S. Plath, "Mije mama suwi"

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S. Plath, "Mije mama suwi"

Postby fernezioPAKALA » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:56 am

I had fun translating this extract from Sylvia Plath's famous poem "Daddy". I am always surprised at how much of the emotional core of a poem or text remains undisturbed after re-translating the toki pona text back into English. I did try to convey what this expressed to me rather then the literal meaning.

Mije mama suwi, pi Siwi Pae
Cute man parent, by Sylvia Plath
Daddy, by Sylvia Plath

Meli ali li olin e mije wawa en ike,
Every woman loves a strong and bad man,
Every woman adores a fascist,

Lawa pi meli li anpa poki li noka pi mije. Mije li ike!
The head of the woman is under the container of the foot of the man. The man is bad!
The boot in the face, the brute,

Pilin ike, pi ike insa sina.
Bad heart, of a bad like you.
brute heart, of a brute like you.

Sine lon poka lipu pimeja, mije mama suwi, lon sitelen pi mi.
You are near the black flat object, cute man parent, in my picture.
You stand at the blackboard, daddy, in the picture I have of you

Pakala li lon uta pi sina, lon noka ala,
A flaw is in your mouth, not in your foot,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot,

Taso sina Jan Ike Suli.
But you are Great Evil Person.
But no less a devil for that.

En mije pimeja li sama: Jan Ike Suli
And the black man is the same: Great Evil Person.
No not any less the black man

Ona li moku e pilin suwi en loji pi mi.
He ate my cute and red heart.
Who bit my pretty red heart in two.

Tenpo pi mi lili, la jan li lon sina moli insa ma.
In the time when I was small, people put you dead inside the earth.
I was ten when they buried you.

Tenpo pi mi meli lili, mi wile e ni: mi moli,
In the time when I was a small woman, I wanted this: that I die,
At twenty, I tried to die,

en mi wile en ni: mi tawa monsi, monsi, monsi tawa sina:
and I wanted also this: that I go back, back, back to you:
and get back, back, back to you.

mi toki en ni: sijela moli taso li pona.
I said this: the dead body only is good.
I thought even the bones would do.

Taso jan li tawa e mi insa ala poki,
But the people take me outside of the box,
But they pulled me out of the sack,

en jan li kama e mi pona lili.
and they make me become a little good.
And they stuck me together with glue.

En mi sona e ni: seme mi pali.
And then I know this: what to do.
And then I knew what to do.

Mi pali e sitelen pi sina:
I make an image of you:
I made a model of you:

mije len pi pimeja, en lukin "utalapimi" *
a man clothed in black looking "battleofme"
a man in black with a meinkampf look

en mike li olin e palisa e ilo pi utala
and the man loved the stick and the tool for battle
and a love for the rack and the screw

en mi toki e ni: wile, wile!
and I say this: yes, yes!
and I said: I do, I do!


* This is of course a bit of a humorous translation.

I find funny and fascinating the mental image that this gives me, of a woman who can only express herself in a rudimentary way but is still trying to convey psychoanalytic concepts making this connection between her father and her relationship with men.

I have some doubts about translating the "Tenpo..." sentences. I cannot tell what is the correct way to say "In the time in which...", if there is one.
I have also decided to use the present tense in the end since using long periphrases just to convey the past tense didn't seem efficient and would have diluted the message too much.

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Re: S. Plath, "Mije mama suwi"

Postby jan_Lope » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:03 am


There are a lot of mistakes in your text. For example, Toki Pona words are not capitalized.
Maybe you can use the Toki Pona parser for spell and grammar checks:

jan Lope
(Lessons and the Toki Pona Parser - A tool for spelling, grammar check and ambiguity check of Toki Pona)

On my foe list are the sockpuppets janKipo and janSilipu because of permanent spamming.

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Re: S. Plath, "Mije mama suwi"

Postby jan Seloki » Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:24 pm

"Mije mama suwi" should be "mama mije pi suwi". No caps, 'mama' first, & a 'pi' before the suwi. Other than that I would say the name is a good translation.
.ین لی یو إ ین سوی لا ین لی ولی الا

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