Three Rromani poems on pain and sorrow (… what else?) (I)

I read “Dukh” (Pain) , by Hedina Tahirović Sijerčić, 2007, some months ago, about past Christmas. It is a book of poems mainly inspired by the tragedy brought to the Rromani folk by the Bosnian war; and thus, they speak about loss and death, but also of love (passionate love, as it should always be -read for an instance “Ka Merav Pala Tute”: I Will Die For You-). And all of them are penetrated by striking images of our old legends, customs and folklore -some beautiful, some terrible; all of them genuine-. They deal with our magic (spells, fortune-telling, love-potions and… curses), with our affections and beliefs, with our collective dreams and our doom as individuals and as a people…

They are indeed beautiful poems, especially poignant -at least for me- thanks to their simplicity and candidness, as the author (a Rromni near her fifties when she published the book) has chosen to address us directly out of her memories as a very young woman;  her voice is the voice of a girl -and a scared one!- who fights desperately to apprehend what’s happening around her; to process all that horror, making it bearable through her will to prevail; to do not ever forget, and perhaps do not forgive: to serve one day as a witness of what the world of the Gadze did to her/our world; as has almost always done and continues to do.

There are nineteen poems of variated lenght in her collection. They are written in Gurbeti Rromani (which belongs to the same Vlax dialect group that the one my dad and his parents spoke), and the author also offers to the non-Rroma or non-Rromani speaking readers a version in English (though sometimes it’s more an adaptation than a literal rendering).

My aim is to translate all the original poems into my other parental tongue -my mother’s one: Catalan. And even if this blog is mainly written in English, neither Rromani nor Catalan are alien to it. I’ve intended all translations to be as literal as feasible, renouncing most times to keep the few rhymes found in the originals and just trying to be more or less faithful to the rhythm and impulse of the verses.

To this point -being rather ill as I’m- I have only translated entirely three of them: the second, fourth and fifth: “Nashav” (Jo Fujo), “Dukhalipe” (Patiment) and “Akharipe e Dadeske Odji” (Crida a l’Ànima del Pare), being these among the ones with which I have identifyied more deeply. As a matter of fact, it has stroken me how much Hedina’s voice as a frightened girl was -and still is- my voice as a girl too.

I hope very much that I can dispose of time enough for translating all the rest of this lovely (if sorrowful) book!

Hedina Tahirović Sijerčić was born on 11. 11. 1960 in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. She is a journalist, teacher and translator, and while living in Canada she was the editor-in-chief of the first Canadian-Rromani newsletter: “Romano Lil” from 1998 to 2001.

She is the author of “Romany Legends” (2004, Turnshare, London), with texts in English and German, and of “Rromane Paramicha : Stories and Legends of the Gurbeti Roma” (2009, Magoria Books, Toronto); a collection of Rromani folktales written in Rromani and translated into English.

PS. by Li Fontrodona:
I’ll publish these three poems (in fact, perhaps four, since Ariel had another one nearly translated and I could do the rest) in separate posts, as soon as I finish the edition and revision of every one of them.
I’ll also include at the end -in a different colour- the English version made by the author herself.

Akharipe e Dadeske Odji

Dade dema va!

Amare odja – jekh odji.

Numaj tu ichares zuralipe te

putares pharipe savo vulisarilo man.

Numaj tu ichares zuralipe te

achaves ratvale jasva e morestar ilestar.

Numaj tu ichares zuralipe te

nashales moraki rakli.

Dade dema va!

Amare odja – jekh odji.

Numaj chiri odji shaj te akharel mrni.

Akhar dade, ka tasav!

Numaj chiro dzuvdipe shaj te akharel mrno.

Akhar dade, ka merav!

___________________________________

Crida a l’Ànima del Pare

Pare, ajuda’m!

Les nostres ànimes – una sola ànima.

Només tu has estat capaç

d’arrabassar la tristor que m’embolcava.

Només tu has estat capaç

d’aturar el plor sangonós del meu cor.

Només tu has estat capaç

De foragitar de mi els malsons.

Pare, ajuda’m!

Les nostres ànimes – una sola ànima.

Només la teva ànima pot cridar la meva.

Crida-la, pare, que m’ofego!

Només la teva vida pot cridar la meva.

Crida-la, pare, que em moro!

 [Traducció d’Ari Fontrodona, 2016]


Calling Father’s Soul

Father help me!

Our souls – one soul.

Only you have forced me

to unwrap the sorrow which has engulfed me.

Only you have forced me

to stop the bloody tears of my heart.

Only you have forced me

to drive away a nightmare.

Father help me!

Our souls – one soul.

Only your soul can call my soul.

Call it, father! I am suffocating!

Your life alone can call my life.

Call it, father! I am dying!

[Translated by Hedina Tahirović Sijerčić]


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