Poetry in Translation 2017

Poetry in Translation 2017

June 26, 2017 Competitions Poetry in Translation 0

Photo Source: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/bei-dao

 

This year is the second year we have run the Poetry in Translation Competition.

We were delighted by the high quality of these translations. This did make it very hard to choose a winner.

Nina Liu (KD) is  the Competition Winner for her translation from Mandarin of  Bei Dao’s poem A visitor from Poland.

 Second place goes toAnna Poddi (BR) for her translation Soap Bubble by Gian Luca Sechi.

Third place goes to Bear Hastilow (MO) for his translation of Prévert.


1st Place

波兰来客

北岛 (Bei Dao)

那时我们有梦,
关于文学,关于爱情
关于穿越世界的旅行。
如今我们深夜饮酒,
杯子碰到一起,
都是梦破碎的声音。

A Visitor from Poland

Translated by Nina Liu (KD)

We had rose-tinted dreams sometime,
Of literature, of love,
Of going on a journey worldwide.
We now squander wine into the dark night.
The clattering of solitary tumblers hide,
The shattering of fragmentary dreams spread wide.


2nd Place

Bolla di Sapone

Gian Luca Sechi

Con un soffio,
Gesto così delicato
E spensierato,
Hai voluto crearmi
E per diletto
Hai continuato a guardarmi
Mentre il tuo respiro mi allontanava
E, mentre ancor vicino,
Specchiavi il tuo viso
Ero felice del tuo sorriso
Senza capire,
Perso nel volo
Sempre più lontano
Bramando il tuo tocco;
Senza sapere
Che mi avrebbe ucciso
In un istante
Giacché non ero
Per te
Che uguale
A tutte le altre.

Soap Bubble

Translated by Anna Poddi (WL)

 

With one blow,
An ever so delicate and carefree gesture,
You decided to create me
And with delight
You continued to watch me
While each breath continued to drive me further
And, while close,
You admired your reflection
I was happy because of your smile
Without understanding,
Lost in flight
Always further
Craving your touch;
Without knowing
That it would have killed me
In an instant
After all I wasn’t
For you
I was just like
All the other ones.


3rd Place

Déjeuner du matin

Jacques Prévert

Il a mis le café
Dans la tasse
Il a mis le lait
Dans la tasse de café
Il a mis le sucre
Dans le café au lait
Avec la petite cuiller
Il a tourné
Il a bu le café au lait
Et il a reposé la tasse
Sans me parler
Il a allumé
Une cigarette
Il a fait des ronds
Avec la fumée
Il a mis les cendres
Dans le cendrier
Sans me parler
Sans me regarder
Il s’est levé
Il a mis
Son chapeau sur sa tête
Il a mis
Son manteau de pluie
Parce qu’il pleuvait
Et il est parti
Sous la pluie
Sans une parole
Sans me regarder
Et moi j’ai pris
Ma tête dans ma main  Et j’ai pleuré.

Morning Lunch

Translated by Bear Hastilow

He put the coffee
In the cup
He put the milk
In the cup of coffee
He put the sugar
In the café au lait
With a little spoon
He stirred it 
He drank the café au lait
And he put down the cup
Without talking to me
He lit
A cigarette
He made rings
With the smoke
He put the ash
In the ashtray
Without talking to me without looking at me
He got up
He put
His hat on his head
He put
His rain coat on
Because it was raining
And he left
In the rain
Without a word without a look
And I took
My head in my hand
And wept…


Тот Цветок

Татьяна Шубина

Как упрямо весна, как упрямо
Помнит каждый земной уголок;
И на свалке – у ямы, у ямы
Лепестки отворяет цветок.

Ну скажи, что не нужен, не нужен!
Ну скажи, что напрасен весь труд.
Ну скажи, что у ямы, у лужи
Его завтра машины сотрут.

Но качаясь, качаясь сегодня,
Как читая неведомый стих,
Он так счастлив, что землю бы поднял
На шершавых листочках своих.

Он так счастлив своей сверхзадачей
Наши зимние души будить,
Чтобы мы, ненавидя и плача,
Не устали любить.

That Flower

Translated by Alexandra Mikhalenko

Spring so stubbornly tends to remember
Every corner of our Earth.
At the junkyard, yet looking so tender,
There’s a flower, just starting its growth.

You just tell it that it has no purpose!
You just tell it, it’s wasting it’s time.
That tomorrow, on puddly surface
Crushed by cars it will wither and die!

