Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Translated any poems lately? If so, then why not post them here?
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cynwulf
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Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by cynwulf » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:32 pm

Рябину
Рубили
Зорькою.
Рябина--
Судьбина
Горкая.
Рябина--
Седыми
Спусками.
Рябина!
Судьбина
Яусская.

Rowan tree
Breaking day
Axes hew.
Rowan tree--
Doomed to die
Bitterly.
Rowan tree--
Hoary boughs
Falling now.
Rowan tree!
So ensues
Russia's woe.

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Re: Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by David2 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:49 pm

I've just read some of her biography, about which I knew nothing. Very sad.

As to this - your translation, or someone else's? - I have to say that, if I first encountered it as an English poem, I'd think it wasn't very good. The dangers of translation, eh? I'm assuming the original is very good.

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Re: Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by Antcliff » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:26 pm

Hello,

welcome to PG. Difficult isn't? I dimly recall that T.S. Eliot once defined poetry as the bit that is lost in translation. Not only literal meaning, but all manner of associations. I love Rowan tree folklore, but why should (specifically) Russia's woes follow on from the cutting down of a Rowan tree? In parts of Scotland (my area) there was something of rule against of cutting down Rowan trees. So they are ideally suited as symbols. Bad things happen. But from the outsider perspective a Russian Rowan could represent so many things....

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Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
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Re: Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by oggiesnr » Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:57 pm

I've not worked out why the Rowan tree should be the symbol for Russia.

I discussed this with a friend and she said that she could understand it if it had been written about the Sunflower. I have no problem with the translation, I suspect that cultural differences may make it impossible for me to relate to the poem.

Steve

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Re: Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by cynwulf » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:47 pm

As a new member I'm unsure of the logistics here, so apologies if this is a double post.
This is my own work. Russian can be terser than English so the translation is wordier than the original, but I have tried to retain the 3 syllable structure and something of the rhyme scheme

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Re: Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by Ros » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:49 am

Hi cynwulf,

Welcome! I guess the problem is that, not knowing Russian, it's hard to comment on it as a translation. As a poem in English, it's obviously relying very heavily on the myth of the Rowan tree in relation to Russian history, which we're also rather hazy on. I rather like the rhythm, and the use of 'i' and 'o' sounds. I'm not sure there's enough of it for me to say more.

We do get a number of people tackling translations and we try to be constructive, so do stick around!

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Re: Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by cynwulf » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:58 pm

yes such as it is it's my own

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Re: Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by cynwulf » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:02 pm

Thankyou Ros.

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Re: Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by Lake » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:03 pm

I'd like to hear how it is read in Russian.
I don't know Russian, but by looking at the words I can tell that some words are multisyllabic, different than
Chinese,where each character has only one syllable. If one line contains one word, I am not sure if it sounds musical.
It must be different in Russian.

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Lake
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Seek neither publication, nor acclaim:
Submit without submitting.

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Re: Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by cynwulf » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:36 am

Hello Lake,
Difficult without using the IPA to transliterate the sounds as English spelling is so unphonetic, but it would sound something like:
Ryabeenoo
Roobilee
Zorrkayoo
Ryabina
Soodbeena
Gorrkaya
Ryabeena
Syedimee
Spooskamee
Ryabeena
Soodbeena
Rooskaya.
Hope that helps.
Best wishes,
Cynwulf.

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Re: Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by Lake » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:24 pm

Thanks Cynwulf for taking the time to put it in phonetic sound.
I am trying to pronounce it and find myself funny. :)
It's interesting to see "Rowan tree" sounds differently in different places.

Thanks,
Lake
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Re: Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by k-j » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:05 pm

Thanks for the phonetic rendering, I also enjoyed that! I keep coming back to this poem, both the original and your translation. It's funny, Marina Tsvetaeva was mentioned several times in the novel I was reading when I first saw this post - prior to that I don't think I'd heard of her.

I notice lines 5 and 11 are identical in the original but different in your translation, although similar in sense. How would you go about a literal translation of this piece? Would that be possible or is there simply too much room for interpretation?
Lake wrote:It's interesting to see "Rowan tree" sounds differently in different places.
Yes I noticed that too. Because of different noun cases? Another thing Chinese (and English) lacks.
fine words butter no parsnips

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Re: Rowan Tree -by Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by cynwulf » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:25 pm

Hi Lake andk-j,
Difference is due to case ending ,the first example is accusative, the rest nominative.
A literal translation:
Mountain Ash
They cut
At dawn
Mountain Ash
Fortune (is)(no present tense in Russian for verb To be)
Bitter
Mountain Ash
Grey-haired (in the instrumental case to agree with noun))
With descents
Mountain Ash
Fortune (is)
Russian.
Thanks for your interest.
Regards,
Cynwulf.

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