asher63 (asher63) wrote,

Poem: Translation of "Rock" by Kathleen Raine


Ai gonu nil ame di-zundi gona,
pran-golmu di-zikriti nekhesvi nekhesvi
q'haya faj-gantin zikh kherfun ve chel-jurun
al prane, akaro qash di sezdun.

Atnitim wesht-arch urude pranwa shadadum,
westh-lenk en q'a-epelim, shalbabim
di-tarogantim man ardhuwa shayage ruq'am
ka suditim etam houd al jar-edina.

Vihai nil ame sardidu en pranwa viheyie ...


This is a Gilkesh translation (in progress) of the poem "Rock" by Kathleen Raine. This text renders the poem as far as the first line of the second stanza, "Remains in me record of rock's duration."

Text and translation.

Ai: there is; shortened co-operative form of heyi, to be.

zikhi kerfun ve chel-jurun: "scorching [lit., 'burning'] suns and ice-ages"; using the associative conjunction "ve" (not the enumerative conjunction "ka") because neither of the time periods specified follows the other. (However, each phrase denotes a series of consecutive intervals, so we use the discrete plural, not the collective.)

akaro qash di sezdun: "[as] swiftly as days". Sezdun, the argument of the comparison, agrees in case with the thing being compared - here, nominative case, like "kerfun" and "jurun".

pranwa shadadum: "rock's changes". Shadad is a third abstractive (from shadi, to change), meaning an occasion or instance of change. We're using the collective plural here because we are considering events as a group rather than in sequence.

wesht-lenk en q'a-epelim: "slowest of all rhythms [lit. cycles]". The next few phrases are in the absolutive case because they are neither subjects nor objects, but are the predicate of an implied copula (i.e., they rename pranwa shadadum, "rock's changes").

shalbabim: "pulsations". Literally, "heartbeats", a third abstractive from shalb, "heart". The second abstractive, shalab, means "pulse" (indication of heart activity).

tarogantim: "[they] raise". Ta-, causative, plus rogani, to go up.

ardhuwa shayage: "from the planet's core". Shayag literally means "womb".

ka suditim etam houd: "and weather [lit. grind] them down to sand". We use the consecutive ka (and) because "what goes up must come down" and the mountain ranges are described as *first* being "raised from the planet's core" and *then* "weather[ed] ... down to sand".

jar-edina: "the sea-floor", but it's a slightly picturesque idiom; edin literally means wilderness. So jar-edin is "the wilderness of the sea".

That's about half the poem; I'm hoping to finish it tomorrow.

The late Kathleen Raine (1908-2003) was an English poet and naturalist, and in later life, a kabbalist.,11617,993610,00.html

I was introduced to her work as a kid, when my mother brought home a copy of "Imagination's Other Place", a collection of science and nature poetry. (It is still one of my favorite books.) "Rock", "Water", and "Shells" are excerpted in IOP. Happily there is also a complete collection of KR's poetry available:

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