Sunday, 5 April 2009

Poem by Eeva-Liisa Manner - 2

from "Games of the Moon" [in Tämä matka (This Journey), 1956]

The moon is consumed and renews himself
and hoists slow sails,
glides, lending light and wind,
sheds his strength, pulls the oceans;

the earth yields like a woman, and gives birth much.
Plants grow, and nails and hair,
dogs howl on the hills, the dead in their graves,
and there is much murder with various weapons,
words and oozing knives.
They are consumed like the moon,
and are no longer renewed,
but in the moonlight
it is easy to die and to rise,
to cast off in a vessel, if the moon is a boat,
to cast spells, if a drum is the moon,

for the forms of the moon are highly inconstant,
he is a windy moon and voices and a moon of drums,
he is a seed and an eye and a Moon-that-makes-wane,
the setting memory of space.

translated from Finnish by David McDuff and Hildi Hawkins

Kuu syödään ja uudistuu
ja nostaa hitaat purjeet,
lipuu lainaten valoa ja tuulta,
vuodattaa väkevyyttään, vetää meret;

maa antautuu kuin nainen, ja paljon synnyttää.
Kasvit kasvavat, ja kynnet ja tukka,
koirat huutavat kukkuloilla, vainajat haudoissaan,
ja paljon murhataan erilaisin asein,
sanoin ja tihkuvin veitsin.
He syödään kuin kuu,
eivät uudistu enää,
mutta kuutamolla
on kevyt kuolla ja nousta,
käydä veneeseen, jos kuu on laiva,
käydä loitsimaan, jos rumpu on kuu,

sillä kuun muodot ovat sangen muuttuvaiset,
hän on tuulinen kuu ja äänet ja rumpujen kuu,
hän on siemen ja silmä ja Vähentäjä-kuu,
avaruuden laskeva muisti.


Eric Dickens said...

I actually like this one more than the first Eeva-Liisa Manner poem that David posted. It may have something to do with the consistency, or clarity of image. She sticks to the moon, doesn't dodge around. She may stray, but keeps returning to the moon.

David McDuff said...

The first poem is written in conscious imitation of Lindegren's style, and that may account for the obscurity of some of the imagery and diction. The "moon" poem is much more of a genuine E.-L. Manner creation.

Eric Dickens said...

That's obviously the clue, David. Once poets let go of their lifelines and launch out on their own, they develop a style. I've never read any Lindegren, I have to admit. Bo Carpelan translated some Manner into Swedish.

"Manner" (continent), like "tanner" (battlefield) and "askel" (step), is one of those extremely rare words in Finnish where the nominative ends in a consonant.

Unknown said...

I was intrigued to read this translation, which I admire. I have myself translated 'Cambrian'; the result was published in a collection of poems and narratives called Oriel (London: Black Sandal, 2009), and think it an impressive and important work. Thanks for this.