The Muse Akhmatova

Translated any poems lately? If so, then why not post them here?
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cynwulf
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The Muse Akhmatova

Post by cynwulf » Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:53 pm

Муза

Когда Я ночью жду её прихода
Жизнь, кожется, висит на волоске.
Что почести, что юность что свобода,
Пред милой гостей с дудочкой в руке.

И вот волша. Откнув покрывало,
Внимательно взглянула на меня
Ей говорю: Ты ль Данту диктовала
Страницы Ада
? Отвечает Я.

Literal translation
Muse
When in night I wait her arrival
life seems to hang by a thread
what honours, what youth, what freedom,
before dear guest with little pipe in hand.

And there she came in. Throwing back veil,
attentively looks at me.
To her I say: You are (interrogative particle) to Dante dictated
pages of Hell[
? She answers I.

Two interpretations

The Muse
When in the night I await her coming,
life seems to be hanging by a strand.
What are honours, youth and freedom
compared to that sweet guest, flute in her hand?

And there she came in. Throwing back her veil,
she regarded me with kind attention.
I ask her Are you the one who spoke the lines
of 'Hell' to Dante
? She says I am the one.


The Muse
When at night I await her coming
life seems to hang-a filament's freight.
Honours, youth and freedom fade to nothing
before that dear guest who bears a flute.

Then she came in. Throwing back her veil,
she looked at me with kind attentiveness.
I ask Are you the one who revealed
'Il Inferno' to Dante
? She answers Yes.


[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=htW5XzUD24k[/youtube]

David
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Re: The Muse Akhmatova

Post by David » Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:25 pm

I do enjoy your Akhmatova translations, C. They open up a world that is not otherwise available to me.

But I often think that your literal translation has qualities that are missing from your more polished efforts. Could it be that you over-poeticize them, à la gilding the lily?

I'm sort of thinking that, and - as before - I'd like to see a translation that retains more of the literal version (although I know of course that that can't stand on its own).

Cheers

David

cynwulf
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Re: The Muse Akhmatova

Post by cynwulf » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:07 am

I am very grateful for your comments, David, you make me think more deeply about the translation process-keep me on my toes. It's always difficult (to me at any rate) to transfer the words of the original to the very different syntax of English while keeping something of the rhyming and flow of the original, this almost forces me to extra words/suggestions which aren't an overt part of the original. As an example:the final line of the 2nd version is rather banal perhaps with the final Yes, but I had hoped that reflected the final monosyllable in Russian pronounced 'Ya' meaning literally 'I am' and so chose that rather than A's words recoded into English.
Established translators treat the text sometimes very freely, I give examples with Kunitz's version of S1
and a closer French translation by C.Mouze.

All that I am hangs by a thread tonight
as I wait for her whom no one can command.
Whatever I cherish most- youth, freedom,glory-
fades before her who bears the flute in her hand.

La Muse,
Quand j'attends au sein de la nuit noire
la vie, alors, ne compte plus pour rien,
qu'importent liberté, jeunesse, gloire,
lorsque, sa flute aux doigts, elle survient.

Oui, la voilà brusquement devoillée...
fixe sur moi, son regard m'éblouit,
et je demande: 'Est-ce sous ta dictée
que Dante fit L'Enfer? Elle dit 'Oui'.

Thank you for your interest in this.
Best wishes, C.

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Re: The Muse Akhmatova

Post by Antcliff » Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:10 pm

Greetings C
I do enjoy your Akhmatova translations, C. They open up a world that is not otherwise available to me.

Me too.

Just to mention an alternative: the version that has the first stanza of the first version and second stanza of the second. Maybe?


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

cynwulf
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Re: The Muse Akhmatova

Post by cynwulf » Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:18 am

An excellent suggestion, Seth, a nice solution-though I'm not altogether happy with the last line of s1 1st version.
regards, C.

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