Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Nainie nilden

by me

Atanen amárien Endoressë,
ar sí avánies,
lá nanyë nútina sinomë.

A nildenyë! Cuilelya ná sinta
úmel polë márë as inye.
Sí vanwa nalyë inyello,
Umin ista yanna oantiel.

Alantiel ve lassë aldallo,
úmel mahta fairelya.
Lá sinten fairë ve sintelyes,
lá cennenyes ve cennelyes.

Túlel cuilenyanna
ve vinya elen menelenna,
ve Anar mornë taurenna.
Sí mornië enutúlië ar Endor ná sindë.

Lá hilyuvanyel, melda vendë,
lá hiruvanyel.
Rato ve alqua ramyuvan,
ciruvan linta ciryassë i háya falassenna.

Nai cenuvanyel
Andúnë pella, Arda pella,
aurë entassë yassë Eldar ar Atani
liruvar as i Ainur alcassë Ilúvataro.

"Lament for a Friend"

For a mortal I abode in Middle-earth,
and now she has gone,
I am not bound here.

O my friend! Your life is short,
You could not abide with me.
Now you are lost to me,
I do not know where you have gone.

You departed like a leaf from a tree,
you did not fight your death
I did not know death as you knew it,
I did not see it as you saw it.

You came into my life
like a new star into the sky,
like the Sun into a dark forest.
Now darkness has returned and Middle-earth is grey.

I will not follow you, dear maiden,
I will not find you.
Soon I will fly like a swan,
I will sail in a swift ship to the far shore.

May I see you
Beyond the West, beyond the world,
on that day in which Elves and Men
sing with the Ainur in the splendour of Ilúvatar.

* * *

Here's my other Quenya poem. (This and "Linde Noldova" are my only really decent ones.) This was inspired by the idea of Elves making friends with mortals, as they did sometimes. Legolas and Gimli are the probably most famous example, but I was more inspired by the story of Finrod and Andreth from Morgoth's Ring (a collection of previously unpublished work of Tolkien's). Finrod could not understand the idea of death. Andreth gives a very good explanation of it, and mentions some prophecies Men have had for the mending of their fate by Iluvatar Himself. There is a hope that at the end of time, Elves and Men will be reunited and both will dwell together with Iluvatar. (For non-Tolkienians, Iluvatar, "All-Father," is a name for God.)

I would encourage even those who don't understand Quenya (which is probably everyone) at least to try reading the original out loud. Tolkien put a lot of music into his creation of that language. In the movies, Sindarin is spoken pretty much exclusively, but Quenya is the more beautiful in my opinion. It is supposed to be "high" Elvish, kind of like Elven Latin. Is it any wonder it appeals to me?

I chose to post this today because soon I will take flight like a swan. That is to say, I'm taking a plane, and then another plane, and then another plane, and then another plane, and will be in Rome Thursday morning.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Linde Noldova

by me

Cenin i laurië lantala lassi
ar istan lassalantë tuluva
apa ya úvin cenë coirë.
Úvan marë oialë sinomë.

Enyalin Valimar ar i cálala Aldu
ar Varda yo henduva eleni nar nalta.
Mal Lórien yando ná vanima,
ar alassi Endorwa nar úvië.

Nanyë linyenwa, lá yéni ataníva;
i malinorni nar sindë hendunyassë
yétala oialë Númenna.
Yulmanya yeníva ná lusta.

Umin cenë i metta.
Tienya palya oialë.
Mana lúmessë ciryanya ciruva?
A mannë Atani! An firuvalyë.

Song of the Noldo

I see the golden falling leaves
and I know an autumn will come
after which I will not see the spring.
I shall not remain here forever.

I remember Valimar and the shining Trees
and Varda, of whose eyes the stars are a glittering reflection.
But Lórien also is fair,
and the joys of Middle-earth are abundant.

I am old, beyond years of Men;
the mallorn trees are grey in my eyes,
looking always Westward.
My cup of years is empty.

I do not see the end.
My path stretches forever.
When will my ship set sail?
O blessed Men! For you shall die.

* * *

All right, there it is: my first original poem to be posted on this blog. It was easier somehow to start with my Quenya poetry, with the idea that maybe you'll think it's only stilted because it's not my native language. Of course the framework as well as the language is taken from Tolkien.

