Friday, November 5, 2010

One Poem / Two Translations


My Cy in the Peace Park, Nagasaki.
He is one of my Martian children.






Today I would like to share one poem in two translations.

The poet is Shuntaro Tanikawa. A poet who was, himself a translator of Mother Goose rhymes and the Peanuts comic strip. The act of translation fascinates me. I think it is fundamental to communication: translation reminds us of what we do not, and cannot, know about another.



If you enjoy these poems, please seek out his books


TWO BILLION LIGHT YEARS OF LONELINESS


On a small sphere 
Earthlings sleep, wake, work
Once in a while they wish they had friends on Mars


I have no idea
what Martians do on their small sphere
(maybe they sleep'eep, wake'ake, work'ork)
But once in a while they wish they had friends on Earth
That's for sure.
Poetry Friday is hosted by
Teaching Authors this week
VISIT THEM!


The universal force of gravity is
the mutual attraction of loneliness


The universe is warped
That is why we are drawn to each other


The universe keeps on expanding
That is why we all feel anxious


with two billion lights years of loneliness
facing me, I sneezed.


(Translated by Takaka U. Lento)


TWO BILLION LIGHT-YEARS OF SOLITUDE

Human beings on this small orb
sleep, waken and work, and sometimes
wish for friends on Mars.

I've no notion
what Martians do on their small orb
(
neririing or kiruruing or hararaing)
But sometimes they like to have friends on Earth.
No doubt about that.

Universal gravitation is the power of solitudes
pulling each other.

Because the universe is distorted,
we all seek for one another.

Because the universe goes on expanding,
we are all uneasy.

With the chill of two billion light-years of solitude,
I suddenly sneezed.

(Translated by William I. Elliott and Kazao Kawamura)



Edited to add the poem in Japanese. (Thank you, Shannon.)


"二十億光年の孤独

人類は小さな球の上で

眠り起きそして働き

ときどき火星に仲間を欲しがつたりする

火星人は小さな球の上で

何をしてるか 僕は知らない

(或はネリリし キルルし ハララしているか)

しかしときどき地球に仲間を欲しがったりする

それはまったくたしかなことだ

万有引力とは

ひき合う孤独の力である

宇宙はひずんでいる

それ故みんなはもとめ合う

宇宙はどんどん膨んでゆく

それ故みんなは不安である

二十億光年の孤独に

僕は思わずくしゃみをした

「二十億光年の孤独」(昭和27)所収"







Bonus: Tanikawa wrote the lyrics to the theme song of Howl's Moving Castle. 


Post a Comment