japonisme: a man for all seasons: 1907

06 February 2010

a man for all seasons: 1907

i have done very little translating but i did once write an essay on it, and the devilish difficulty of it as an art. i now know whereof i spoke.

in another of his inspirations from the japanese, hoytema added poetry to this year's images. i was half-way through google-translating them when i realized that in the dutch, they rhymed.

so part of my englishifying them was once or twice looking for the rhyme, but more often sifting through what i thought they were to have meant, and making more clear the connotations in english. corrections will be welcomed. many of them just don't make sense to me, but i like them anyway.

Hear how the gray thrush called,
"Who called?" "Who called?" "Who called?"

The sparrows call from their branch:
"Spiou, spiou, spialak!"
or from the high tree top:
"Tsjaki, tsjaki, tsjakop!"

The duck calls with its flat beak:
"Quack-Quack-Quack-Quack!"
and from the shore:
"Croak, croak, croak, croak, croak!"

Shouted suddenly from the wood,
"Green gold, gold, gray, yellow gold!"

From the flowering branch,
the thrush sings with all his might.

The Oriole lures in a foreign language:
"Guadatleadaal, guadatleadaal!"
but jays like him understand:
"Fluaidaat, fluaidaat!"

The redshank glides o'er the fields each hour:
"Tureluur, tureluur, tureluur!"

The magpie calls from the forest:
"Do the door, sweetheart, do the door again!"

Still leaves sounds go through the reeds:
"Quits, quits, - carts, carts, - quits, quits, quits!"

Though most birds migrate away;
the blue heron and the siskin stay.

Now pull it back through the dark night,
the softest sounds: "luwiet," "loewite."

From snow outside the house of men
sounds the clear song of the wren.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Yoli said...

I absolutely LOVE these as I am an avid bird lover.

06 February, 2010 20:13  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you so much, yoli -- me too! the cedar waxwings landed today in great numbers!

06 February, 2010 20:40  
Blogger Princess Haiku said...

I agree that translating is difficult and as much an art as anything. Dutch is a difficult language, amazing you figured out about the rhyming lines.

I lived in Holland for a year once and didn't attune myself to it. I admire people who learn languages easily and will never understand why we don't teach our children languages in the primary years.

08 February, 2010 22:03  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks princess! i didn't know you did that. it sounds interesting, but i know how odd the feeling is when the sync-ing doesn't happen.

thing is, if they'd taught you a language from infancy, it probably wouldn't have been dutch!

i will tell you, though, i find myself inordinately proud of having learned how to spell names like nieuwenhuis and dijsselhof from memory. it is the funnest language in print, i think, and a surprising number of words are much like english, but beyond that thin surface, it's baffling to me.

yeah, i suddenly noticed on may, then went and checked on all of them! so interesting.

09 February, 2010 10:53  
Blogger Loretta Markell said...

These images are beautiful and that you translated from the Japanese is admirable. That you found they rhymed in Dutch was surprising. They are delightful. Thank you.

11 February, 2010 13:51  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks, loretta!

now, i didn't translate from japanese, and if you'll look at those little sayings at the bottoms of the pictures, and look at the words at the end of each line, and you'll see it too!

interestingly, this was the only year he did this.

11 February, 2010 16:50  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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