Archive for ‘Translation’

Thursday, 30 December 2021

The Snowfall is So Silent by Miguel de Unamuno

The snowfall is so silent,
so slow,
bit by bit, with delicacy
it settles down on the earth
and covers over the fields.
The silent snow comes down
white and weightless;
snowfall makes no noise,
falls as forgetting falls,
flake after flake.
It covers the fields gently
while frost attacks them
with its sudden flashes of white;
covers everything with its pure
and silent covering;
not one thing on the ground
anywhere escapes it.
And wherever it falls it stays,
content and gay,
for snow does not slip off
as rain does,
but it stays and sinks in.
The flakes are skyflowers,
pale lilies from the clouds,
that wither on earth.
They come down blossoming
but then so quickly
they are gone;
they bloom only on the peak,
above the mountains,
and make the earth feel heavier
when they die inside.
Snow, delicate snow,
that falls with such lightness
on the head,
on the feelings,
come and cover over the sadness
that lies always in my reason.

From: https://allpoetry.com/The-Snowfall-Is-So-Silent

Date: 1922 (original in Spanish); 1976 (translation in English)

By: Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936)

Translated by: Robert Bly (1926-2021)

Friday, 10 December 2021

Myriad Stars, No. 34 by Bing Xin/Ping Hsin

The creators of the new continent
are not those roaring waves,
but the minuscule sands beneath them.

From: Lin, Julia C. (ed. and transl.), Twentieth-Century Chinese Women’s Poetry: An Anthology, 2009, Routledge: London and New York, p. 3.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=DzHfBQAAQBAJ)

Date: 1923 (original in Chinese); 2009 (translation in English)

By: Bing Xin/Ping Hsin (1900-1999)

Translated by: Julia Chang Lin (1928-2013)

Thursday, 9 December 2021

The Calculation of Life by Jean Antoine de Baïf

Thou art aged; but recount,
Since thy early life began,
What may be the just amount
Thou shouldst number of thy span:
How much to thy debts belong,
How much when vain fancy caught thee,
How much to the giddy throng,
How much to the poor who sought thee,
How much to thy lawyer’s wiles,
How much to thy menial crew,
How much to thy lady’s smiles,
How much to thy sick-bed due,
How much for thy hours of leisure,
For thy hurrying to and fro,
How much for each idle pleasure,
If the list thy memory know.
Every wasted, misspent day,
Which regret can ne’er recall,
If all these thou tak’st away,
Thou wilt find thy age but small:
That thy years were falsely told,
And, even now, thou art not old.

From: Hunt, N. Clemmons (ed.), The Poetry of Other Lands. A Collection of Translations into English Verse of the Poetry of Other Languages, Ancient and Modern, 1883, Porter and Coates: Philadelphia, p. 322.
(https://archive.org/details/poetryofotherlan00huntuoft/)

Date: 1576 (original in French); 1835 (translation in English)

By: Jean Antoine de Baïf (1532-1589)

Translated by: Louisa Stuart Costello (1799-1870)

Friday, 12 November 2021

After a Bad Dream by Gerrit Engelke

I am a soldier and stand in the field
And know of no-one in the world.
Thus I cannot celebrate this rainy day,
So tenderly concerned, damp and leaden
Since at night your image broke my sleep
And brought me near to you.

I am a soldier and stand in the field,
Gun on the arm and far from the world.
Were I at home, I would close door and window
And remain alone for a long time,
Sink into the sofa’s corner,
With closed eyes, think of you.

I am a soldier and stand in the field.
Here the old human world ends.
The rain sings, the wet skeins flow.
I can do nothing – only shoot lead.
Don’t know why, I still do it, as if I must
Into the grey weather a shot cracks!

From: https://warpoets.org.uk/splashpage/blog/poem/after-a-bad-dream/

Date: 1918 (original in German); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Gerrit Engelke (1890-1918)

Translated by: Penelope Monkhouse (19??- )

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Battle on the Marne (September 1914) by Wilhelm Klemm

Slowly the stones begin moving and speaking
The grasses freeze to green metal. The woods,
Deep dense hideouts, devour distant platoons.
The heavens, the chalk-white mystery, threaten to burst.
Two colossal hours roll out to two minutes.
The empty horizon expands upwards

My heart is as large as Germany and France together,
Bored through by all the bullets of the world.
The battery raises its lion voice
Six times out into the land. The shells howl.
Stillness. In the distance the infantry fire seethes,
For days, for weeks.

From: https://warpoets.org.uk/worldwar1/blog/poem/battle-on-the-marne-september-1914/

Date: 1917 (original in German); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Wilhelm Klemm (1881-1968)

Translated by: Penelope Monkhouse (19??- )

Sunday, 24 October 2021

The Little Witch by Johann Peter Hebel

I whittled at a stick one day, —
‘T was just to pass the time away:
A little girl came tripping by,
With rosy look and witching eye.

