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.
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
மரங்களை, ஆனால் கற்றுக்கொண்டேன்,
marangalai, aanal katrukonden,
silarukku avargal adhai ethirkkavillai
maaraga kaatril marumozhindhaargal
marathilirundhu marathilirundhu unnidam