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Poems in different languages

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I recognized, that poems in different languages have a different emotional connection to me. So I have a question: Does anyone of you read or write poems in different languages? And  if so what impact have poems in foreign languages on you?

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I'm really not muchof a poet, but your question made me think. I have done almost all of AC's poetry prompts, as a way to expand my writing and challenge myself. I called it 'yoga for the brain' at one point and that still rings true.

 

However, one of the hardest challenges was to wrote a poem in our own language. I think it was the ghazal. Hard as it is, but in Swedish and with such a powerful and emotional prompt...? It became so personal that I almost couldn't do it. 

 

I find it'sthe same when reading a poem in Swedish. It has to be just right to speak to me. If it's off in some way (too emotional, too poetic), I don't appreciate it. So native poems have it tougher, since the words have so much more feelings and hidden meaning to them. 

 

Writing this, I realize my own poetry in English probably has a few funny moments for you English natives. And you're welcome!

 

For me it's freeing to write in English. But perhaps also creates a distance... 

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For the matter of fact I was writing all my poems in foreign language. Lol. I am never good at English. Other than that I have tried to write some poems in Hindi, but never used the language itself. And our local language, which I have used occasionally to write poems or a story. But never posted anything here. I'll tell more when I tag along next time here... ;)

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I'm not fluent in any other language than English, but I took four years of French in high school.  While I only remember bits and pieces of the language now, I could at least get by back then.  I remember reading some poetry in French and think I may have even written a short poem in French.  I find the question fascinating, though.  I always wonder when I read a translation how it reads in the original language.  IMO some of the nuance has to be lost since language is such a rich, living thing, that is so varied.  

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Oh, I remember the ghazal. I accidentally wrote it in English and then I remembered AC said we should do it in our first language. That was difficult.  I also translated some poems in English.  So, to answer your question, I write poems in two different languages and can read them in three. 

How I feel about them depends on the poem, I think. Most of the time the original version is the best, although I read some really good translations lately, for example Heine's 'A Winter's Tale'. 

 

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For me it is a lot like Puppilull said. English creates a little distance, which German would never do. I wrote a lot of very personal poems in the last month and if I had not written them in English, I would never have written them at all, because in my mother language I would have been to emotional or I would have been to critical with myself. It freed me to write it down, so I am very thankful for the English language to exist. ;) On the other hand, I miss sometimes the directness of the German. Our words almost always have one meaning and there are very specific terms to describe things. This I really like.

Interesting enough, if I read poetry in Italian, I always hear it in my mind as a song. Brains are peculiar.

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I like this thread, Lyssa! I found myself thinking about Haiku and Tanka in Japanese last night and how some terms like mizu (water) have such poetic gravity they lack in English. Then I realized the term 'waters' has it, but that's because of the King James Version of the Bible... "God moved upon the face of the waters and said..." 

 

Then, right before I drifted to sleep, I considered how compact a language Japanese is and realized it's like Latin in that regard. Hmmmmmm, I wonder how Basho would sound in la linga latina. *rushes off to use google translate* :) 

Edited by AC Benus
deleted repeated words
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I write in Hungarian mostly... That's why I'm not really posting anything new lately. English is a foreign language to me. Sometimes I find it easier to write in English, sometimes when I don't feel a need to put every little detail in...Or when I have some depressing experience. Naturally I prefer my own language...But there's like two people on here who know Hungarian, so wouldn't be much use in posting them.

 

-Translations

 

Yeah... I tried that. Always have the feeling that I lost a little piece of the poem somewhere...I guess all languages have some of their own...uhh...way to express things, and you can't always keep it when you translate it. Oh well. Sorry for the essay. :)

 

 

Just a quick example...I have no idea how to translate this one, so it'd have the same feel to it...

 

 

Hazádnak rendületlenûl
Légy híve, oh magyar;
Bölcsõd az s majdan sírod is,
mely ápol s eltakar.
A nagy világon e kivûl
Nincsen számodra hely;
Áldjon vagy verjen sors keze:
Itt élned, halnod kell.
Ez a föld, melyen annyiszor
Apáid vére folyt;
Ez, melyhez minden szent nevet
Egy ezredév csatolt.
Itt küzdtenek honért a hõs
Árpádnak hadai;
Itt törtek össze rabigát
Hunyadnak karjai.
Szabadság! Itten hordozák
Véres zászlóidat
S elhulltanak legjobbjaink
A hosszu harc alatt.
És annyi balszerencse közt,
Oly sok viszály után,
Megfogyva bár, de törve nem,
Él nemzet e hazán.
S népek hazája, nagy világ!
Hozzád bátran kiált:
„Egy ezredévi szenvedés
Kér éltet vagy halált!”
Az nem lehet, hogy annyi szív
Hiába onta vért,
S keservben annyi hû kebel
Szakadt meg a honért.
Az nem lehet, hogy ész, erõ
És oly szent akarat
Hiába sorvadozzanak
Egy átoksúly alatt.
Még jõni kell, még jõni fog
Egy jobb kor, mely után
Buzgó imádság epedez
Százezrek ajakán.
Vagy jõni fog, ha jõni kell,
A nagyszerû halál,
Hol a temetkezés fölött
Egy ország vérben áll.
S a sírt, hol nemzet sûlyed el,
Népek veszik körûl,
S az ember millióinak
Szemében gyászköny ûl.
Légy híve rendületlenûl
Hazádnak, oh magyar;
Ez éltetõd, s ha elbukál,
Hantjával ez takar.
A nagy világon e kivûl
Nincsen számodra hely;
Áldjon vagy verjen sors keze:
Itt élned, halnod kell.