With artless smile and simple grace,
She looked me sweetly in my face,
And said, ” That knife is sharp, I ween, —
Another thing will cut as keen. ”

And then she laughed, and said, ” Good-day, ”
And like a dream had flown away;
The voice, the look, was with me still,
When all at once I felt me ill.

I could not work, I could not play;
I saw and heard her all the day.
That witching eye was sharp, I ween;
O, that was what would cut so keen.

I saw and heard her day and night, —
Her voice so soft, her eye so bright:
When others lay in slumber sweet,
I heard the clock each hour repeat

I could not stay and linger so:
Like one entranced, away I go;
Through field and forest, far and wide,
I seek if there the witch doth hide.

By bush and brake, by rock and hill,
Where’er I go, I see her still:
The little girl, with witching eye,
Is ever, ever tripping by.

Through town and village, too, I stray;
At every house I call and say,
” O, can you tell me where to find
The little girl that witched my mind? ”

I’ve sought her many a weary mile;
Methought I saw her all the while:
Ah! if I can’t the witch obtain,
I never shall be well again.

From: https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/hexli-little-witch

Date: 1803 (original in German), 18?? (translation in English)

By: Johann Peter Hebel (1760-1826)

Translated by: James Gates Percival (1795-1856)

Friday, 22 October 2021

[I Have Accustomed These Bones to Grief] by Miguel Hernández Gilabert

I have accustomed these bones to grief
and these temples to deception:
grief goes, deception comes
like the sea from sand to beach.

Like the sea from beach to sand
I go from this wavering shipwreck
through a dark night, poor, black,
and sad as a round cast-iron pan.

If your love is not the plank I clench,
if your voice is not the north I follow,
no one will save me from this wreck.

So I go on eluding the dark omen
that I will never be safe in you,
smiling from heartache to heartache.

From: Hernández, Miguel and Genoways, Ted (ed.), The Selected Poems of Miguel Hernández: A Bilingual Edition, 2001, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, p. 57.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=ccfzJ4B-4Q4C)

Date: 1936 (original in Spanish); 2001 (translation in English)

By: Miguel Hernández Gilabert (1910-1942)

Translated by: Ted Genoways (1972- )

Friday, 24 September 2021

Mad in the Morning by Gōzō Yoshimasu

I shout the first line of my poem
I write the first line
A carving knife stands up madly in the morning
These are my rights!

The glow of morning or a woman’s breasts are not always beautiful
Beauty is not always first
All music is a lie!
Ah! First of all, let’s close all the petals and fall down to the earth!

This morning, September 24, 1966
I wrote a letter to my dearest friend
About original sin
About the perfect crime and the method of destroying intelligence

Ah!
What a drop of water rolling on my pale pink palm!
The woman’s breasts are reflected in a coffee saucer!
Oh! I can’t fall down!
Though I ran rapidly over the edge of the sword, the world has not disappeared!

From: https://www.poetryinternational.org/pi/poem/28601/poem_english/0/0/Gozo-Yoshimasu/MAD-IN-THE-MORNING

Date: 1966 (original in Japanese); 2017 (translation in English)

By: Gōzō Yoshimasu (1939- )

Translated by: Y Yoshida (24 September 2021)

Friday, 17 September 2021

The March of Xerxes by Luigi Alamanni/Alemanni

When in the wantonness of kingly pride,
Vain Xerxes spurr’d his war-horse through the tide,
And bore his fleet o’er mountain tops—e’en there
The Eternal bade his evil heart despair:
O’er Hellespont and Athos’ marble head,
More than a god he came, less than a man he fled.

From: de Vere, Aubrey, Mary Tudor: An Historical Drama and Other Poems, 1847, William Pickering: London, p. 407.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=WFFGAQAAMAAJ)

Date: 1556 (original in Italian); 1818 (translation in English)

By: Luigi Alamanni/Alemanni (1495-1556)

Translated by: Aubrey de Vere (1788-1846)

Friday, 10 September 2021

[141] by Yoel Hoffmann

We owe nothing to no one. Certainly not a story. If we like we could write a single word 7,387 times. A word is as cheap as a stick. Or we could compose our sentences along the lines of Japanese syntax (that is, from the end to the beginning). Or insist that the publisher burn the bottom edge of the book so that the reader’s hand will be blackened by the charcoaled page . . .

From: Hoffmann, Yoel and Cole, Peter (transl.), Moods, 2015, New Directions Publishing: New York, pp. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=DfT8CAAAQBAJ)

Date: 2015 (original in Hebrew); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Yoel Hoffmann (1937- )

Translated by: Peter Cole (1957- )