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A Good Poem -- Tukaram

Guest poem sent in by Arunasri Nishtala
(Poem #1575) A Good Poem
 A good poem is like finding a hole
      in the palace
          wall--
      never know what you
          might
           see.
-- Tukaram
        (translated by Daniel Ladinsky)

 The poem above is written by Tukaram (c. 1608-1649), a Marathi uplifting
poet. I have never read the original (I am not a Maharashrian), and I do not
know how good the translation is, I must confess. Nevertheless, I liked it
and thought I'd share it with you.

 I chose to send this poem because it has an interesting fundamental
definition of poetry. Secondly I guess I want to motivate you guys into
putting effort into Indian and other language poetry translations. It
certainly will increase verity on the abstract beauty of thoughts. (Yes,
translations can sometime be not well done, I understand)

Arunasri Nishtala

[Martin adds]

Arunasri raises a rather interesting point - should a translation of a poem
be judged more on its accuracy or on its poetic merits? If it turned out
that today's poem was indeed *not* a faithful translation of Tukaram's
original (and if any Marathi speaker knows the original, do write in!) would
it affect its value as a poem in its own right? And more fundamentally, is
poetry even 'translatable', or is the translator inevitably creating a new
work of art, in collaboration with but not identifiable with the original?

martin

[Links]

Biography of Tukaram: http://www.tukaram.com/pages/intro1.asp
And a somewhat blurby one of Ladinsky: [broken link] http://www.tgrady.com/ladinsky.htm

45 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Norm Rourke/Connie Carson-Rourke said...

The poem isn't here in text only version or otherwise???

Gwilym Williams said...

The poem 'A Good Poem' should be read twice;
looking in, looking out.
Good poems should always be read at least twice.
Bad poems need not be read twice.

Dan said...

Regarding literary translation, I'm of the opinion that it may be enjoyed
two ways: as an art form in itself or as a companion poem to the original.
The former is usually the case when the reader is not aware that the poem he
or she is reading is a translation and it is appreciated on its own merits;
the latter takes place usually among translators themselves who flex their
literary muscle through the rediscovery and imitation of conventions in the
mother poem in terms of number of syllables and rhyme for example with the
effect of, as a student of mine recently pointed out, replicating the
essence of the translated. I prefer to call it the poem's tone and mood
though.

My two cents anyway.

...we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces
perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope
does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our
hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

THE HOLY BIBLE, Romans 5:3-5

kamagra said...

can you post other poems from Tukaram ? I find all his oeuvres very interesting, also a little biography of this guy will be welcome.

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