jewelled by the moon
instantly kindle desire in pleasure-seeker’s minds,
so do the graceful movements, subtle smiles
and wayward glances of amorous women.

13
In an agony of pain from the sun’s fierce rays,
scorched by dust on his path, a snake with drooping hood
creeps on his tortuous course, repeatedly hissing,
to find shelther under a peacock’s shade.

14
The king of beasts suffering intense thirst, pants
with wide open jaws, lolling tongue, quivering mane;
powerless to attack he does not kill
elephants though they are not beyond his reach.

15
Dry-throated, foaming at the mouth,
maddened by the sun’s sizzling rays,
tuskers in an agony of growing thirst,
seeking water, do not fear even the lion.

16
Peacocks, exhausted by the flame-rays of the sun
blazing like numerous sacrificial fires,
lack the will to strike at the hooded snake
thrusting its head under their circle of plumes.

17
By the hot sun tormented a herd of wild boars
rooting with the round tips of their long snouts
in the caked mud of ponds with swamp-grass overgrown,
appear as if descending deep into the earth.

18
Burning under the sun’s fiery wreath of rays,
a frog leaps up from the muddy pond
to sit under the parasol hood
of a deadly cobra that is thirsty and tired.

19
A whole host of fragile lotus plants uprotted,
fish lying dead, sarus cranes flown away in fear,
the lack is one thick mass of mire, pounded
by a packed elephant-herd pushing and shoving.

20
A cobra overcome by thirst darts his forked tongue out
to lick the breeze; the iridescence of his crest-jewel
flashes struck by brilliant sunbeams; burning
from Summer’s heat and his own fiery poison
he does not attack the assemblage of frogs.

21
A herd of female buffaloes frenzied by thirst
emerges from the hill’s caves, heads lifted up
sniffing for water, spittle overflowing from cavernous jaws
and frothing round their lips, pink tongus hanging out.

22
A raging forest fire burns tender shoots to a cinder;
cruel words hurl shrivelled leaves high up with impetuous force;
all around waters shrink to the bottom in the sizzling heat;
O what a scene of horror the woodland’s outskirts present!

23
Birds sit panting on trees shorn of leaves;
lean monkeys troop into caves overgrown with bushes;
wild bulls roam around looking for water;
elephant cubs diligently draw up water from a well.

24
Relentlessly driven by the force of violent winds,
the fire, brilliant as the vermilion petals
of the mallow rose unfolding,
speeds in every direction, smitten with longing to clasp
the tops of trees, bushes and creepers, and burns the earth.

25
Springing up at the skirts of the woodland,
the fire’s glare tires the creatures of the woodland;
it blazes in the glens fanned by the winds,
crackles and bursts through dry bamboo thickets
and spreads in the grass, waxing each moment.

26
Incited by the winds, the wild fire roams
all around the woodland, seeking to assume
multiple forms in the bright silk-cotton groves;
it glitters, burnished gold, in the hollows of trees
and springs up tall trees, to branches whose leaves are singed.

27
With their bodies burning in the fire’s fierce heat,
elephants, wild bulls, lions, lay aside their enmity,
and come quickly out of grasslands scorched by fire, together,
like friends, to rest on the river’s wide, sandy banks.

28
O lady, whose singing flows so sweet
in the night over moonlit terraces,
may Summer waited upon by lovely women,
when pools are strewn thick with lotuses
and the air scented by pāṭala flowers,
when waters are pleasant to laze in
and garlands of pearls cool with their touch,
pass in greatest delight and ease for you.

From: Kālidasa and Rajan, Chandra (ed.), The Complete Works of Kālidasa: In three volumes, Volume 1, 2005, Sahitya Akademi:  New Delhi, pp. 77-82.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=v8KZyQk0VWUC)

Date: c4th-5th century BCE (original in Sanskrit); 1997 (translanted in English)

By: Kālidasa (c4th-5th century BCE)

Translated by: Chandra Rajan (19??- )

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

To Poems by Arseny Alexandrovich Tarkosky

My poems: fledglings, heirs,
Plaintiffs and executors,
The silent ones, the loud,
The humble and the proud.

As soon as the shovel of time
Threw me onto the potter’s wheel—
Myself without kith or kin—
I grew beneath the hand, a miracle.

Something stretched out my long neck
And hollowed round my soul
And marked on my back
Legends of flowers and leaves.

I stoked the birch in the fire
As Daniel commanded
And blessed my red temper
Until I spoke as a prophet.

I had long been the earth—
Arid, ochre, forlorn since birth—
But you fell on my chest by chance
From beaks of birds, from eyes of grass.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/54749/to-poems

Date: 1983 (original in Russian); 2011 (translation in English)

By: Arseny Alexandrovich Tarkovsky (1907-1989)

Translated by: Philip J. Metres III (1970- )

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Flies Like Thoughts by Innokenty Annensky

Flies, like black thoughts, have not quit me all day …
                                                                   A. N. Apukhtin (1840–1893)

I’ve grown weary of sleeplessness, dreams.
Locks of hair hang over my eyes:
I would like, with the poison of rhymes,
to drug thoughts I cannot abide.

I would like to unravel these knots …
Or is the whole thing a mistake?
In late autumn the flies are such pests –
their cold wings so horribly sticky.

Fly-thoughts crawl about, as in dreams,
they cover the paper in black …
Oh, how dead, and how dreadful they seem …
Tear them up, burn them up – quick!

From: Chandler, Robert, Dralyuk, Boris and Mashinski, Irina (eds.), The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, 2015, Penguin Random House UK: London, p. 122.
(https://books.google.com.au/books/about/The_Penguin_Book_of_Russian_Poetry.html?id=V8xbBAAAQBAJ)

Date: 1904 (original in Russian); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Innokenty Annensky (1855-1909)

Translated by: Boris Dralyuk (19??- )