Sunday, March 18, 2012

Your Sunday Poem

This lovely piece by Osip Mandelstam, translated from the Russian by Christian Wiman, from the April 2012 Atlantic magazine. 

The Necklace

Take, from my palms, for joy, for ease,
A little honey, a little sun,
That we may obey Persephone's bees.

You can't untie a boat unmoored.
Fur-shod shadows can't be heard,
Nor terror, in this life, mastered.

Love, what's left for us, and of us, is this
Living remnant, loving revenant, brief kiss
Like a bee flying completed dying hiveless

To find in the forest's heart a home,
Night's never-ending hum,
Thriving on meadowsweet, mind, and time.

Take, for all that is good, for all that is gone,
That it may lie rough and real against your collarbone,
This string of bees, that once turned honey into sun. 


Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful stringing of words, each line alone a treasure. That this could even be translated is ... huge. This poem deserves better praise, but that would take a poet!

Churadogs said...

It is an amazing piece, and ou're right. Translation is truly an art form.

Bev. De Witt-Moylan said...

If hip translations intrigue you, a book called LOVE POEMS FROM GOD: Twelve Sacred Voices From East and West by Daniel Ladinsky could arrest your attention.

Churadogs said...

Bev: "Hip" translations> Now what's intriguing. . . Hip? Like, "April, man, is like the waaaay coolest month. . . not"

I'll check it out.

Alon Perlman said...

There are now fairly good translation programs, I find google translate to be the best. I used to think that poetry could not be translated well, even by fluent speakers of origin and intended language, but this I now question.
This is what Google translate gives raw translating zymbruska:
Woven Dog Monologue
the history of the dogs, and dogs. I was a dog of your choice.
I had good papers and wolf blood in his veins.
I lived on the plateau breathing in the scents views of lakes in the sun, the spruce trees after rain, and clods of earth from under the snow.

I had a decent home and people in the service I was fed, washed, brushed,
output of the beautiful walks.
However, with respect, no intimacy.
Each well-remembered, whomsoever I am a dog.

Any old mangy mutt can have a master.
But beware-wara of comparison.
My master was a master of one of a kind.
He was impressive herd of walking behind him step by step and staring at him with fearful awe.

The source: first page of “monologue of a dog”-
Monolog psa zaplatanego
w dzieje Sa psy i psy. Ja bylem psem wybranym.
Mialem dobre papiery i w zylach krew wilcza.
Mieszkalem na wyzynie wdychajac wonie widoków na laki w sloncu, na swierki po deszczu i grudy ziemi spod sniegu.

Mialem porzadny dom i ludzi na uslugi bylem zywiony, myty, szczotkowany,
wyprowadzany na piekne spacery.
Jednak z szacunkiem, bez poufalosci.
Kazdy dobrze pamietal, czyim jestem psem.

Byle parszywy kundel potrafi miec pana.
Ale uwaga-wara od porównan.
Mój pan byl panem jedynym w swoim rodzaju.
Mial okazale stado chodzace za nim krok w krok i zapatrzone w niego z lekliwym podziwem.