Esperanto
Author: David Poulson


Esperanto poetry in translation

Author: David Poulson
Published on: March 5, 1999

In my last article I described how William Auld was launched on his very distinguished literary career when Juan Regulo Perez published a selection of his poems in Kvaropo, the first of the Esperanto books to be published under the Stafeto imprint.

In 1989, among his many and varied activities (about which I will surely have more to say in later topic articles), William Auld found time to accept the role of editor of a new book in which he proposed to publish English language translations of original Esperanto poems, together with the Esperanto version.

Bill (as he signed himself in correspondence we had during 1990) told me that he had received almost 200 translations from various parts of the world from which he finally selected 50 "to represent our poetry."

I myself submitted a few translations to Bill and he was gracious enough to select two for publication. I have decided to include them in this topic article for several reasons. First to publicly thank Bill for his kindness in selecting some of my work for publication, second to introduce readers of this topic who are very new to Esperanto to a tiny portion of its original literature in a way which will allow them to appreciate it and encourage them to press on with their language lessons. And thirdly, to counter the frequent and erroneous statement made by opponents of Esperanto to the effect that it is impossible to write poetry in an "artificial language" and consequently that there has been no original literature written in the language. (For more on this subject, see my Topic Article "Sad but True" which you will find at: .

So, without further preamble, here is a handful of poems which I particularly liked myself. I do hope that you enjoy them and I would welcome your comments as to whether or not you would like to see, from time to time, more samples of original Esperanto writings included in these articles.

IMRE SZABO

Sablodunoj/Sand-Dunes

Printempo pas^as c^irkau^ klostro antikva
mi sentas s^ian aromon
mi pentras s^ian rideton
en la inicialoj
oazoj inter la sablodunoj
de la eterna teksto.

Spring strides through an ancient cloister
I scent her fragrance
I paint her smile
in the initial letters
oases between the sand-dunes
of the eternal text.

La Ebria Rivero/ The Drunken River

Mi ruligis la vortojn
mi rulig^is en la vortojV ebriis la bordoj de la ebria rivero
sin svingis la gracitaliaj betuloj
ni plantis ilian blankon
por heroldi nin
nian amon, blankan kolombon
kiu povas nur flugi
mortas se surterig^as

la ebria rivero multobligas ilin
branc^umate.

Words flow out of me
words flow over me
between the drunken banks of a drunken river
forwards and backwards sway the drunken birches
we planted their whiteness
to be the herald
of our love - a white dove
which thrives in flight,
which will die if it touches earth

the drunken river multiplies them
in tributary streams.

1986

ALDO DE'GIORGI

Metamorfozo/Metamorphosis

Vi estis fantasta
perfekta,
serafa vizio
(iom afekta).
Implicis en vi
virtaro c^ia.
Vi estis...
Kotenfalita nun:
ho, Dio mia!
Sniff! Neniu dubo:
lilio putriginta
pli stinkas
ol c^iu rubo.

You were fantastic
perfect,
a seraphic vision
(a bit put on).
The human embodiment
of every virtue.
You were...
Well - you're in the mire now:
Oh my God!
Sniff! No doubt about it:
lilies that fester
smell far worse than weeds.

1979

DAMJAN VAHEN-SVETINOV

Ne Skribu/Don't Write

Ne skribu al mi,
min viaj leteroj nenie atingos,
el urbo en urbon vagas mi,
nenie mi haltiga por longe.

Vi iam deziris esti kun mi,
kun mi vi vagabondi deziris tutmonde,
sed jam sur unua krucvojo haltigis vi
kaj min vi forlasis memvole...

Kaj sola de tiam vagabondas mi,
vi sola restis en via domo, tial ne skribu leterojn al mi,
mi estas vagabondo - ne homo!

Sed se iam ni renkontigos ie denove,
malnovaj amikoj estos ni,
travivos ni kune tagojn du au^ tri -
kaj ni disigos denove senplore...

Don't write to me,
your letters won't find me anywhere,
I'm wandering from town to town,
never stopping anywhere for long.

Once you wanted to come along
and wander with me all over the world,
but at the first cross-roads you stopped
and let me walk away - your decision...

And since then I've wandered alone,
and you stayed home alone,
so don't write me letters,
I'm a drifter - not a man!

But if we ever meet again, some time, some place,
we'll be old friends,
We'll spend a couple of days together
- then go our separate ways, with no tears...

1963

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UTILAJ LIGILOJ
IN ENGLISHPAGHOJ EN ANGLA LINGVO
PAGHOJ TUTE EN ESPERANTO
NIA BIBLIOTEKO


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