 


-Vörösmarty Mihály (1800—1855)

Edited by Former Member

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1 hour ago, AC Benus said:

I like this thread, Lyssa! I found myself thinking about Haiku and Tanka in Japanese last night and how some terms like mizu (water) have such poetic gravity they lack in English. Then I realized the term 'waters' has it, but that's because of the King James Version of the Bible... "God moved upon the face of the waters and said..." 

 

Then, right before I drifted to sleep, I considered how compact a language Japanese is and realized it's like Latin in that regard. Hmmmmmm, I wonder how Basho would sound in la linga latina. *rushes off to use google translate* :) 

It is fascinating, how few words you need to write in Latin. :) And aqua holds a lot of gravity for me. Well done.

When I was at school, I would never have thought, that one day I will translate willingly something in this language. But now I enjoy this language.

 

My Latin teacher was just... she refused to talk to our parents, if the had not the Magnum Latinum. One day my father went to her with his Abiturzeugnis  (German certificate of qualification for university matriculation). He put it on her desk and said: There you see, and now we need to talk about your teaching skills. It happens, that I studied science of education.

Edited by Lyssa

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30 minutes ago, Dennis191 said:

I write in Hungarian mostly... That's why I'm not really posting anything new lately. English is a foreign language to me. Sometimes I find it easier to write in English, sometimes when I don't feel a need to put every little detail in...Or when I have some depressing experience. Naturally I prefer my own language...But there's like two people on here who know Hungarian, so wouldn't be much use in posting them.

 

-Translations

 

Yeah... I tried that. Always have the feeling that I lost a little piece of the poem somewhere...I guess all languages have some of their own...uhh...way to express things, and you can't always keep it when you translate it. Oh well. Sorry for the essay. :)

It is interesting, that Puppilull, you and me have in common, that we find it sometimes easier to write in English. :)

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Sometimes telling your problems to a stranger is easier than telling your family. I get the same when writing in English is easier. Maybe you too 

I don't know for sure. 

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Just now, Dennis191 said:

Sometimes telling your problems to a stranger is easier than telling your family. I get the same when writing in English is easier. Maybe you too 

I don't know for sure. 

It is like I wrote before, English creates a little distance for me, which makes it easier to write about my emotions without feeling silly. ;)

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Quick on scene write.

 

A sok kérdés, mint ezernyi nehéz szikla,

Tornyosul az emberiség felett,

Cipekedünk velük nap mint nap,

Válaszokat keresve,

S mikor végre találunk egyet,

Az is újabb kérdéseket vet fel,

Hát így erőlködünk nap mint nap.

 

The many questions, like thousands of heavy rocks towering over humanity, 

We carry them from one spot to another, day after day, searching for answers,

And when we finally find one

That one too brings up more questions,

And thus we struggle day after day.

 

Where that came from...Ghi don't know, it just did. Lol

Edited by Former Member

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7 hours ago, Dennis191 said:

Quick on scene write.

 

A sok kérdés, mint ezernyi nehéz szikla,

Tornyosul az emberiség felett,

Cipekedünk velük nap mint nap,

Válaszokat keresve,

S mikor végre találunk egyet,

Az is újabb kérdéseket vet fel,

Hát így erőlködünk nap mint nap.

 

The many questions, like thousands of heavy rocks towering over humanity, 

We carry them from one spot to another, day after day, searching for answers,

And when we finally find one

That one too brings up more questions,

And thus we struggle day after day.

 

Where that came from...Ghi don't know, it just did. Lol

I think it's powerful - the image of moving rocks from one place to another, fruitless, servile, and when it's done - maybe we simply move them back again. 

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15 hours ago, AC Benus said:

I think it's powerful - the image of moving rocks from one place to another, fruitless, servile, and when it's done - maybe we simply move them back again. 

