Poetry for teachers of EAL children

I missed blogging on poetry day as I was not sure which poem to blog so as usual time has gone by and here we are nearly a month from it but I was reminded today thanks to my blog about Tamil poems being translated into English and a comment from Usha Rajagopalan. In her comment to me she suggested looking at a link where four poems had been published I duly followed and enjoyed the poems so much I thought I would just put my favourite below.Great because I am ahead now for poetry week !

A great poetry resource for English teachers teaching Tamil children and others in their class as the use of nature in such an appealing way should capture their imaginations. So may things to look at the rhythm, the words, the length of each line, the genre, cultural references,the pictures it creates in ones mind etc.

Kuyil Paattu 2

In the trilling and warbling of birds in the forest,
In the music of the wind as it rustles through the leaves,
In the laughter of the rippling river and cascading falls,
In the ever-swelling waves of the blue ocean,
In the passionate lyrics of girls deeply in love,
In songs that drip with honey, in notes that melt the heart.
In the singsong of farmers as they draw water,
In the ancient chants of women as they grind corn,
In the country notes of those who powder limestone,
In the catchy little ditties of women working in farms,
In the tinkling of bangles on maidens’ arms,
In a circle as they dance clapping their hands,
In the notes of the flute and the veenai and
In instruments that men strum or blow air through.
In the melody that is heard all day long,
In the teeming city and in nature’s wilderness,
In all these notes I have lost myself.

This was pipped to the top but I loved the sentiments of Show mercy to the Enemy.

Show Mercy to the Enemy

Show mercy to the enemy, kindly heart. Show mercy to the enemy!
In the thick of smoke, there is fire. We have seen this on earth, kindly heart,

We have seen this on earth. In the midst of enmity, God dwells as love. God dwells as love, kindly heart, God dwells as love.

A lucent pearl can be found nestled within An oyster shell, don’t you know, kindly heart? Growing in the midst of refuse, can’t the Madhavi creeper Bloom in profusion, kindly heart?

When falsehood creeps into the mind, Can the mind be at peace, kindly heart? If a little poison is added to pure honey, Can it still be called honey, kindly heart?

Planning to live and grow, to think of decay, Is it fair to life, kindly heart? To subdue another is to take one’s own life. Haven’t you heard this, kindly heart?
He came like one of the Kauravas, To take part in the war, kindly heart. Didn’t Kannan also stand, whip in hand At the helm of Arjun’s chariot, kindly heart?

Even the tiger that threatens to devour us, You can win over with love, kindly heart. When Ma Parashakti appears as a tiger, Bow to her, kindly heart, bow to her.

Bilingual poetry – Tamil/English

Writing poetry is difficult but bilingualising it is another all together. With this in mind it is no wonder that the writer almost started negatively as the poetry of the original is so well-known. The news item starts of by saying that:

Reading a bi-lingual edition of a work-in-translation is akin to living on the border between two friendly nations. You can hop from source text to translated text, making up your mind along the way about several things at once.

Translated by Usha Rajagopalan, this special bilingual edition of the Tamil poet Subramania Bharati’s poems carries that lovely promise.

It is such a shame that the emphasis was not more on that now everyone can have some experience of the original poets words, or that people who have spoken Tamil previously but now speak more English, can get access to the text now rather than the emphasis on the poetry not having the same feel when literally translated. it is such a  shame because from what I read I got some song and drama…so maybe it’s in the mind of the reader and whether you come to it with a positive or negative place.

The writer does relent a little later and says that:

In a small subset of her translations, however, Usha really lets go and thereby almost gets Bharati’s voice. “To the Sun” is one such example:

O Sun! What have you done to darkness?

Driven it away? Killed it? Swallowed it?

Have you smothered it with your embrace,

Hidden it with your light ray hands?

Other translations which do reasonably well are “To the Wind” and “Clarity of mind”. “Kannamma, My Beloved” very nearly works, marred only by the “alas! alas!” of the closing lines.

I for one are happy that these poems have been opened up for me, as I love poetry and I am sure many others will as well.  Lets face it how often do story tellers complain that things have been taken out of context by their peers or it’s not true to the original when all involved speak the same language so I say Bravo and well Done.

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/books/no-song-here/article3968309.ece

There is also another more positive story which can be found below.

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/books/dwelling-on-silence/article3968311.ece

When I am lonely – Dual text poetry- Japan

For anyone looking for dual language poetry here is a great example.

Entry No. 1

When I am lonely,
Strangers do not know.

When I am lonely,
My friends are laughing.

When I am lonely,
My mother is kind.

When I am lonely,
Buddha is lonely.

わたしがさびしいとき、
よその人は知らないの。
 
わたしがさびしいとき、
お友だちはわらうの。
 
わたしがさびしいとき、
み母さんはやさしいの。
 
わたしがさびしいとき、
ほとけさまはさびしいの。

NOTES:

Kaneko Misuzu (1903-1930) was a poet. When her ex-husband attempted to gain custody of their daughter, she committed suicide. She was 26.

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