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Poems in different languages


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I always loved 'enamoured' for verliebt. Maybe because their's amour in the word. It's British English, I believe.

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When I write in English, I write in my native tongue, for English has become Indian the same way Farsi has become Indian. Even then, there are a lot of constructs in my writing that may seem too obscure to an Englishman. In any case, English is the "foreign" language that I mostly write in. My own mother tongue Bangla is actually the second language I wrote poetry in. I am blessed with the fact that I was born in India, a country with thousands and thousands of years of history of multitude of languages & literary achievements. Bangla itself has a history that span twelve hundred years, and due to the fact that the English had made Bengal their seat for power for most of their reign and also the numerous small encampments of hosts of various East India Companies, Bangla has been exposed to all major European Cultures and their literary devices. It has the biggest number of loan words from the different European languages, amongst all the Indian languages. In the late nineteenth century during the Bengali Renaissance, a lot of the known western forms of poetry were introduced to Bangla. Thus, reading a sonnet or a free verse, a limerick or a rhyme etc etc in Bangla is an ordinary occurrence. Growing up I was exposed to all this, from the mystical orientalism of Sanskrit to the diverse occidentalism of Bangla, all the while being fine tuned to the songs of the soil. And how can I forget English, my first love, my muse! 

 

I do feel a significant change of tone while writing in either of the languages. However, I unconsciously have introduced, on a number of occasions, certain intonations that bear a more subtle expression for the native reader, all the while being an excursion for the other, and vice versa. I believe a veil is necessary to guard the heart of the poetry. And such a delicate veil is only possible by introduction of exotic loan words that may seem over-indulgent to the bystander. A good example of this is the use of the word "Jatamansi" in the AC Benus translation above.  I don't suppose a lot of us knew the meaning of this or how it relates to the poem before googling it. And the beauty of it lies in that veil of mystery. What a beautiful gem it is! Thus, as a bilingual poet and multilingual reader I believe strongly in the different expressionism of different languages, that results into the various efficiency and inefficiency of capturing a certain human emotion or experience by a poet irrespective of their level of competency.  

Edited by asamvav111
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  • 1 month later...

I posted some of my transactions of Tanka here. There is one where I have both the original (in Roman letters) and my translation of it. This one :) 

 

No. 55 by Kintoh

 

Taki no oto wa
Taeta hisashiku
Naru nuredo
Na koso nagarete
Noa kikoe kere.

 

-----------------

 

This waterfall's sound
Stands falling in my memory;
Its respiration,
Heard so long away from here,
Now in my hearing trickles.

 

-----------------

 

I love the original so very much, as the words sound like moving water. It's a masterpiece. 

Edited by AC Benus
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Just now, AC Benus said:

I posted some of my transactions of Tanka here. There is one where I have both the original (in Roman letters) and my translation of it. This one :) 

 

No. 55 by Kintoh

 

Taki no oto wa
Taeta hisashiku
Narnuredo
Na koso nagarete
Noa kikoe kere.

 

-----------------

 

This waterfall's sound
Stands falling in my memory;
Its respiration,
Heard so long away from here,
Now in my hearing trickles.

 

-----------------

 

I love the original so very much, as the words sound like moving water. It's a masterpiece. 

This is wonderful. So much longing for something that once was... describes my mood in the moment perfectly. Thanks for sharing.

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38 minutes ago, Lyssa said:

This is wonderful. So much longing for something that once was... describes my mood in the moment perfectly. Thanks for sharing.

My pleasure, Lyssa 

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Jeder der geht, belehrt uns ein bisschen über uns selber..... Hilde Dormin

 

Everyone who leaves, teaches us a little bit about our selves.

 

I like this thought from Hilde Dormin. It is a much longer poem, but this line fits so many occasions.

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1 hour ago, Lyssa said:

Jeder der geht, belehrt uns ein bisschen über uns selber..... Hilde Dormin

 

Everyone who leaves, teaches us a little bit about our selves.

 

I like this thought from Hilde Dormin. It is a much longer poem, but this line fits so many occasions.

It certainly does. :) 

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On 4/26/2017 at 10:44 AM, Lyssa said:

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:

 

You hit on one of the most challenging things for me to come to grips with in my version of the poem. Strahl in Strahl has variously been rendered as a "Ray in ray," or "Beam in beam" to play up the connection to starlight mentioned soon afterwards, but I just found those images too far afield, since the poet is still focusing on the rug in this line. "Strand upon strand" is probably the translation that bears the closet poetical weight to the original, but I still opted for warp and woof to work with all the notions of color and light (and stitching) in the poem. 