But today, just today, while still living,
Quoting poems, unknown and brief,
It’s so happy, it might well be lifting
the whole planet with petals and leafs.

It’s so happy with task it was given,
To wake up every wintery soul,
So that we, even hating and grieving,
Would remember to love above all. 


La Guitarra

Federico García Lorca

Empieza el llanto
de la guitarra.
se rompen las copas
de la madrugada.
Empieza el llanto
de la guitarra.
Es inútil
callarla.
Es imposible
callarla.
Llora monótona
como llora el agua,
como llora el viento
sobre la nevada.
Es imposible
callarla.
Llora por cosas
lejanas.
Arena del Sur caliente
que pide camelias blancas.
Llora flecha sin blanco,
la tarde sin mañana,
y el primer pájaro muerto
sobre la rama.
¡Oh guitarra!
Corazón malherido
por cinco espadas.

The Guitar

Translated by Patrick Crowley (MO)

The weeping
of the guitar begins.
The cups of dawn
are broken.
The weeping
of the guitar begins.
It is useless to silence it.
It is impossible
to silence it.
It cries, monotonously,
as the waters cry,
as the wind cries
over the snowfall.
It is impossible
to silence it.
It weeps for distant things.
Sand of the warm south
asking for white camellias.
It cries for the arrow without a target,
evening without morning,
and the first dead bird
on the branch.
Oh, guitar!
Heart wounded
by five swords.


Die Ratten

Georg Trakl

In Hof scheint weiß der herbstliche Mond.
Vom Dachrand fallen phantastische Schatten.
Ein Schweigen in leeren Fenstern wohnt;
Da tauchen leise herauf die Ratten.

Und huschen pfeifend hier und dort
Und ein gräulicher Dunsthauch wittert
Ihnen nach aus dem Abort,
Den geisterhaft der Mondschein durchzittert.

Und sie keifen vor Gier wie toll
Und erfüllen Haus und Scheunen,
Die von Korn und Früchten voll.
Eisige Winde im Dunkel greinen.

The Rats

Translated by Sebastian Braw-Smith (GL)

At the farm the autumn moon is shining whitely.
From the edge of the roof fall fantastic shadows.
Silence lives in the empty windows;
Then the rats appear quietly.

And run around whistling here and there
And the small grey haze follows
Them from the lavatory,
And the moonshine trembles through the lavatory.

And they catch like crazy out of greed
They fill house and barn,
That are full of grains and fruit.
Icy winds wimper in the dark.


Già la pioggia è con noi

Salvatore Quasimodo

Già la pioggia è con noi,
Scuote l’aria silenziosa.
Le rondini sfiorano le acque spente
Presso i laghetti lombardi,
Volano come gabbiani sui piccoli pesci;
Il fieno odora oltre i recinti degli orti.

Ancora un anno è bruciato,
Senza un lamento, senza un grido
Levato a vincere d’improvviso in un giorno.

Already The Rain Is With Us

Translated by Anna Poddi (BR)

Already the rain is with us,
Shaking the silent air.
The swallows skim the dull waters
Of the small Lombardy lakes,
They fly like seagulls over small fish;
The perfume of hay, past the fences of the fields.

Another year has burnt away,
Without a lament, without a cry
Raised to win suddenly in a day.


Gedichte II

Heinrich Heine

Ich weiß nicht was soll es bedeuten,
Daß ich so traurig bin;
Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten,
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.

Die Luft ist kühl und es dunkelt,
Und ruhig fließt der Rhein;
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt
Im Abendsonnenschein.

Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
Dort oben wunderbar;
Ihr goldnes Geschmeide blitzet,
Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar.

Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme
Und singt ein Lied dabei;
Das hat eine wundersame,
Gewaltige Melodei.

Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe
Ergreift es mit wildem Weh;
Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe,
Er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh.

Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
Am Ende Schiffer und Kahn;
Und das hat mir ihrem Singen
Die Lore-Ley getan.

Poetry II

Translated by Sebastian Braw-Smith (GL)

I do not know what it is supposed to mean,
That I am so sad;
A tale from old times,
Cannot leave my mind.

The air is cool and it is getting darker,
And the Rhine is flowing peacefully;
The top of the mountain sparkles
In the sunshine of the evening.

The most beautiful maiden is sitting
Up there, wonderfully;
Her golden jewels glimmer,
She combs her golden hair

She combs with a golden comb
Accompanying herself with a song;
It has a wonderful,
Enormous melody.

