Trova do vento que passa
Pergunto ao vento que passa
Notícias do meu país
E o vento cala e desgraça
O vento nada me diz.
Pergunto aos rios que levam
Tanto sonho à flor das águas
E os rios não me sossegam
Levam sonhos deixam mágoas.
Levam sonhos deixam mágoas
Ai rios do meu país.
Minha pátria à flor das águas
Para onde vais? Ninguém diz.
Se o verde trevo desfolhas
Pede notícias e diz
Ao trevo de quatro folhas
Que morro por meu país.
Pergunto à gente que passa
Por que vai de olhos no chão.
Silêncio – é tudo o que tem
Quem vive na servidão.
Vi florir os verdes ramos
Direitos e ao céu voltados.
E a quem gosta de ter amos
Vi sempre os ombros curvados.
My attempt at translating the first 6 stanzas into German:
Kleines Lied vom vorüberwehenden Wind
Ich bitte den vorüberwehenden Wind
Um Nachricht vom meinem Land.
Der Wind verschweigt das Unglück,
Der Wind verrät mir nichts.
Ich frage die Flüsse, auf denen
So viele Träume treiben.
Die Flüsse beruhigen mich nicht,
Sie nehmen meine Träume, lassen mir den Schmerz.
Sie nehmen meine Träume, lassen mir den Schmerz,
Ihr Flüsse meines Landes,
Ach, mein Heimatland am Saum des Wassers.
Wohin du treibst, das sagt mir keiner.
Wenn du den grünen Klee entblätterst,
So bitte ihn um Nachricht.
Dem vierblättrigen Klee gibt zu verstehen,
Ich sterbe für mein Land.
Ich frage die, die mir begegnen,
Warum sie ihre Augen senken.
Sie schweigen, das ist alles, was dem bleibst,
Der in der Knechschaft lebt.
Ich sah die grünen Zweige blühen
Dem hImmel zugewandt und ganz gerade.
Jedoch, wer Herren über sich erträgt
Den sah ich immer mit gebeugten Schultern.
Translation has always been a passion.
As I was translating this poem from Portuguese into German, Novalis came to mind. For him there are three types of translation: grammatical, mythical, and modifier. The grammatical translations would be the translations in the usual sense. They have pots of erudition, but only discursive capacities are at stake. Mythical translations are the ones requiring a style at its most elevated level, and they present us with the most perfect character of the work at hand. They don’t give us the perfect work of art, but rather its ideal. On the other hand, with the modifying translations we have, when authentic, the supreme depiction of the poetical spirit. In fact, the translator using this type of translation must be a poet as well, in order to be able to give us the idea of the whole in several forms, i.e., the poet-translator must be the Poet of the Poet, and simultaneously be able to let the alter-ego speak according to his or her own idea, as well as portraying the idea of the poet in translation.
I’ve never been either a Poet or a translator. That pretension is not mine. This was a translation by an Engineer, not by a writer. For me translation is something I do to be able to get closer to the Thing I’m reading. It’s one of the techniques I use when I’m close-reading something. The higher the degree of inter-penetration between me and the work of the author, the more I’m able to write about it. That’s the reason a lot of my book reviewing is interspersed with translations.
In this aspect I feel closer to German than English. I see my time rendering one language into another as hours out of the world, alone with fascination with language, with the German language, and the author at hand. With English I’m not able to do that. I’ve always thought German is the ideal language to express thought. My paradigm is the beauty of the diction by Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, or Andreas Scholl. Of course when one goes to the German of Austria, what I hear around me not always matches the paradigm of absolute perfection...
NB: "Praça da Canção" = Song Square.