 

That was hard. So was thinking about the lama's son and which musk plant was being mentioned specifically. I think I'll continue that line of thought on Sas' comment :) 

 

Thanks again Lyssa!  

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On 4/26/2017 at 11:08 AM, aditus said:

I always loved 'enamoured' for verliebt. Maybe because their's amour in the word. It's British English, I believe.

Enamored is a perfectly good North American word. Remember, as far as conservatism with the language, Americans still use a lot that the Brits have tossed on the rubbish heap ;) 

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2 minutes ago, AC Benus said:

Enamored is a perfectly good North American word. Remember, as far as conservatism with the language, Americans still use a lot that the Brits have tossed on the rubbish heap ;) 

Oh yes, I remember talking extensively with zombie about the 'rubbish heap'. Very interesting and funny. Like 'gotten', British English says it's got now, but they still use forgotten. :huh:

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On 4/26/2017 at 11:08 AM, aditus said:

I always loved 'enamoured' for verliebt. Maybe because their's amour in the word. It's British English, I believe.

But sorry, you meant use 'enamoration' in the translation of the poem... Ummm, that was not working for me, although I do recall past translations had mostly used some form of enamor. 

Edited by AC Benus
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Just now, aditus said:

Oh yes, I remember talking extensively with zombie about the 'rubbish heap'. Very interesting and funny. Like 'gotten', British English says it's got now, but they still use forgotten. :huh:

Oh yes, our English Cousins are very cavalier with the language.... hehe, because it's true. 

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6 minutes ago, AC Benus said:

But sorry, you meant use 'enamoration' in the translation of the poem... Ummm, that was not working for me, although I do recall past translation had mostly used some form of enamor. 

Are we talking  about the Else Lasker Schüler Poem? 'verliebte Farben' would be 'colors enamored'; or 'enamored colors'

And I was just talking with Lyssa about the word 'verliebt' and a fitting translation in English. :) 

Edited by aditus
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On 4/27/2017 at 4:35 AM, asamvav111 said:

When I write in English, I write in my native tongue, for English has become Indian the same way Farsi has become Indian. Even then, there are a lot of constructs in my writing that may seem too obscure to an Englishman. In any case, English is the "foreign" language that I mostly write in. My own mother tongue Bangla is actually the second language I wrote poetry in. I am blessed with the fact that I was born in India, a country with thousands and thousands of years of history of multitude of languages & literary achievements. Bangla itself has a history that span twelve hundred years, and due to the fact that the English had made Bengal their seat for power for most of their reign and also the numerous small encampments of hosts of various East India Companies, Bangla has been exposed to all major European Cultures and their literary devices. It has the biggest number of loan words from the different European languages, amongst all the Indian languages. In the late nineteenth century during the Bengali Renaissance, a lot of the known western forms of poetry were introduced to Bangla. Thus, reading a sonnet or a free verse, a limerick or a rhyme etc etc in Bangla is an ordinary occurrence. Growing up I was exposed to all this, from the mystical orientalism of Sanskrit to the diverse occidentalism of Bangla, all the while being fine tuned to the songs of the soil. And how can I forget English, my first love, my muse! 

 

I do feel a significant change of tone while writing in either of the languages. However, I unconsciously have introduced, on a number of occasions, certain intonations that bear a more subtle expression for the native reader, all the while being an excursion for the other, and vice versa. I believe a veil is necessary to guard the heart of the poetry. And such a delicate veil is only possible by introduction of exotic loan words that may seem over-indulgent to the bystander. A good example of this is the use of the word "Jatamansi" in the AC Benus translation above.  I don't suppose a lot of us knew the meaning of this or how it relates to the poem before googling it. And the beauty of it lies in that veil of mystery. What a beautiful gem it is! Thus, as a bilingual poet and multilingual reader I believe strongly in the different expressionism of different languages, that results into the various efficiency and inefficiency of capturing a certain human emotion or experience by a poet irrespective of their level of competency.  

I think there is some lovely information here. You mentioned jatamansi, so I think I can talk just a (tiny ;)) bit about why I chose that term. 

