Post-autumn : Poem by Raphael Urweider

I am sharing this poem because this is the LEAST expected of me. I have never translated a love poem most of my life, thinking that since the revolution was just around the corner, I had to translate urgent and angry verse, and love, as a result, took a backseat. Moreover, love poetry was not something that I wrote much myself. . .

But, when I had to translate I realized how easy it was to deal with the romantic as opposed to the historical/political. I did not have to worry about context. I did not have to dig out stories that were linked to space/time/people. It was universal, and every single word fell into place in Tamil. Even the playful syntax, even the rhythms.

Of course, I don’t know/speak/understand a single word of German. The poem came to me via English. Here’s the English translation, and following that, is my Tamil version.

post autumn

i did not invent the
trees but learnt their

names gave your’s
to some they did not
object and repeated it
in the wind even
the wind carries it well
from tree to tree to you.

இலையுதிர் காலத்திற்குப் பின்

நான் கண்டுபிடிக்கவில்லை
மரங்களை, ஆனால் கற்றுக்கொண்டேன்,

அதன் பெயர்களை, உன் பெயர் கொடுத்தேன்
சிலருக்கு அவர்கள் அதை எதிர்க்கவில்லை
மாறாக காற்றில் மறுமொழிந்தார்கள்
காற்றும் அதை அழகாய்த் தூக்கிச் செல்கிறது
மரத்திலிருந்து மரத்திலிருந்து உன்னிடம்.

Roman transliteration (so that you can try rolling it of your tongue too)
ilaiyudhir kaalathirkku pin
naan kandupidikkavillai
marangalai, aanal katrukonden,

adhan peyarkalai, un peyar koduthen
silarukku avargal adhai ethirkkavillai
maaraga kaatril marumozhindhaargal
kaatrum adhai azhagaai thookki selgiradhu
marathilirundhu marathilirundhu unnidam
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About Meena Kandasamy

Meena Kandasamy is a poet, writer, activist and translator.
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