Wednesday, January 20, 2010

a man for all seasons: 1907

i have done very little translating but i did once write an essay on it, and the devilish difficulty of it as an art. i now know whereof i spoke.

in another of his inspirations from the japanese, hoytema added poetry to this year's images. i was half-way through google-translating them when i realized that in the dutch, they rhymed.

so part of my englishifying them was once or twice looking for the rhyme, but more often sifting through what i thought they were to have meant, and making more clear the connotations in english. corrections will be welcomed. many of them just don't make sense to me, but i like them anyway.

Hear how the gray thrush called,
"Who called?" "Who called?" "Who called?"

The sparrows call from their branch:
"Spiou, spiou, spialak!"
or from the high tree top:
"Tsjaki, tsjaki, tsjakop!"

The duck calls with its flat beak:
and from the shore:
"Croak, croak, croak, croak, croak!"

Shouted suddenly from the wood,
"Green gold, gold, gray, yellow gold!"

From the flowering branch,
the thrush sings with all his might.

The Oriole lures in a foreign language:
"Guadatleadaal, guadatleadaal!"
but jays like him understand:
"Fluaidaat, fluaidaat!"

The redshank glides o'er the fields each hour:
"Tureluur, tureluur, tureluur!"

The magpie calls from the forest:
"Do the door, sweetheart, do the door again!"

Still leaves sounds go through the reeds:
"Quits, quits, - carts, carts, - quits, quits, quits!"

Though most birds migrate away;
the blue heron and the siskin stay.

Now pull it back through the dark night,
the softest sounds: "luwiet," "loewite."

From snow outside the house of men
sounds the clear song of the wren.

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