Can Poetry be Translated?

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Re: Can Poetry be Translated?

Postby Braininvat on October 13th, 2015, 1:18 pm 

Merci, Marshall. I hadn't yet located the original French text. Yes, your translation makes more sense. Now I'm not confusing the oxen with whales. Though, as it turns out, modern genetic analysis has pointed to whales being descended from a coastal herbivore species that was similar to a cow. Land mammals that returned to the sea due to unusual selective pressures, I gather. But I digress. And it's time for me to go strain my lunch plankton.
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Re: Can Poetry be Translated?

Postby Marshall on October 13th, 2015, 2:09 pm 

Yes, I'll bring forward the suggested alternative translation. Baleen, the whale's plankton strainer, is not so apt.
Marshall » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:40 am wrote:Non loin, quelques boeufs blancs, couchés parmi les herbes,
Bavent avec lenteur sur leurs fanons épais,
Et suivent de leurs yeux languissants et superbes
Le songe intérieur qu'ils n'achèvent jamais.


fanons? baleen?

The fanon is a kind of BIB that the pope wears when celebrating mass.
http://www.nordicneedle.net/newsletter- ... l-regalia/
It can be a wide circular collar which he sticks his head thru and comes down over his chest.

If an ox were couched in grass, chewing his cud, his drool would come down over his chin and over the folds of skin around his neck and possibly over part of his CHEST

here is an alternative:

Not far away, some white oxen lying in the grass,
Drool slowly DOWN THEIR HEAVY NECKS
And follow with their languid and superb eyes
The inner dream they never complete.
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Re: Can Poetry be Translated?

Postby vivian maxine on October 13th, 2015, 3:27 pm 

henriette, my apologies on "emotions" and "message". I did not like those words either but I could not think of the words I wanted. I just gave up and put those hoping you'd understand what I meant. The "spirit" of the poem, maybe? Sometimes, words escape me at just the wrong moment.

Google does amazingly well. They are a pretty good source in general.
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Re: Can Poetry be Translated?

Postby DragonFly on October 13th, 2015, 5:43 pm 

vivian maxine » October 13th, 2015, 3:27 pm wrote:Google does amazingly well.


Yes, for languages kind of related to English, but when I put Omar's Arabic into it it came out really terrible and mostly unusable, so I resorted to seeing what all the human translations had in common for the gist of each quatrain, around which pearl I tried to make everything else to be new, such as the rhymes and all that, plus a certain flavor to keep also.
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Re: Can Poetry be Translated?

Postby Positor on October 14th, 2015, 4:47 am 

DragonFly » October 13th, 2015, 6:01 pm wrote:Poems are renderings of the soul’s spirit,
The highest power of language and wit.
The reader then translates back to spirit;
If the soul responds, then a poem you’ve writ!

We cannot hope to match the canon's greats
Like Shakespeare, Milton, Tennyson and Yeats,
For few of us possess the combination
Of sound technique and ardent inspiration.
Such qualities are rare, and rarer still
Compounded with a fine translating skill
The like of which FitzGerald brought to bear
On sage Khayyam's imaginative flair.
We amateurs, whose art is clearly worse,
Purvey not Poetry, but merely Verse.
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Re: Can Poetry be Translated?

Postby DragonFly on October 14th, 2015, 12:16 pm 

The fumes of ageless rhyme from ancient times
Waft from the Persian verse, as some chimes
New are mixed with the spirit of the old,
Deftly transmogrified for Victorian climes.

Through the Rubàiyàt, I sense enchantment,
Essence distilled of the translator’s scent.
Recomposed from Khayyàm’s dust and spirit,
Potent elixirs escape interment!

Your spirit wanders ‘long the Persian way
With an houri, life’s nows to drink away,
In some sweet wood, far from the noise of day,
Where with her you yet live, sing, laugh, and play.

Life is a web, of whos, whys, whats, and hows,
Stretched in time between eternal boughs.
Gossamer threads bear the beads that glisten,
Each moment a sequence of instant nows.
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Re: Can Poetry be Translated?

Postby vivian maxine on October 14th, 2015, 3:18 pm 

Dragonfly, do you have these poems in book form? They are well worth saving.
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Re: Can Poetry be Translated?

Postby DragonFly on October 14th, 2015, 5:02 pm 

vivian maxine » October 14th, 2015, 3:18 pm wrote:Dragonfly, do you have these poems in book form? They are well worth saving.


You can see all the book pages here:

https://austintorney.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/austins-golden-rubaiyat-revealed/


And here's a long poem about the lore and legends of the flowers:

https://austintorney.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/flora-symbolica-lore-and-legends-of-the-flowers-art-scapes-and-video/


And there's all kinds of other stuff if you look around the blog.
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Re: Can Poetry be Translated?

Postby vivian maxine on October 14th, 2015, 5:23 pm 

All right. Thank you.
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Re: Can Poetry be Translated?

Postby henriette on October 16th, 2015, 1:57 am 

Dear,
The points where google.translate failed to translate this so famous French poem by Leconte de Lisle only result from technical errors that may be further corrected.
Because the mystery of Poetry is somewhat unveiled by the issue of translating poems, one may note that "white oxens" could have be replaced, though with fewer elegance, by "pachyderms", "bovine", "mammal" or whatever other technical wording, but without impoverishing the translation. Also, the ideas developed here by the poet are very basic and wouldn't deserve any attention in another context. Hence the translation of this poem illustrates that the poetry inside is neither about wording nor about ideas.

My best guest, this is a mere opinion at this step, is that the intractable issue of translating poems suggests that poetry is about pure knowledge while emotions of and messages are only intermediate tools.


Another near automatic translation

June 45, murder at the cheery tree

June at home is cherry season,
Washed sky, light breeze,
Passing on the greenish wheat
And on the flowering grass in the meadow
On the soft shoulder of the hill
The old tree dominates
Really like a Christmas during St. John's feast
Full of branches and songs
Full of blood cherries
For birds and children.

June at home is cherry season
A gray linen apron
A halo of blond straw
On the fully round head
Of a very welcome kid
Arms crossed and bare feet
All the sun is into his face
But with so a very ripe chest ...
June at home is cherry season
Just a gray linen apron.
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Re: Can Poetry be Translated?

Postby Braininvat on October 16th, 2015, 9:42 am 

"...a very ripe chest..." quelquechose est perdu en traduction. Snicker.
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Re: Can Poetry be Translated?

Postby henriette on October 16th, 2015, 11:50 am 

Dear Brainivat

The French original is "Mais la poitrine toute mûre"
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