Archive for ‘Translation’

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Hymn to Saint Nicholas by Godric of Finchale

Saint Nicholas, God’s servant dear,
Build us a hall, shining and clear,
So when we travel from birth to death
And move beyond this earthly breath,
Saint Nicholas, you can lead us there.

From: Williamson, Craig (ed. and transl.), The Complete Old English Poems, 2017, University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, p. 1109.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=yZkFDgAAQBAJ)

Date: 12th century (original); 2017 (translation)

By: Godric of Finchale (c1065-1170)

Translated by: Craig Williamson (1943- )

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Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Master and the Disciple by Abu Mo’in Hamid ad-Din Nasir ibn Khusraw al-Qubadiani

The master turned
my night into broad daylight
with proofs as clear as
radiant sunlight.

Since he made me
drink from the water of life,
death has become quite
insignificant to me.

When I looked
from the corner of his eye,
I saw the earth rotating
beneath my feet.

He showed me
the visible and hidden worlds,
both located in one place,
my own body.

I saw the two
guardians of paradise and hell
inhabiting the same place,
my own breast.

He pointed to one
who is the keeper of paradise
and said to me: “I am
his disciple.”

I saw eight gates,
closed in the same place,
and seven other gates open,
one above the other.

He said to me:
“If you wish to enter a gate,
you have to obtain his
permission first.”

When I asked him
to explain the secret to me,
he recited its story from
beginning to end.

The master said:
“He is the lord of the time,
chosen by God from
men and jinns.”

From: http://www.amaana.org/ISWEB/ismpoet2.htm

Date: 11th century (original in Persian); 1997 (translation in English)

By: Abu Mo’in Hamid ad-Din Nasir ibn Khusraw al-Qubadiani (1004-1088)

Translated by: Faquir Muhammad Hunzai (19??- )

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Letters from America by Jyotirmoy Datta

I have been intrigued by much
That I came across in this bewildering land
But by none more than the winged corkscrew
Bottle openers I bought at our neighborhood store.

The object looks like the skeleton
Of a man without legs
Whose spinal column
At turns of its hollow skull
Becomes its penis, which penetrates the cork.

Punctured, with loss of a little wine,
The cork is evicted from the bottle
Following a manly pumping of the outstretched
Metal arms
Which is why in the local tongue
Making love is called “screwing.”
But it’s a love even more heartless
Than that of the caliph in the Arabian Nights.

I think of all the empty spaces in the world:
The slits of my shirtsleeve buttonholes,
The hollows in the breasts of shoes
Waiting in cardboxes in the stores.
But in all the earth there is nothing emptier
Than the hole in the punctured virgin cork
Pierced by a ravisher who was cold as steel.

From: http://www.shabdaguchha.com/datta.html

Date: 1969 (original in Bengali); 1969 (translation in English)

By: Jyotirmoy Datta (1936- )

Translated by: Jyotirmoy Datta (1936- )

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

If You Never Come Again by Binoy Majumdar

If you never come again, never blow through these steaming regions
like cooling drifts of the upper air, even that absence is an encounter.
Your absence is as of the blue rose
from the kingdom of flowers. Who knows, some day
you may yet appear. Maybe you have, only you are too close.
Can I smell my own hair?
Marvellous sights have been seen.
A full moon was to have risen last night —
only a quivering sickle appeared!
It was an eclipse.

I have given up strewing grain on the ground
to have the birds join me at lunch.
Only when the baby is cut adrift
does it have its free hunger and thirst;
like taking off a blindfold to be confronted with
a curtain, being born
into this vast uterus, lined with a sky porous with stars.

From: http://www.kaurab.com/english/bengali_poetry/binoy.html

Date: 1960 (original in Bengali); 1968 (translation in English)

By: Binoy Majumdar (1934-2006)

Translated by: Jyotirmoy Datta (1936- )

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Learning a New Language by Afzal Ahmed Syed

In a building near the shore
Where no one reaches alone
Except me and a neighborhood dog
I am learning a new language
To converse with
Myself.

