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Translating a Santooka haiku

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  • lbolenyc
    Here is a translation of a Santooka haiku I found at Terebess Asia Online, translated by Takashi Nonin: Having moved in and settled down, I m surrounded by
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 1, 2006
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      Here is a translation of a Santooka haiku I found at Terebess Asia
      Online, translated by Takashi Nonin:

      Having moved in and settled down,
      I'm surrounded by flowers of the opposite shore/
      flowers of the autumnal equinox.*

      *opposite shore (Higan)--Buddhistic term.
      autumnal equinox (Higan/Shuubun-no-hi)--day on the calendar.

      (Utsuri kite/ o-higanbana no/ hana zakari)

      http://www.terebess.hu/english/haiku/taneda.html


      This translation seems way too wordy to me. The problem is in
      deciding what to include in the translation, and what to consign to
      an explanatory footnote.

      The flower in question is lycoris radiata, commonly known as (red(
      spider lily; but since it is part of the amaryllis family, I have
      also seen it called amaryllis.

      Here are a couple of attempts at translation I have made:

      settled in among
      flowers of the other shore...
      autumn equinox

      settled in and surrounded
      by red spider lilies--
      autumn equinox


      There is another translation of this haiku I have found:

      (First days in the Gochuu-an)

      moving in
      higan lilies
      at their best

      tr. Burton Watson


      Is Mr. Watson's translation too minimalist?

      I have also come across a couple of nicknames for the red spider
      lily, as found in the following exerpt:

      "Japanese people had long loathed higanbana because it grows in
      cemeteries, blooms in autumn (a season when, according to Buddhist
      teachings, people enter a world of death from the world of life), and
      its bulbs contain a toxin that affects the nerve system. In fact,
      higanbana has been nicknamed shibitobana (dead person's flower) and
      jigokubana (flower of the hell). Legend goes that people who eat
      higanbana in hunger are destined to die due to the toxin."

      http://www.kippo.or.jp/News/Asp/EngNewsList.Asp?
      NewsDateYY=2006&NewsDateMM=08&NewsDateDD=23&SeqNo=05%09%09%09%09%09%09

      I am considering how I could work the nicknames, as a description of
      the flower, into a translation of the haiku, but I haven't come up
      with any good way of doing it yet.

      Does anyone else want to take a stab at translating this haiku?

      Larry
    • simple_sigh_man
      Larry san The first link you supplied is pivotal to my thinking. horohoro , prelude to the coming season! early retirement -- a swirl of leaves pulls my
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 1, 2006
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        Larry san

        The first link you supplied is pivotal to my thinking. "horohoro",
        prelude to the coming season!

        early retirement --
        a swirl of leaves
        pulls my sleaves

        kanpai

        ~SSM~ (chibi)

        --- In translatinghaiku@yahoogroups.com, "lbolenyc" <lbolenyc@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Here is a translation of a Santooka haiku I found at Terebess Asia
        > Online, translated by Takashi Nonin:
        >
        > Having moved in and settled down,
        > I'm surrounded by flowers of the opposite shore/
        > flowers of the autumnal equinox.*
        >
        > *opposite shore (Higan)--Buddhistic term.
        > autumnal equinox (Higan/Shuubun-no-hi)--day on the calendar.
        >
        > (Utsuri kite/ o-higanbana no/ hana zakari)
        >
        > http://www.terebess.hu/english/haiku/taneda.html
        >
        >
        > This translation seems way too wordy to me. The problem is in
        > deciding what to include in the translation, and what to consign
        to
        > an explanatory footnote.
        >
        > The flower in question is lycoris radiata, commonly known as (red(
        > spider lily; but since it is part of the amaryllis family, I have
        > also seen it called amaryllis.
        >
        > Here are a couple of attempts at translation I have made:
        >
        > settled in among
        > flowers of the other shore...
        > autumn equinox
        >
        > settled in and surrounded
        > by red spider lilies--
        > autumn equinox
        >
        >
        > There is another translation of this haiku I have found:
        >
        > (First days in the Gochuu-an)
        >
        > moving in
        > higan lilies
        > at their best
        >
        > tr. Burton Watson
        >
        >
        > Is Mr. Watson's translation too minimalist?
        >
        > I have also come across a couple of nicknames for the red spider
        > lily, as found in the following exerpt:
        >
        > "Japanese people had long loathed higanbana because it grows in
        > cemeteries, blooms in autumn (a season when, according to Buddhist
        > teachings, people enter a world of death from the world of life),
        and
        > its bulbs contain a toxin that affects the nerve system. In fact,
        > higanbana has been nicknamed shibitobana (dead person's flower)
        and
        > jigokubana (flower of the hell). Legend goes that people who eat
        > higanbana in hunger are destined to die due to the toxin."
        >
        > http://www.kippo.or.jp/News/Asp/EngNewsList.Asp?
        > NewsDateYY=2006&NewsDateMM=08&NewsDateDD=23&SeqNo=05%09%09%09%09%
        09%09
        >
        > I am considering how I could work the nicknames, as a description
        of
        > the flower, into a translation of the haiku, but I haven't come up
        > with any good way of doing it yet.
        >
        > Does anyone else want to take a stab at translating this haiku?
        >
        > Larry
        >