 

This is a total guess on my part, but I speculated the poet's 'musk plant' was a rendering of the plant commonly known as spikenard in Europe. And that's interesting (to me, at least...), because the original spikenard was jatamansi, and its perfumed essential oil was more valuable than gold. It's jatamansi that is spread on the feet of Jesus when his followers protested about the extravagant waste of money. They wanted to sell it and feed the poor, to which the prophet rather famously replied "Let her honor me now; the poor will always be with you." 

 

So why didn't I use "spikenard" in the poem? Because, 99% of what is referred to as spikenard in Europe is not jatmansi at all. Always a remarkably valuable commodity, at some point a wily entrepure discovered a European plant that bore a faint (very faint...) fragrance like jatmansi. It was cultivated and over the centuries became the only spikenard people knew. 

 

I love the real stuff. I can get essential oil of jatamansi from Oregon Rose Company, and I add it to soap. What a glorious fragrance, and it puts me in touch with the man of the beautiful feet. :) 

 

 

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Well I'm no poet or an expert but I can tell you that when it comes to poetry for me it always felt more real in Serbian. Now this could be because its my 1st language or that I just had more experience with poetry in Serbian then in English. But idk English never seemed as fluent to me (in comparison) and the words never seemed to move me as much as they did in Serbian. The only times I felt moved by English poetry was when I herd it read out loud and that might be because of the emotion in the readers voice. Now its not that I think English poetry is bad, don't get me wrong. I'm just saying that personally for me it doesn't have the same impact.

I did attempt writing a few poems for one of my stories (cuz there was a poem in the story) and boy was it a struggle. But I managed to write a decent enough poem in Serbian but in English I just couldn't do it. I found that for me Serbian tended to be cheesy at worse and English tended to be too simple and overall lacking and when I tried to fill it up a bit and make it more poetic it just came off as pretentious and excessive. But like I said I'm no poet. But Serbian did feel more natural to me.

That being said I do prefer writing English in prose and there it feels more natural. Weird...

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I just want to share to poems by Rose Ausländer, which I really like.

I hope my translation went well.

 

Noch bist du da

Wirf deine Angst
in die Luft

Bald
ist deine Zeit um


bald

wächst der Himmel
unter dem Gras
fallen deine Träume
ins Nirgends

 

Noch

duftet die Nelke
singt die Drossel
noch darfst du lieben

Worte verschenken
noch bist du da

 

Sei was du bist
Gib was du hast

 

You’re here, still

Throw your fear
into the air

Soon
your time is over


soon
heaven grows
under the grass
your dreams fall
into emptiness

 

Still
the cloves spreads her scent
the thrush sings

still you may love
endow words away
you are here, still

 

Be what you are
Give what you have

 

Raum II

 

Noch ist Raum
für ein Gedicht.
Ein Gedicht ist ein Raum
Wo man atmen kann.

 

Room II

There is still a room

for a poem.

A poem is a room,

where you can draw breath.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Lyssa said:

I just want to share to poems by Rose Ausländer, which I really like.

I hope my translation went well.

 

Noch bist du da

Wirf deine Angst
in die Luft

Bald
ist deine Zeit um


bald

wächst der Himmel
unter dem Gras
fallen deine Träume
ins Nirgends

 

Noch

duftet die Nelke
singt die Drossel
noch darfst du lieben

Worte verschenken
noch bist du da

 

Sei was du bist
Gib was du hast

 

You’re here, still

Throw your fear
into the air

Soon
your time is over


soon
heaven grows
under the grass
your dreams fall
into emptiness

 

Still
the cloves spreads her scent
the thrush sings

still you may love
endow words away
you are here, still

 

Be what you are
Give what you have

 

Raum II

 

Noch ist Raum
für ein Gedicht.
Ein Gedicht ist ein Raum
Wo man atmen kann.

 

Room II

There is still a room

for a poem.

A poem is a room,

where you can draw breath.

 

 

I particularly connect with the Room II poem; it's profound. 

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3 hours ago, Lyssa said:

Room II

There is still a room

for a poem.

A poem is a room,

where you can draw breath.

 

this is breathtaking.. literally . it took a moment

 

thank you for this, Sis xo

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Just now, Mikiesboy said:

 

this is breathtaking.. literally . it took a moment

 

thank you for this, Sis xo

My pleasure my sweet brother. Thank you for bringing poetry to my life in the way you did.  xoxo

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  • 2 weeks later...

For a fun challenge, how about I post this particular poem (written in French by a famous German person...) and we all make our own translations of it? 

 

We'll set a week's time to work on it. Any interest in the project...? :) 

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