 

Thanks. :) though I feel like I lost the poetics along the way. I don't know, sounded better in my head...lol

 

And yes, the moment when we realize that there's this long line of generations fighting the same problem, without results, and when you finally think there's some result or hope to solving the problem, you take a step back, and see the big picture is still just a mess....

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When I read google translate I couldn't resist to do to Shakespeare's sonnet 130 what some do to popular songs: I let it translate into German, Maori, Korean, Pashtu, and English again. Here is the result: (With my deepest apologies to William)

original:

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks; 
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
   And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
   As any she belied with false compare. 

 

 

Then my master is nothing of snow;
But more than red coral lips;
If the snow is white, why then its chest is tungsten;
Hair growth on the head black phone call.
I saw the red and white rose pillows
But I can not see that increase on her cheeks;
There is more joy in some kind of oil
Like the breath, the smell of my boss.
How well I know how to listen
This song sounds more enjoyable;
I agree, I have never seen God;
My boss, he came and went to earth
However, I think that my love is rarely public
How to make them all a lie,

 

 



 

Edited by aditus

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5 minutes ago, aditus said:

When I read google translate I couldn't resist to do to Shakespeare's sonnet 130 what do some to popular songs: I let it translate into German, Maori, Korean, Pashtu, and English again. Here is the result: (With my deepest apologies to William)

original:

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks; 
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
   And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
   As any she belied with false compare. 

 

 

Then my master is nothing of snow;
But more than red coral lips;
If the snow is white, why then its chest is tungsten;
Hair growth on the head black phone call.
I saw the red and white rose pillows
But I can not see that increase on her cheeks;
There is more joy in some kind of oil
Like the breath, the smell of my boss.
How well I know how to listen
This song sounds more enjoyable;
I agree, I have never seen God;
My boss, he came and went to earth
However, I think that my love is rarely public
How to make them all a lie,

 

 



 

Wow, that is enlightening.

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Okay, this poem has not left me alone since Lyssa introduced it to me. At first I was puzzled by the modern translations, which make little attempt to sort the images in the verse. Then I found a translation from about 1910, or from when the original was published, and the progress of the poem began to be logical. 

 

It was still not enough, for even on first reading of the work in German I could tell there was greater depth escaping capture in English. (Also, some things were inadvertently funny in translation: 'son of a lama;' 'musk plant throne'.) 

 

Slowly the picture began to build in my head: the poet is lying on the rug, luxuriating, perhaps remembering past times with a lover. The old of of the title conjures both nostalgia and a sense of timelessness. The references of cheek to cheek and 'feet' in the work (which I have interpreted to mean 'heels') places the physical body recumbent on the rug - reinforcing the sensual nature of the experience for the poet. 

 

Here is my attempt to capture both the meaning and feel of the poem. I have had to abandon both metre and rhyme to do it..... What do you think....? Can you feel this poem coming close to the original soul of the work? 

 

 

Ein alter Tibetteppich

von Else Lasker-Schüler

 

Deine Seele, die die meine liebet,

Ist verwirkt mit ihr im Teppichtibet.

 

Strahl in Strahl, verliebte Farben,

Sterne, die sich himmellang umwarben.

 

Unsere Füße ruhen auf der Kostbarkeit,  

Maschentausendabertausendweit.

 

Süßer Lamasohn auf Moschuspflanzenthron,

Wie lange küßt dein Mund den meinen wohl

Und Wang die Wange buntgeknüpfte Zeiten schon?

 

 

———————  

 

 

An old Tibetan rug 

by Else Lasker-Schüler

 

Your soul, the one that loves mine,

Is entwined with it in the Tibetan rug.

 

Warp and woof, color-fast with affection,

Like stars, who’ve mated the length of heaven. 

 

Our heels supported by the interred sumptuousness,

Span a thousand thousand stitches there. 

 

Sweet child of Dharma, upon your jatamansi throne,

How long has your mouth already placed kisses on mine,

And cheek to cheek bound us to all the colors underneath?

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by AC Benus
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1 hour ago, AC Benus said:

Okay, this poem has not left me alone since Lyssa introduced it to me. At first I was puzzled by the modern translations, which make little attempt to sort the images in the verse. Then I found a translation from about 1910, or from when the original was published, and the progress of the poem began to be logical. 

 

It was still not enough, for even on first reading of the work in German I could tell there was greater depth escaping capture in English. (Also, some things were inadvertently funny in translation: 'son of a lama;' 'musk plant throne'.) 

 

Slowly the picture began to build in my head: the poet is lying on the rug, luxuriating, perhaps remembering past times with a lover. The old of of the title conjures both nostalgia and a sense of timelessness. The references of cheek to cheek and 'feet' in the work (which I have interpreted to mean 'heels') places the physical body recumbent on the rug - reinforcing the sensual nature of the experience for the poet. 