        My stab:

        relocation
        to a temporary place --
        spider lilies' flower

        My interpretations based on the links you provided.
      • Norman Darlington
        ... http://www.kippo.or.jp/News/Asp/EngNewsList.Asp?NewsDateYY=2006&NewsDateMM=08&NewsDateDD=23&SeqNo=05%09%09%09%09%09%09 ... Hi Larry, all I have a French
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 1, 2006
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          --- In translatinghaiku@yahoogroups.com, "lbolenyc" <lbolenyc@...> wrote:
          >
          > Here is a translation of a Santooka haiku I found at Terebess Asia
          > Online, translated by Takashi Nonin:
          >
          > Having moved in and settled down,
          > I'm surrounded by flowers of the opposite shore/
          > flowers of the autumnal equinox.*
          >
          > *opposite shore (Higan)--Buddhistic term.
          > autumnal equinox (Higan/Shuubun-no-hi)--day on the calendar.
          >
          > (Utsuri kite/ o-higanbana no/ hana zakari)
          >
          > http://www.terebess.hu/english/haiku/taneda.html
          >
          >
          > This translation seems way too wordy to me. The problem is in
          > deciding what to include in the translation, and what to consign to
          > an explanatory footnote.
          >
          > The flower in question is lycoris radiata, commonly known as (red(
          > spider lily; but since it is part of the amaryllis family, I have
          > also seen it called amaryllis.
          >
          > Here are a couple of attempts at translation I have made:
          >
          > settled in among
          > flowers of the other shore...
          > autumn equinox
          >
          > settled in and surrounded
          > by red spider lilies--
          > autumn equinox
          >
          >
          > There is another translation of this haiku I have found:
          >
          > (First days in the Gochuu-an)
          >
          > moving in
          > higan lilies
          > at their best
          >
          > tr. Burton Watson
          >
          >
          > Is Mr. Watson's translation too minimalist?
          >
          > I have also come across a couple of nicknames for the red spider
          > lily, as found in the following exerpt:
          >
          > "Japanese people had long loathed higanbana because it grows in
          > cemeteries, blooms in autumn (a season when, according to Buddhist
          > teachings, people enter a world of death from the world of life), and
          > its bulbs contain a toxin that affects the nerve system. In fact,
          > higanbana has been nicknamed shibitobana (dead person's flower) and
          > jigokubana (flower of the hell). Legend goes that people who eat
          > higanbana in hunger are destined to die due to the toxin."
          >
          http://www.kippo.or.jp/News/Asp/EngNewsList.Asp?NewsDateYY=2006&NewsDateMM=08&NewsDateDD=23&SeqNo=05%09%09%09%09%09%09
          >
          > I am considering how I could work the nicknames, as a description of
          > the flower, into a translation of the haiku, but I haven't come up
          > with any good way of doing it yet.
          >
          > Does anyone else want to take a stab at translating this haiku?
          >
          > Larry
          >

          Hi Larry, all
          I have a French translation (from the Atlan/Bianu 2002 anthology)
          which is substantially different:

          Les herbes folles
          se couvrent d'automne —
          je m'assieds

          (I wonder can 'crazy weeds' be justified?)

