Translation from English

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Poems from Russian and Russian Romani


Poems Found in Translation: “Lera Yanysheva: Lullabye For Her Blood (From Russian Romani)” plus 1 more

Link to Poems Found in Translation

Posted: 12 Oct 2016 08:19 PM PDT
The plight of women in traditional society is one of Yanysheva's main themes. I had some uncertainties of interpretation. These are noted in, well, notes.

Lullabye For Her Blood
By Lera Yanysheva
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original in Romani

The wolves in leafy woods are sleeping.
Rockabye baby, day is done.
Horses are sleeping, birds are dreaming.  
So sleep you snug sweet angel son. 

Just close your eyes for bedtime baby
And oh don't cry I'm begging you.
Or else you'll wake your sleeping papa
And then what am I going to do?

My shining sun, God how I love you,
My blessing and my saving grace,
I'm begging you, please don't start crying
Or he will come and break my face. 

His mother will burst in with curses
"Dumb outland tramp! Don't let him yell!"   
She'll hiss "Well? Do something goddammit. 
The poor thing's bawling bloody hell." 

I'm asking you on bended knees now,
Dear little apple of my eye,
Just shut your mouth for mama, sweetie.
Hush little baby. Don't you cry. 

Don't make the neighbors hear him beat me.   
I am so tired, sweet shining sun.
It's almost time to head to market.
So please, sweet dreams now, little one. 

The gadje are asleep till morning.
The lambs and chickens rest in peace.
The young and old are off to dreamland.
No one's awake but the police.

The Original:
For reasons explained on this page, all Cyrillic Romani texts I translate are accompanied by transcription in Roman characters. 

Ратуны Гилы
Лера Янышева

Дро вэш рува́ сарэ́ сутэ́,
Бай-бай, миро́ ту гудлоро́.
Совэ́н грая́ тай чириклэ́.
Сов, чяворо́ совнакуно́!

Закэ́р якха́, миро́ бэя́то,
И на дэ го́дла, тут манга́в.
Тэ ушунэ́л тут ты́ро да́до.
Со ту́са ма́нгэ тэ кэра́в?

Ту кхам миро́, мэ тут кама́ва,
Ту бахт миро́ и камлыпэ́н.
Но на дэ го́дла тут манга́ва,
Ведь ма́нгэ муй ёв розмарэ́л.

Сасу́й явэ́ла тэ кошэ́л ман.
«Лахы́йка», — ма́нгэ ёй пхэнэ́л.  
«Ну кэр же варе-со май сы́го,
Бэя́то чёрорро́ рове́л!»

Мэ по чанга́ манга́в дрива́н тут,
Тырда́ва мэ кэ ту васта́:
Закэ́р же муй, миро́ ту чя́во,
Нэ сов же, сы́го, колбаса́!

На кэр сканда́лицо дрэ се́мья.
Сыр кхиныём, мро кхаморо́.
Тэ джяв про та́рго уже вре́мя.
Сов дэвлорэ́са, чяворо́!

Сарэ́ гадже́ сутэ́ ратя́са,
Каґня́ совэ́на тай бакрэ́.
Тэрнэ́, пхурэ́ сунэ́ дыкхэ́на,
Екх халадэ́ нанэ́ сутэ́.

Ratunî Gilî
Lera Janîševa

Dro veš ruva sare sute
Baj-baj, miro tu gudloro.
Soven graja taj čirikle.
Sov, čjavoro sovnakuno!

Zaker jakha, miro bejáto
I ná de gódla, tut mangav.
Te ušunel tut tîro dádo.
So túsa mánge te kerav?

Tu kham miro, me tut kamáva,
tu baxt miro i kamlîpén.
No ná de gódla tut mangáva,
Vjedj mánge muj jov rozmarel.

Sasuj javéla te košel man.
"Laxîjka" mánge joj phenel.
"Nu ker že vareso maj sîgo,
Bejáto čjororro rovel!"

Me po čanga mangav drivan tut
Tîrdáva me ke tu vasta:
Zaker že muj, miro tu čjávo,
Ne sov že, sîgo, kolbasa!

Na ker skandálico dre sjémja.
Sîr khinîjóm, mro khamoro.
Te džjav pro tárgo uže vrjémja.
Sov devlorésa, čjavoro!

Sare gadže sute ratjása
Kaghnja sovéna taj bakre.
Terne, phure sune dîkhéna,
Jekh xalade nane sute.