 

Here is my attempt to capture both the meaning and feel of the poem. I have had to abandon both metre and rhyme to do it..... What do you think....? Can you feel this poem coming close to the original soul of the work? 

 

 

Ein alter Tibetteppich

von Else Lasker-Schüler

 

Deine Seele, die die meine liebet,

Ist verwirkt mit ihr im Teppichtibet.

 

Strahl in Strahl, verliebte Farben,

Sterne, die sich himmellang umwarben.

 

Unsere Füße ruhen auf der Kostbarkeit,  

Maschentausendabertausendweit.

 

Süßer Lamasohn auf Moschuspflanzenthron,

Wie lange küßt dein Mund den meinen wohl

Und Wang die Wange buntgeknüpfte Zeiten schon?

 

 

———————  

 

 

An old Tibetan rug 

by Else Lasker-Schüler

 

Your soul, the one that loves mine,

Is entwined with it in the Tibetan rug.

 

Warp and woof, color-fast with affection,

Like stars, who’ve mated the length of heaven. 

 

Our heels supported by the interred sumptuousness,

Span a thousand thousand stitches there. 

 

Sweet child of Dharma, upon your jatamansi throne,

How long has your mouth already placed kisses on mine,

And cheek to cheek bound us to all the colors underneath?

 

 

 

 

 

If this is an attempt, I'll be a goner if you get it perfect!  Thank you!

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4 minutes ago, Parker Owens said:

If this is an attempt, I'll be a goner if you get it perfect!  Thank you!

Thanks, Parker. Wouldn't want to knock anybody out with my verses ;) 

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I like it! Maybe Like stars, who’ve mated along the length of heaven. ?  Anyway, what I really regret is that soul is neuter in English. She instead of it would make it more personal. 

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Hmmm...I don't know AC... I don't know... mhm... 

Just teasing you. Lol

 

I always looked at translating as a nightmare. You did a great job here :)

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1 hour ago, AC Benus said:

 

Ein alter Tibetteppich

von Else Lasker-Schüler

 

Deine Seele, die die meine liebet,

Ist verwirkt mit ihr im Teppichtibet.

 

Strahl in Strahl, verliebte Farben,

Sterne, die sich himmellang umwarben.

 

Unsere Füße ruhen auf der Kostbarkeit,  

Maschentausendabertausendweit.

 

Süßer Lamasohn auf Moschuspflanzenthron,

Wie lange küßt dein Mund den meinen wohl

Und Wang die Wange buntgeknüpfte Zeiten schon?

 

 

———————  

 

 

An old Tibetan rug 

by Else Lasker-Schüler

 

Your soul, the one that loves mine,

Is entwined with it in the Tibetan rug.

 

Warp and woof, color-fast with affection,

Like stars, who’ve mated the length of heaven. 

 

Our heels supported by the interred sumptuousness,

Span a thousand thousand stitches there. 

 

Sweet child of Dharma, upon your jatamansi throne,

How long has your mouth already placed kisses on mine,

And cheek to cheek bound us to all the colors underneath?

 

 

 

 

 

Hi AC, very impressive! :worship: Else Lasker-Schüler invented a lot of new words in German in this poem at it is really hard to understand in German and a Masterpiece to translate.

 

Some words do not seem to get the intend exactly. So I want to take the opportunity to discuss, because it can easily be, that I miss a second meaning or subtle layer of a word in English.

"Strahl in Strahl" is on the one hand translated correctly, but has another layer of meaning in German, more like ray. But in German the vers lives on the double meaning and I don`t know an English word, that fits for both. I wish there was a way to translate "verliebt", but I think your version covers it.

The verse: Our heels supported by the interred sumptuousness.

Is one which is really difficult to translate. In German we have a saying: To loose ground under your feet. If you get surprised be events, or don`t know what to do. or loose it because of your love. And in the literature they are relatively sure and I would agree, that she meant with "the feet which rest", that their relationship is very secure and so as the rug stands for the loving relationship. It is a treasure in two ways, as a sumptuous rug and as a treasure its self, because such relationships are so rare. In the end I am not sure, if sumptuousness covers this all. But nevertheless I am impressed and feel honored, that the poem, I brought to you, fascinated you the way, it does. Hugs Lyssa

:2thumbs:

 

Edited by Lyssa

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27 minutes ago, aditus said:

I like it! Maybe Like stars, who’ve mated along the length of heaven. ?  Anyway, what I really regret is that soul is neuter in English. She instead of it would make it more personal. 

I grappled with 'her' in the second line, but decided it was too vague to relate it to 'soul' for the reader 

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