A translation of “Переведіть мене через майдан”/”Переведи меня через майдан”

Please, would you help me crossing the Maidan?

the last wish of the old kobzar1Blind street musicians playing the Kobza, a Ukrainian folk music instrument, for our purposes kobzar=lirnyk=banduryst

“Please, would you help me crossing the Maidan3For now “city square”; More about the connotations of this word, as I see them, further down
To the far side, there is a field,  I reckon
The bees hum quietly, a little piece of heaven
Please, would you help me crossing the Maidan

Please, would you help me crossing the Maidan
Where there’s laughter, fighting, feasts and food on shelves 2“shelves” almost makes me cry, but the third line is perfect, haven’t found any other normal rhyme….
Where no one hears, neither me nor themselves
Please, would you help me crossing the Maidan

Please, would you help me crossing the Maidan
There cries a woman; in the past we were together 4 Formerly “we’ve been together” but this would imply they are /still/ together
Now I’ll walk past, won’t even recognize her
Please, would you help me crossing the Maidan

Please, would you help me crossing the Maidan
With pain, regrets and love, still not forgotten
Here I’ve been brave, and here I have been rotten 5 sounds too much like passive and therefore weird, but whatever
Please, would you help me crossing the Maidan

Please, would you help me crossing the Maidan
The drunken clouds, they seem to touch my arm 6Adding meaning that was not there, but “Maidan” is hard to rhyme with anything. I also can see something like “Where drunken clouds are floating in the trees”
Now it’s my son who sings on the Maidan
Please, would you help me crossing the Maidan 7 Four identical rhymes – it’s a feature! increasing the DRAMA and stuff

Please, help…” The Maidan took him in
and led him by the hand,  and he kept walking
As he fell dead, right in the Maidan center
Not knowing there was no field anymore

Continue reading “A translation of “Переведіть мене через майдан”/”Переведи меня через майдан””

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Blind street musicians playing the Kobza, a Ukrainian folk music instrument, for our purposes kobzar=lirnyk=banduryst
2. “shelves” almost makes me cry, but the third line is perfect, haven’t found any other normal rhyme….
3. For now “city square”; More about the connotations of this word, as I see them, further down
4. Formerly “we’ve been together” but this would imply they are /still/ together
5. sounds too much like passive and therefore weird, but whatever
6. Adding meaning that was not there, but “Maidan” is hard to rhyme with anything. I also can see something like “Where drunken clouds are floating in the trees”
7. Four identical rhymes – it’s a feature! increasing the DRAMA and stuff

Boris Pasternak – February (my attempt at translating)

I remain of the opinion that translating poetry is bad. Some of the meaning is lost because the resulting verses are bound to the translator’s own interpretation of the poem (which might be not what the author meant), and cultural reasons (can’t forget the example about the Ukrainian “хліб на рушнику” and the Russian “хлеб на полотенце”).

Either way, after seeing lots of bad and fake-sounding translations of Pasternak’s beautiful “February” I decided to do my own. First attempt at translating a poem and writing poetry in English, I must admit kinda like the result 🙂 This is a very first draft version, took me about 40 minutes.

February. Get ink, start crying!
Start crying over february
The dirt, as loud as rumbling thunder
Burns in the blackness of the spring.

Hire a buggy, for six grivnas,
Ride through the church bells, city streets
Find yourself where the rain drops louder
Louder than ink, louder than tears

Where, like black pears, burnt down to charcoal
Thousands of rooks drop from the trees
to ground, and fill your eyes and feelings
With deep dry sadness, empty pleas

Where on the ground you see thawed patches
The wind is filled with empty screams
And the more randomly the better
Those cried-out poems your heart streams.

The original. The translation I found uninspiring enough to write my own can be found there too (it’s the translation I stole the “blackness of the spring” line from, nothing else though).

I’ll definitely come back to this thing someday.