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Rilke, "Dirait-on": translation

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:09 pm
by fernezioPAKALA
This poem by R.M. Rilke comes from the collection "Chansons des Roses". Originally written in French, it has been made popular by M. Lauridsen's beautiful musical adaptation. The text struck me as extremely close to toki pona aesthetically. So I have decided to attempt a beginner's translation, feedback on this is very much appreciated.

Kama-telo li selo pi kama-telo,
Abandon eveloping abandon,
Abandon entouré d'abandon,

Olin suwi li luka e olin suwi
Tenderness touching tenderness
tendresse touchant aux tendresses

Ona li insa pi sina la, ala pini
It is your center that ceaselessly
C'est ton intérieur qui sans cesse

li luka-olin e ona, jan li toki;
caresses itself, some will say;
se caresse, dirait-on;

li luka-olin sama insa sama
caresses itself within itself
se caresse en soi-même,

sama-lukin pi sama li pana e sona tawa ona
by its on reflection illuminated
par son propre reflet éclairé.

Kepken, sina li mama e kalama
Thus, you invent the theme
Ainsi tu inventes le thème

Pi jan "mi li olin e mi", kama ala utala.
Of Narcissus fulfilled.
du Narcisse exaucé.

Re: Rilke, "Dirait-on": translation

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:23 am
by janKipo
I don’t do poetry, so this is just about grammar, not scansion or rhetoric.
I don’t know what you mean by the dash; it has been used in various ways by different people but the present use is not clear. "becoming water” or some such isn’t very clear eitheer but may work as poetry. ‘selo’ is good for ‘is the shell of’’ etc. (‘poki’ might also work -- its not clear whether this is mere containment or shelter0.
--
‘ona’ is strictly anaphoric, so needs something to look back to. better to start off with whatyou are building toward: ‘insa sina’ (‘pi’ needs two words after it, for now). after ‘la’ you need a complete sentence (subject and all)..’pini ala’ (modifier comes after head) along the same line, ‘pini ala’ comes either before ‘luka olin’ “does not stop caressing” or immediately after “caressing ceaselessly”. The ‘la’ and the ‘ona li’ now drop out.
“As some say” or so is probably a separate sentence ’jan li toki e ni’ but it can’t be inserted parenthetically into the sentence.
’sama’ “itself” in place of ‘ona’
‘e sama lon insa sama’
‘sama lukin’ is pretty good. ‘sama’ for ‘ona’ again (probably)
‘kepeken’ needs an object; ‘nasin ni la’ would be more normal though less pecise than ‘kepeken nasin ni’.
not sure how ‘kalama’ “sound, noise” fits in with “theme’ (but not sure just what theme is to mean here
could just use ‘Nasisu’ or so or 'jan pi olin sama’, the quote doesn’t work there although I suppose it would if introduced by a ‘pi’. “belligerently doesn’t come” doesn’t compute nor fit with “fulfilled” both ‘kama’ alone and ‘pini’ alone would work here.

This was a fairly opaque passage and you got through it fairly well, all things considered. If I ignore the vocabulary comments -- which I said I wouldn’t do -- the grammatical problems were few and not generally serious. Good first try.

Re: Rilke, "Dirait-on": translation

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:03 am
by fernezioPAKALA
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply :) very helpful

janKipo wrote:"becoming water” or some such isn’t very clear eitheer but may work as poetry.


Yes, I wanted to express the concept of abandon by likening it metaphorically to "melting"...(release of tension, surrender, etc...)I am quite happy about it but i suspect there can be a more expressive way.

janKipo wrote:‘ona’ is strictly anaphoric, so needs something to look back to.
[...]
’sama’ “itself” in place of ‘ona’


What is the difference then between using "ona" and "sama" when a subject has already been introduced? For example, if i want to say that a human being sees himself/herself, what is the difference between "jan li lukin e sama" and "jan li lukin e ona"? Is either incorrect?

janKipo wrote:not sure how ‘kalama’ “sound, noise” fits in with “theme’ (but not sure just what theme is to mean here


I think he mans theme as in musical theme. If i write "kalama musi", in your opinion is it clear that i mean "song, musical theme"? Maybe this would be more expressive than just sound.

janKipo wrote: “belligerently doesn’t come” doesn’t compute nor fit with “fulfilled” both ‘kama’ alone and ‘pini’ alone would work here.

This is a crucial part of the poem. I really wanted to convey the concept of "fulfilled" as "rendered free of (inner) conflicts". Would "kama utala ala" work? And in general, is there a way to use "kama" to mean that something has become something, as opposed to "is becoming, becomes"?

Re: Rilke, "Dirait-on": translation

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:03 pm
by janKipo
If the water metaphor works, it is very good. If not, something from ‘weka e’ might still work,, but is rather prosaic, as are lines based on ‘taso’ “alone”.

‘sama’ is always right but ‘ona’ may be acceptable in some cases (‘mi’ and ‘sina’ seem to be, maybe even ‘ona’). English is quite clear that ‘-self’ is required for direct objects (the proof that “Screw you!” is not an imperative) and mainly for other place as as well, though some variations are allowed with some special meanings. But that does not decide the issue for tp.

‘kalama musi’ refocuses the reader in the desired way.

tp is terrible on aspects and tenses; even ‘pini’ can be inchoative or continuative as wel as perfective. Still, I think that ‘pini kama’ will generally be understood as “has become”. What goes in for “fulfilled" is less clear: ‘ali’, “pini’, ‘wan’, ‘kulupu’?