From: https://iwp.uiowa.edu/91st/vol9-num1/afzal-ahmed-syed-two-poems

Date: 2009 (original in Urdu); 2016 (translation in English)

By: Afzal Ahmed Syed (1946- )

Translated by: Taimoor Shahid (19??- )

Monday, 23 October 2017

A Polar Explorer by Iosif (Joseph) Aleksandrovich Brodsky

All the huskies are eaten. There is no space
left in the diary And the beads of quick
words scatter over his spouse’s sepia-shaded face
adding the date in question like a mole to her lovely cheek.
Next the snapshot of his sister. He doesn’t spare his kin:
what’s been reached is the highest possible latitude!
And like the silk stocking of a burlesque half-nude
queen it climbs up his thigh: gangrene.

From: http://www.shigeku.org/xlib/lingshidao/waiwen/brodsky.htm

Date: 1977 (original and translation)

By: Iosif (Joseph) Aleksandrovich Brodsky (1940-1996)

Translated by: Iosif (Joseph) Aleksandrovich Brodsky (1940-1996)

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Perth: Riverside with Swans by Kim Young-Moo

I want to build a nest and spend some time here.
Becoming a water bird

I want to visit that forest of masts
across the river, moored with sails furled.

No matter how dazzlingly the lake waters
shine somewhere in the sky

today,
I want to go flying

low, low
over the blue rippling waves

feeling the wind blowing on my breast
like a bare winter tree

on some snow-covered mountain slope.

From: http://cordite.org.au/essays/kim-young-moon-and-perth/

Date: 2001 (original); 2001 (translation)

By: Kim Young-Moo (1944-2001)

Translated by: Brother Anthony of Taizé (1942- ) and Jongsook Lee (1952- )

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Summer by Ko Un

The sightless sunflower follows the sun.
The sightless moonflower blossoms in moonlight.
Foolishness.
That’s all they know.
Dragonflies fly by day
beetles by night.

From: http://apjjf.org/-Brother-Anthony-of-Taize-/3420/article.html

Date: 19?? (original in Korean); 1997 (translation in English)

By: Ko Un (1933- )

Translated by: Brother Anthony of Taizé (1942- ) and Kim Young-Moo (1944-2001)

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Life to be Enjoyed by Bion of Smyrna

If sweet my songs, or these sufficient be
Which I have sung to give renown to me,
I know not: but it misbeseems to strain
At things we have not learned, and toil in vain.
If sweet these songs are not, what profit more
Have I to labour at them o’er and o’er?
If Saturn’s son, and changeful Fate, assigned
A double life-time to our mortal kind,
That one in joys and one in woes be past,
Who had his woes first would have joys at last.
But since Heaven wills one life to man should fall,
And this is very brief — too brief for all
We think to do, why should we fret and moil,
And vex ourselves with never-ending toil?
To what end waste we life, exhaust our health
On gainful arts and sigh for greater wealth?
We surely all forget our mortal state —
How brief the life allotted us by Fate!

From: Chapman, M. J. (transl.), The Greek Pastoral Poets, Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus. Done into English, 1836, James Fraser: London, pp. 273-274.
(https://archive.org/details/greekpastoralpo00biongoog)

Date: c100 BCE (original in Greek); 1836 (translation in English)

By: Bion of Smyrna (fl. c100 BCE)

Translated by: Matthew James Chapman (1796-1865)

Friday, 22 September 2017

Madrigal by Chiara Matraini

When first encountering this beautiful sight,
my lord, I am engulfed by an icy flame
that little by little burns and destroys me from within.
Yet so sweet is that fire
that my heart rejoices even as my soul shatters,
and if the one gives it place
the other truly detests the sound.
So I do not understand if I live or die,
while I go on offending myself with pleasure.

From: Matraini, Chiara and Maclachlan, Elaine (ed. and transl.), Selected Poetry and Prose : A Bilingual Edition, 2014, University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London, p. 49.

Date: 1555 (original in Italian); 2008 (translation in English)

By: Chiara Matraini (1515-1604)

Translated by: Elaine Maclachlan (19??- )