It's not very original; it's basically what Galadriel's thoughts might have been around the time of The Lord of the Rings, or another Noldo in Middle-earth at the same time. I wanted to convey the ambivalence that might be felt by someone both eager to go and a little bit sorry to leave. Tolkien somehow manages to give you that sense so well every time we see Elves. They sometimes thought of death as a gift men had been given, instead of as a curse.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

i carry your heart with me

by E.E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

* * *

More Cummings. Sorry Chestertonian. And Meredith may copy-edit this too if she pleases. I got this anthology as a gift yesterday, and I'm finding lots of things I like by poets I don't often read or have never heard of. It's a good change to read something besides Hopkins and Tennyson and Chesterton every once in awhile, even if those are my favorites.

Whatever else might be said of Cummings, he did know how to write a good love poem. I especially like the endearments scattered around: "my dear," "my darling," "my sweet," "my true."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

if if have made,my lady,intricate

by E. E. Cummings

if i have made,my lady,intricate
imperfect various things chiefly which wrong
your eyes(frailer than most deep dreams are frail)
songs less firm than your body's whitest song
upon my mind -- if i have failed to snare
the glance too shy--if through my singing slips
the very skillful strangeness of your smile
the keen primeval silence of your hair

-- let the world say "his most wise music stole
nothing from death" --
                                               you only will create
(who are so perfectly alive)my shame:
lady through whose profound and fragile lips
the sweet small clumsy feet of April came

into the ragged meadow of my soul.

* * *

I came across this poem in an anthology the other day, and I've decided I don't detest everything Cummings ever wrote. (I capitalize him out of pure defiance. I deny that writing "E. E. Cummings" can be considered incorrect.)

Dr. Thursday might point out that this, like all good love poems, can be spoken to God. In honor of the day, I apply it to Mary -- "the lady through whose profound and fragile lips / the sweet small clumsy feet of April came / into the ragged meadow of my soul." She said "Fiat" and a new spring came to the earth.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Announcing the Winners . . .

Here goes: the winners of the 1st annual (biannual? centennial? millenial?) Triolet Contest!

*drum roll*

First Place: Furor with his trio of triolets

Second Place: Kevin O'Brien with "Have Mercy on Me, Lord, a Sinner"

Third Place: Dr. Thursday with "I Left My Verse Out in the Sun"

The Prizes:

Dr. Thursday gets 2 rosaries.

Kevin O'Brien gets 1 Mass.

Furor gets 2 Masses, prayers for his intentions at St. Peter's Basilica when I go there in less than a month, and a link on my sidebar. It's the blue ribbon.

Congratulations! And thanks to all who participated. Keep writing triolets -- because Chesterton wasn't the only one who can write them. Maybe some of you could try submitting your poems to Gilbert! I don't know if they'd print them, but they might, especially if they hold their own triolet contest. I really think they should.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Lend a dinen

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, translated by me into Sindarin

Lend a dínen, lend a dínen,
Sûl aearon Dûn;
Dínen, dínen, thuio na-dhîn,
Sûl aearon Dûn;
Bado or aearon hiriol
Tolo uin Ithil firiel,
Den thuio ad na nin
Ir tithen nîn, bain nîn, losta.

Losto mae, losto mae,
Adar telitha na le;
Vi rainc Naneth losto mae,
Adar telitha na le;
Adar telitha na laes hîn,
Cîr gelebrin pain e Dûn,
Di-Ithil gelebren:
Losto, tithen nîn, losto, bain nîn, losto.

Sweet and quiet, sweet and quiet,
Wind of (the) Sea of (the) West;
Quiet, quiet, breathe with silence,
Wind of (the) Sea of (the) West
Go over the flowing Sea
Come from the dying Moon,
Him blow again to me
When my little (one), my pretty (one), sleeps.

Sleep well, sleep well,
Father will come to thee;
In Mother's arms sleep well,
Father will come to thee;
Father will come to his child,
Silver ships all out of (the) West,
Under (the) silver Moon:
Sleep, my little (one), sleep, my fair (one), sleep.

* * *

All right, there's my translation. It was done with a little help by people on Council of Elrond, and it's still not as good as it might be. My translation wasn't exact, both because I was limited by my knowledge and because I wanted it to sound nice. The grammar's iffy, because there's only so much we know about Sindarin grammar. Tolkien never gave us a grammar text, just examples, so many things are a little bit speculative.

That said, it was a lot of fun to do. I like translations.