Stars Arcane and Sacred

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Below are the first four lines of a poem that I’m working on. First I’ve written them in English:

 

Stars arcane and sacred

perish in the night

brilliant supernovae blooms

announce their dying light

 

And here, I’ve made an admittedly amateur attempt to translate them into Irish, with an eye just slightly toward using words that while virtually the same in meaning, will alter the overall tone of the poem to some degree.

 

Réaltaí diamhair agus naofa

fuair siad bás san oíche

óllnóvaí bláthanna lonrach

fógraíonn siad a solas ag fuarú

 

Which when translated back into English, reads as follows:

 

Stars secluded and sacred

they find death in the night

brilliant supernovae blooms

they announce their light growing cold

 

So far, I”ve only run this translation past one Gaeilgeoir (native Irish speaker), who pronounced it “not horrible”.  However, this man has been known to play practical jokes at my expense. So if you’re an Irish speaker, ( or even if you’re not) feel free to lend me your constructive criticism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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48 Responses to Stars Arcane and Sacred

  1. jac forsyth says:

    Holy Moley. I’m not an Irish speaker, but I read the lines out loud and within the context of your poem, and it was like being somewhere else.
    The re-translation feels ancient, what a damn interesting thing to do.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Not only is it “not horrible” its amazingly elegant regardless of which translated version you read. Pretty sweet accomplishment to be able to do that.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. tripleclicka says:

    I tried to read the Irish one out loud and couldn’t do it. The other two are beautiful so I will assume if I could read it, that one must be too. So is it really Irish speaking? Or is it Gaelic? (I could have the completely wrong word there)

    Liked by 2 people

    • oglach says:

      “Gaelic” is the word used for Scots Gaelic, which is closely related to Irish (Gaeilge), but different. My command of Irish is pretty poor, but still better than it was when I was a kid. The language is very beautiful when spoken, but it is pronounced quite a bit differently than spelled. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem. Many thanks for the interest.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. megaeggz says:

    Well it looks like you’ve written 3 poems. They’re brilliant but I can only comment on the second one’s looks.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dunno which language is intended for the final version, but I really like the original English. Looking forward to seeing what will come next.

    Not knowing any Irish, I cannot evaluate the Irish translation at all. The net effect of going English –> Irish –> English is a loss of readability as well as rhyme and rhythm, but the general sense is mostly intact. That’s better than what happened in the early days of machine translation, when somebody realized that looking at the results of going English –> Russian –> English would be more convenient than finding somebody bilingual to evaluate just one step. A proverb fared much worse than your poem:

    The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. –>
            {{ something in Russian }} –>
                    The vodka is strong but the meat is rotten.

    Liked by 2 people

    • oglach says:

      If I continue with the poem, I’ll continue the translation as well, with changes made (to the Irish) if any are suggested. When I’m finished, there will be an English and Irish version. I’ll take poetic license with the latter (as with the former) which I hope will help with the readability. It’s both an experiment and a learning exercise for myself which I hope others will find interesting.
      The Russian proverb “translation” is classic. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. not an irish speaker, but i’ve been to ireland as we’ve discussed, does that count? probably not. :/
    but i will say, this is going to be a rough decision. both the “translated back to english” and original one up top have phrases that i like and stick out to me. i bet once you’ve got the entire piece finished, both your words and the translated back (which are all your words anyway), the two english version will have a lot of lines to pick and choose from.

    Liked by 2 people

    • oglach says:

      Your opinion always counts. I’m with you on this one—I like seeing how the lines change through translations, but I’m sort of stuck on the “original” too. We’ll see what happens. Thanks for reading, Samantha.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Truly fascinating! What I enjoyed most, apart from your excellent rhyme, is how the poem changed in its English translation after you explored the Gaelic derivative.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I wish I had more of the language than what I learned in school many moons ago, and that I could be more helpful to you. The English version is beautiful, though.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wow! This is wonderful, Óglach! I love all three versions and can´t really wait how the poem will continue!!! I just wish someone (hint, hint 😉 ) would read to me the Irish version so I know what it really sounds like and not only what I tortured it to be when I read this aloud 😉 As you know, I love reading your poems out loud – they always sound fantastic to me 🙂 And now you also take care of me and my decision making to learn Gaelic someday 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • oglach says:

      Sarah, you always know just what to say to make me smile. What a wonderful comment. If I can get even one person to become interested in the Irish language, that is a huge victory for me. (Although I have years of learning ahead of me before I can properly call myself a speaker. ) Once again, you’ve made my day. Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • You´re so welcome, Óglach! 🙂 And it´s lovely to know I can make you smile 🙂
        (as I always say: a smile a day, keeps the doctor away!)
        Do you know if there are any films completely made in Irish or Gaelic? I often watch foreign films with subtitles to improve my listening abilities and wonder if it would be possible to do the same with Irish/Gaelic. See? You’ve got my interest in this language kindled now 😉 Have a lovely day! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • oglach says:

