Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Exhibit A

His job was just to be an exhibit
he realised and rose -
after wondering about his role
in this wretched world, God.


காட்சியளிப்பதே தன் கடமையென உணர்ந்தவராய் எழுந்தார்
துயர் குழப்பமிக்க இவ்வுலகில்
தன் கடமை என்னவென்று வெகு
யோசனைக்குப் பின் கடவுள் - தேவதேவன்

Translation by me. Devadevan's Tamil poem via R.P.Rajanayahem

Version - 1

God stood up,
realising that his job
was to be an exhibit-
after thinking long and hard
about his role
in this wretched world.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

You begin with teh word "God" while that is the last line of the poem. In the first line, it is unclear who the poem is about.

In your translations that I've read, you begin with the ending of the poem as if to show you've understood it, but that is not translating the poem, it's summarizing it. Also, katchiyalippathu is realising, katchiyalippathE is something a bit more emphatic.

To be an example was his duty, he realised and rose.
In this suffering world,
What was his duty, after so long
thinking about it, God arose.

Well, that doesn't end on God either, but I think it is a bit closer. Maybe.

Chenthil said...

Anon - Thanks. I have revised the translation based on your comment.

Regarding kAtchiyalippathe - I have understood that in the original, the poet ridicules god, saying that he just has to give darshan without doing anything. You have understood it as God presenting himself to the devotees to solve their problems. I think Devadevan will be the only one who can clarify this.

In your translation, you have used arose twice, which isn't there in the original. Your comment made me prune my original attempt, thanks for that.

How about using some handle - may be just an alphabet, so it will be easier for me to address you instead of anon?

Jeeves said...

I dont know whether Iam competent enough to judge your poetry. But somehow this isnt your best. Your earlier translations and poetry had lot of depth, but there are lot of pauses in this poem. The flow is lacking.

Chenthil said...

Jeeves - dont worry about the competency. No one is competent or incompetent. I am still trying to translate poetry. The tamil one is not mine, it was written by one of the leading poets of modern Tamil literature, Deva Devan.

Ela said...

Pochuda....ippa God ikkum depression a! i say he can contact some iyyerval and get some homam done to bring happiness and fulfillment in his life!

Anonymous said...

To reveal- His duty
He realized and rose;
In this world of chaotic dispair-
He wondered long
To realize his duty,God.


ashok

Anonymous said...

"example" is perhaps too much, but no, I didn't understand it as God coming to solve problems.

To be an exhibit was his duty, he rose as someone who had understood
In this suffering-confused world
What his duty was, after so long
Thinking about it, God arose

I don't see how to get away from ending on a verb in English, "after wondering, God" sounds like an introductory clause whose primary clause is incomplete.

And my initial caps is a habit/beef probably inappropriate here.

Ashok's "chaotic" reminded me I'd dropped kuzhappamikka.

Fun though. Handle, how about சுள்ளக்கன்

Krishnan said...

Nice attempt Chenthil. When you find time, do share with us your most favorite collections of Tamil pudukavithaigal you have read. I would like to get hold of them during the Chennai Book Fair in January.