Ratunî Gilî: the literal title could be read either as "Night Song" or as "Blood(y) Song." (Rat in the singular nominative means "night" when feminine, and "blood" when masculine, representing the phonologically merged reflex of two originally distinct Indic words: rā́trÄ«"night" and raktá "blood." They remain phonologically distinct in the oblique cases e.g. ratjása vs. ratésa in the instrumental singular.) The only sense for ratuno which lexicons give in North Russian Romani is "bloody" — which is also the only sense I've seen it used in, in this dialect. But I could be wrong. Yanysheva could well be playing on both senses of rat. I suspect she is.

Stanza 1:
Note — the assonances, multiple internal rhymes, and other phonetic echoes in this stanza. E.g. dro veÅ¡ ruvá and sov, čjavoró sovnakunó. It contributes to a musical mood in the opening, and almost demands to be sung.

Stanza 2:
Note — the echoes here and later, of mangav(a) "I ask, I demand" and mánge, the dative form of the first person singular pronoun.

Stanza 3:
kamlîpén: perhaps also meant to echo khamlîpén "sweat"?

This stanza is the only one where the rhyme joining lines 2 and 4 is approximate — the two lines end in different consonants. They both end in a sonorant however, and are compensated for by the perfect -ava rhyme in the same stanza. Still, this interruption in rhyming has the effect of signaling a disjointedness, a wrongness, which is completely in keeping with this stanza's role in fully shifting from singsong lyricism to verse of a much more disturbing nature. It's jarring, and I think that's the point, as the word bearing the inexact rhyme is rozmarel "breaks, smashes open." Had the poet wished to have a full rhyme, she could have easily found one. Rhyming in Romani, as in Russian, is fairly easy thanks to the inflectional morphology.

Stanza 4:

Sasuj javéla te koÅ¡el man: it isn't entirely clear to me how to read this, whether javéla takes its full semantic force and means "come" or is just an auxiliary verb. The verb (j)avel "come" has developed various extended senses such as "become (, be ( in the future" and under the influence of East Slavic, this has lead to its use as an auxiliary verb to indicate futurity. Analytic futures are not always present in Russian Romani texts where one might expect them, though, and it seems this is still a process underway. Moreover avel is in competition with lel "bring" for the role of future auxiliary — both are used by speakers from different regions. Avel is still used in its original lexical sense, and there are times where it's not clear which is meant. The poet's own Russian version doesn't settle this, though it does make me feel, at the very least, that I'm not gravely defacing the poem by translating javéla as a verb of motion.

Bejáto čjororro rovel! : The bulk of the poem is in pretty normal North Russian Romani. However, the words attributed to the mother-in-law in this stanza seem to shift into a slightly different dialect. Or at least, a different accent. The doubled r of Äjororro implies a dialect which preserves the two different rhotics of Early Romani — which North Russian Romani does not, but some other dialects spoken in Russia and near Russia do. Perhaps we're not meant to know which dialect exactly, only that it's different.  The other possibility is that the form Äjororro (instead of Äjororo) is just a misprint, in which case I've overinterpreted to ridiculous extremes.

The term Laxîjka I was unsure about. I take it as being related to other terms in other dialects like Crimean laxînka and Kishinevian vlaxîjka and assume it has the sense "Rom woman from somewhere else" and having a pejorative tone as befits the fact that the mother-in-law is koÅ¡el-ing her.

Given that Yanysheva, from what I have read of her work, is extremely sensitive to dialectal variation, and uses it regularly as an artistic device, it seems that the implication is a significant one. My take (which — I remind the reader — could well be mistaken) is that the woman voiced by the poem has married into some Rom family from elsewhere, far from where her family lives — and is thus cut off from the sort of close-knit Rom kinship network she would be able to rely upon for succor if she were among "her own."

Stanza 7:
gadže: gadje being to Roms as goyim are to Jews. I couldn't find a way to get around simply using the word "gadje" here.

The implication here, I think (again I'm not entirely sure) is that the police might hear, or that someone might call them, and that that would only bring further misery. Roma often know, and have learned the hard way, to be wary of the police. Whatever she suffers — or is worried about suffering — at her husband's hands, this woman knows it isn't half as bad as what would happen, presumably to the entire family, if the police got involved.

Another possible reading is that she knows the gadjo police simply don't care. 
Posted: 12 Oct 2016 08:36 PM PDT
"Asphalt melts under my sole..."
By Lilith Mazikina
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

Asphalt melts under my sole,
Runs hot beneath my feet.
A pack of house-cats calls
For mother in loud clear pleas.    
I open up to the breeze
To get drunk with the sun.
I'd learned to give up believing
That summer again would come. 

The Original:

Тает асфальт под подошвой,
плавится под шагами.
Стаи дворовых кошек
звонко просятся к маме.
Я раскрываюсь ветру -
чтобы напиться солнца.
Я разучилась верить,
что лето ещё вернётся.