From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Translated any poems lately? If so, then why not post them here?
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cynwulf
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From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by cynwulf » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:47 am

Untitled. No 9 in the cycle/ Literal Translation

Красною кистью With red cluster
Рябина зажглась. rowan was lighted/took fire;
Падали листья. were falling leaves.
Я родилась. I was born.

Спорили сотни Were arguing hundreds
Колоколов. of bells.
День был субботний: Day was Saturday:
Иоанн Богослов. John Theologian.

Мне и доныне To me to this day
Хочется грызть It is wanted to gnaw/nibble
Жаркой рябины of hot rowan's
Горькую кисть. bitter cluster.


Free Translation

The rowan caught fire
with clusters of red,
and leaves were falling
the day I was born.

Countless bells wrangled
in clattering clangour,
all through that Saturday
for John the Divine.

Now even today
I still wish to bite
the burning rowan's
bitter berries.


Attempt at retaining the rhyme scheme of the original.

With its red berries flaring
the rowan tree burned,
dead leaves were falling
when I was born.

All through that Saturday,
bells wrangled and chimed,
to honour the day
of John the Divine.

Even now I still want
to bite at and relish
the burning rowan's
bitter berries.

I have attempted to include 2 clips to give an idea of the sound of the original
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/n5S3zp30bu4[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/-3_q4_Vj6ZU[/youtube]
Last edited by cynwulf on Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

David
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Re: From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by David » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:56 pm

Excellent idea to add the videos, c. I found the poem much more helpful than the song. The poem sounded lovely. That's the bit that gets lost in translation - any translation - isn't it?

Completely unfairly, I think your crib works best of all. In the other, more mediated versions you seem to introduce complications and adornments that - judging by your crib alone - don't exist in the original. If you could tidy the crib up and make it smoothly readable, I think that would be rather good.

Cheers

David

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Re: From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by Macavity » Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:42 am

With its red berries flaring
the rowan tree burned,
dead leaves were falling
when I was born.

All through that Saturday,
bells wrangled and chimed,
to honour the day
of John the Divine.

Even now I still want
to bite at and relish
the burning rowan's
bitter berries.
I prefer the tone and directness of this version, though I don't enjoy the hard rhyme of chimed/divine and not too sure of wrangled either.

all the best

mac

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Re: From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by cynwulf » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:50 am

David, yes it does sound lovely, I think Russian is a beautiful language, oddly the man (a native Russian-defector to the West) who taught me the language continually aplogised to the class about the ugliness of it. MT is difficult to translate into non slavonic languages- someone said if you cd conjure up a combination of Hopkins and Hart Crane you wd get something like MT, but minus the genius of Russian and so not really MT after all.

An attempt at smoothing:

With a brush of red
the rowan took fire.
Leaves were falling,
and I was born.

In their hundreds,
the bells were clashing.
the day was Saturday:
John the Divine.

Still to this day
I feel need to gnaw
the hot rowan's
bitter brush.

'brush' is the last meaning in my dictionary (Smirnitsky) for кисть and qualified as 'figurative, artistic' usual meaning is bunch, cluster.


Mac, thanks for your comments, always useful. I used wrangled in an attempt to combine arguing and the sound of a bell, is this better:

All through that Saturday
the bells clattered and clashed,
to honour the day
of St John the Evangelist. (same John -the gospel writer -has several synonyms in English).

Best wishes C.

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Re: From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by Antcliff » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:35 pm

Interesting, C.

Just pondering over the last version. "Gnaw" seems so much stronger than "bite". Does the original imply any sort of gnawing action? Obviously there is something of a difference between an urge to taste, or bite and gnaw.

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

cynwulf
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Re: From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by cynwulf » Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:19 pm

'evening Seth,
underlying meaning of "'grist' " seems to be repeated biting, and usual translation is gnaw, nibble is also found, as well as the general verb eat and also chew, chomp, scrunch. in this poem I think the most appropriate translation wd be crunch, unfortunately it's a near rhyme/assonance to brush.I agree that gnawing doesn't seem to be how berries are eaten. Thank you for your thoughts on this.
regards, C.

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Re: From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by Macavity » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:02 pm

All through that Saturday,
bells chimed and clashed,
to honour the day
of John the Divine.

I think there's plenty of music in chimed, more than clattered, and I think it could be accommodated within the line.

all the best

mac

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Re: From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by David » Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:50 pm

C, I like your attempt at smoothing - best one yet - but I now challenge you to unsmooth it again, slightly, with rhymes.

Cheers

David

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Re: From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by cynwulf » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:54 pm

mac,
thanks for your interest, you're right about chime of course, I still feel it's not too bad as the rhyming word for divine.

David, I've picked up yr gauntlet, bur I think you will find this version too unsmoothed:

With brushes of red
the rowan tree burned.
Leaves were being shed
when I was born.

Bells rang all that saturday,
hundreds argued and chimed;
it was a red letter day:
St John the Divine.

Now yet again
I feel need to crunch
on the hot rowan's
astringent brush.

Regards,C.

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Re: From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by David » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:49 pm

That's a pretty good response, C. It's only S3 that still seems a bit unsatisfactory.

I like this poem, in so far as I can appreciate it, which is at very much of a remove from the original. I'm trying to put a version of my own together, using your various translations so far, but the lines are so short! Precision stuff. Still, I'll keep trying.

Cheers

David

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Re: From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by cynwulf » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:15 pm

I think the final section is rather more than a bit unsatisfactory, David, I'm finding it intractable, but here's another stab at it:

Now many years on,
I still yearn to crunch..........................cd use 'crush' to near rhyme
the burning rowan's
astringent brush................................................................with 'bunches'

I don't think this adds any notions that are not in the original, though it's rather removed from a literal translation. English being a largely analytic language (so having a rigid word order) doesn't have the freedoms that Russian has as a synthetic language and translation into English tends to lead to use of far more words than the Russian needs for the same ideas. Difficult to get anywhere near MT's running dimeter.

I look forward to seeing yr version.
Best wishes, C.

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Re: From Poems about Moscow- Marina Tsvetaeva

Post by David » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:15 pm

I think crush and brush together have definite potential, C. It was really crunch that I don't like in S3. You may be onto something!

Cheers

David

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