        There are plenty of documentaries in Irish that originally aired on TG4, which is our Irish language channel. You can find a lot of these on YT, and most of them have subtitles. A really popular soap opera, “Ros na Run”, is also good for learning, because it gives you a better idea of how people speak in everyday life. (Everyday for a soap 🙂 ) ” Corp & Anam” is a crime drama you might enjoy. “Yu Ming is Ainm Dom” is a good short film, as is “Fluent Dysphasia” . That should hold you over for a while. 🙂 Happy to help, and thanks again for your interest. Have a lovely weekend. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, wow! Thanks so much, Óglach!!! I had no idea! That´s just awesome, and it will help so much! Will write your suggestions down and watch them on youtube! And you´re right, this will take a while 😉 Thanks again! You´re the best! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  10. MC Clark says:

    Since I can neither read or speak Irish, I don’t know how the second poem “sounds”, to voice an opinion on it. But I will say that, to me, translated back to English, it loses something. How the ear perceives the sounds of the words are as important as the words themselves, as you know. Like Sara above, I would love to hear the Irish translation read aloud.. Three shows promise if tweaked, but one is truly lovely, O. I look forward to “hearing” the rest of your poem.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Perhaps you can use the mic tool that Rose has used to read her poem in her blog. That would be great to hear both the English versions and the Irish read by you. That would definitely add another dimension. Your poem sounds elegant and romantic.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. michnavs says:

    ohhhh my..this is just beautiful. ..regardless of which language you translate it..

    Liked by 2 people

  13. fictionspawn says:

    Interesting little game. I might try the same in languages I speak. I like the second one best. The Irish one I don’t understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. poeturja says:

    “Arcana” and “Arcane” are my favorite words so I liked that better than “secluded” on my first read. But then I thought about seclusion, came up with medieval nuns locked away, and my mind wandered, but in a good way. I think the English works, either version…

    Liked by 1 person

    • oglach says:

      The word I used for “secluded” can also be translated as “eerie” and “hidden”. I’m like you; I’m very fond of the word ” arcane.” 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ní cainteoir dúchais mé ach nil caill ar bith ar mo chuid Gaeilge i dtaca le holc. Bhal, nil an t-aistriúchán uafásach ar chor ar bith ach mholfainn roinnt mionathruithe:
    Réaltaí diamhra naofa
    fuair siad bás san oíche
    bláthanna d’óllnóvaí lonracha
    a fhógraíonn a solas agus iad ag fuarú
    Ní raibh rud ar bith cearr le líne a do ná le líne a ceathair ó thaobh gramadaí de ach caithfidh diamhra a bheith san iolra le réaltaí agus ní dóigh liom go raibh bláthanna san áit cheart I líne a trí. Dán deas, cibé. Tréaslaím do shaothar leat!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Óglach, it’s a wonderful poem. (or if there’s more to come, I’ll look forward to it) I’m an Irish speaker (but one from Dublin, not the Gaeltacht) but I’m going to suggest something that I think might sound better… since you asked 🙂

    Réaltaí diamhair is naofa

    fuair siad bás san oíche

    ollnóvaí bláthach lonrach

    fógraíonn a solas ag fuarú

    ‘is’ (pronounced ‘iss’) is often used as a shortened version of ‘agus’

    Ollnóvaí – (I don’t think you should have a fada on the ‘o’)

    Bláthanna in your third line – you sort of can’t have 2 nouns following each other in Irish. Would you mind if the second one became an adjective, as in: blooming supernovae. Generally, the adjectives follow the nouns.. example: Fear mór lonrach – meaning: Big shiny man.

    Last line – you’re allowed to skip the article (they- siad) ( not often in the spoken language but especially for poetry)

    I hope you don’t mind me getting involved, I’m not a poet but I think, possibly like all the other readers, we were captivated by the poem

    Slán go fóill, eoin

    Liked by 1 person

    • oglach says:

      Excellent suggestions, Eoin. As you can see, I need all the help I can get! 🙂 My younger brother (who is an Irish speaker) also pointed out the grammatical error in the third line. I think your version reads much more smoothly and I will definitely implement the changes you suggested. (Now if only the last six lines will come to me from wherever it is poems come from…) Many thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      Like

  17. Ooh… I’m having a love affair with this one! I really like the translation and cross-translation… Words and ideas so often escape the pen and the writer both!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m not an Irish speaker, but I enjoyed the original English form and its re-formation later from the Irish. “Dying light” and “Light growing cold” signify the same for heavenly bodies, but the second one sounds more evocative… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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