It reaches the sailor in his small boat
With wild pain;
He does not look to the cliffs,
He only looks up to the sky.

I believe, that at the end the waves will swallow
The sailor and his boat;
And that is what the Lore-Ley
Has done with her singing.


Le Cancre

Jacques Prévert

Il dit non avec la tête
Mais il dit oui avec le cœur
Il dit oui à ce qu’il aime
Il dit non au professeur
Il est debout
On le questionne
Et tous les problèmes sont posés
Soudain le fou rire le prend
Et il efface tout
Les chiffres et les mots
Les dates et les noms
Les phrases et les pièges
Et malgré les menaces du maître
Sous les huées des enfants prodiges
Avec des craies de toutes les couleurs
Sur le tableau noir du malheur
Il dessine le visage du bonheur.

The Dunce

Translated by Cordelia Cha (WL)

He says no with his head
But he says yes with his heart 
He says yes to what he likes 
But he says no to the teacher 
He is standing 
It is questioned 
And all the problems are asked 
Suddenly laughter takes over 
And all is gone 
The numbers and the words 
The dates and the names 
The phrases and the traps 
And in spite of the threats of the teacher 
Among the boos of the children 
With chalks of all colours 
On the blackboard of misfortune
It draws the face of happiness 


Le Cancre

Jacques Prévert

Il dit non avec la tête
Mais il dit oui avec le cœur
Il dit oui à ce qu’il aime
Il dit non au professeur
Il est debout
On le questionne
Et tous les problèmes sont posés
Soudain le fou rire le prend
Et il efface tout
Les chiffres et les mots
Les dates et les noms
Les phrases et les pièges
Et malgré les menaces du maître
Sous les huées des enfants prodiges
Avec des craies de toutes les couleurs
Sur le tableau noir du malheur
Il dessine le visage du bonheur.

The Dunce

Translated by Hiwa Iltemis (CY)

He says no with his head
But he says yes with his heart
He says yes to those that he likes
But he says no to the teacher
He is standing
We question him
And all the problems are posed
Sudden mad laughter takes over him
And he erases it all
The numbers and the words
The dates and the names
The sentences and the traps
And despite the threats of the teachers
Beneath the jeers of the child prodigies
With chalks of all colours
On the blackboard of misfortune
He draws a face of happiness


Ponctuation

Maurice Carême

Ce n’est pas pour me vanter,
Disait la virgule,
Mais, sans mon jeu de pendule,
Les mots, tels des somnambules,
Ne feraient que se heurter.

C’est possible, dit le point.
Mais je règne, moi,
Et les grandes majuscules,
Se moquent toutes de toi,
Et de ta queue minuscule.

Ne soyez pas ridicules,
Dit le point-virgule,
On vous voit moins que la trace
De fourmis sur une glace.
Cessez vos conciliabules,

Ou tous deux, je vous remplace!

Punctuation

Translated by Emily Spens (JR)

This is not for me to boast,
Said the comma,
But, without my game of time,
The words, like sleepwalkers,
Would hit each other.

It’s possible, says the full stop.
But me, I rule,
And the capital letters
All make fun of you
And of your tiny tail.

Don’t be ridiculous,
Says the semi-colon,
We see you as less than the mark
Of ants on an ice cream.
Cease your discussions.
Or I will replace both of you!


Ponctuation

Maurice Carême

Ce n’est pas pour me vanter,
Disait la virgule,
Mais, sans mon jeu de pendule,
Les mots, tels des somnambules,
Ne feraient que se heurter.

C’est possible, dit le point.
Mais je règne, moi,
Et les grandes majuscules,
Se moquent toutes de toi,
Et de ta queue minuscule.

Ne soyez pas ridicules,
Dit le point-virgule,
On vous voit moins que la trace
De fourmis sur une glace.
Cessez vos conciliabules,

Ou tous deux, je vous remplace!

Punctuation

Translated by Cissy Williamson (MT)

It is not for me to boast,
But without my pendulum game,
The words are such sleepwalkers,
They would only collide.

It is possible, said the full stop.
But, I reign, me,
And the capital letters
They all mock you
And your tiny tail.

Don’t be ridiculous,
Says the semi-colon,
You are seen less than a trance
Of ants under a glass.
Stop your conspiracies.
Or, you two, I will replace you!