          Best wishes
          Norman
        • lbolenyc
          ... Asia ... to ... ( ... Buddhist ... and ... and ... NewsDateYY=2006&NewsDateMM=08&NewsDateDD=23&SeqNo=05%09%09%09%09%09%09 ... of ... up ... Hi Norman, and
          Message 4 of 5 , Sep 2, 2006
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            --- In translatinghaiku@yahoogroups.com, "Norman Darlington"
            <norman@...> wrote:
            >
            > --- In translatinghaiku@yahoogroups.com, "lbolenyc" <lbolenyc@>
            wrote:
            > >
            > > Here is a translation of a Santooka haiku I found at Terebess
            Asia
            > > Online, translated by Takashi Nonin:
            > >
            > > Having moved in and settled down,
            > > I'm surrounded by flowers of the opposite shore/
            > > flowers of the autumnal equinox.*
            > >
            > > *opposite shore (Higan)--Buddhistic term.
            > > autumnal equinox (Higan/Shuubun-no-hi)--day on the calendar.
            > >
            > > (Utsuri kite/ o-higanbana no/ hana zakari)
            > >
            > > http://www.terebess.hu/english/haiku/taneda.html
            > >
            > >
            > > This translation seems way too wordy to me. The problem is in
            > > deciding what to include in the translation, and what to consign
            to
            > > an explanatory footnote.
            > >
            > > The flower in question is lycoris radiata, commonly known as (red
            (
            > > spider lily; but since it is part of the amaryllis family, I have
            > > also seen it called amaryllis.
            > >
            > > Here are a couple of attempts at translation I have made:
            > >
            > > settled in among
            > > flowers of the other shore...
            > > autumn equinox
            > >
            > > settled in and surrounded
            > > by red spider lilies--
            > > autumn equinox
            > >
            > >
            > > There is another translation of this haiku I have found:
            > >
            > > (First days in the Gochuu-an)
            > >
            > > moving in
            > > higan lilies
            > > at their best
            > >
            > > tr. Burton Watson
            > >
            > >
            > > Is Mr. Watson's translation too minimalist?
            > >
            > > I have also come across a couple of nicknames for the red spider
            > > lily, as found in the following exerpt:
            > >
            > > "Japanese people had long loathed higanbana because it grows in
            > > cemeteries, blooms in autumn (a season when, according to
            Buddhist
            > > teachings, people enter a world of death from the world of life),
            and
            > > its bulbs contain a toxin that affects the nerve system. In fact,
            > > higanbana has been nicknamed shibitobana (dead person's flower)
            and
            > > jigokubana (flower of the hell). Legend goes that people who eat
            > > higanbana in hunger are destined to die due to the toxin."
            > >
            > http://www.kippo.or.jp/News/Asp/EngNewsList.Asp?
            NewsDateYY=2006&NewsDateMM=08&NewsDateDD=23&SeqNo=05%09%09%09%09%09%09
            > >
            > > I am considering how I could work the nicknames, as a description
            of
            > > the flower, into a translation of the haiku, but I haven't come
            up
            > > with any good way of doing it yet.
            > >
            > > Does anyone else want to take a stab at translating this haiku?
            > >
            > > Larry
            > >
            >
            > Hi Larry, all
            > I have a French translation (from the Atlan/Bianu 2002 anthology)
            > which is substantially different:
            >
            > Les herbes folles
            > se couvrent d'automne —
            > je m'assieds
            >
            > (I wonder can 'crazy weeds' be justified?)
            >
            > Best wishes
            > Norman
            >


            Hi Norman, and all

            To begin with, my attempts at translating this haiku stink! I don't
            know what I was thinking.

            Regarding the French, all I have is my little pathetic high school
            French-English dictionary, and the internet.

            Les Herbe Folles must be very idiomatic. It is the name of a book by
            Jane Hamilton, the name of a flower shop, the name of a perfume (les
            herbes folles en vente), and the phrase has been used as the title of
            various paintings of wild flowers.

            Although the word for 'wild flowers' in French is 'fleurs suavage', I
            suspect that 'les herbes folles' can also have a similar meaning,
            although I've also seen it translated as 'bad grass'. LOL

            Onto red spider lilies. 'Spider lily' in French is 'lys araignee'.
            The French must call lycoris radiata something. Would it be 'lys
            araignee rouge'?

            I like the phrase "se couvrent d'automne" which I translate
            as 'covers autumn [with] themselves'.

            "je m'assieds" must be idiomatic also: I sit. I wonder why the
            translator wouldn't use the verb [or its noun
            equivalent] 'emmenager', to move in.

            I suspect part of the reason for the choices made by the translator
            into French have to do with not using words or phrases that were
            deemed to be too long for a short verse form.

            Larry
          • Norman Darlington
            ... http://www.kippo.or.jp/News/Asp/EngNewsList.Asp?NewsDateYY=2006&NewsDateMM=08&NewsDateDD=23&SeqNo=05%09%09%09%09%09%09 ... Hi, and thanks for the response,
            Message 5 of 5 , Sep 3, 2006
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              --- In translatinghaiku@yahoogroups.com, "lbolenyc" <lbolenyc@...> wrote:
              >
              > --- In translatinghaiku@yahoogroups.com, "Norman Darlington"
              > <norman@> wrote:
              > >
              > > --- In translatinghaiku@yahoogroups.com, "lbolenyc" <lbolenyc@>
              > wrote:
              > > >
              > > > Here is a translation of a Santooka haiku I found at Terebess
              > Asia
              > > > Online, translated by Takashi Nonin:
              > > >
              > > > Having moved in and settled down,
              > > > I'm surrounded by flowers of the opposite shore/
              > > > flowers of the autumnal equinox.*
              > > >
              > > > *opposite shore (Higan)--Buddhistic term.
              > > > autumnal equinox (Higan/Shuubun-no-hi)--day on the calendar.
              > > >
              > > > (Utsuri kite/ o-higanbana no/ hana zakari)
              > > >
              > > > http://www.terebess.hu/english/haiku/taneda.html
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > This translation seems way too wordy to me. The problem is in
              > > > deciding what to include in the translation, and what to consign
              > to
              > > > an explanatory footnote.
              > > >
              > > > The flower in question is lycoris radiata, commonly known as (red
              > (
              > > > spider lily; but since it is part of the amaryllis family, I have
              > > > also seen it called amaryllis.
              > > >
              > > > Here are a couple of attempts at translation I have made:
              > > >
              > > > settled in among
              > > > flowers of the other shore...
              > > > autumn equinox
              > > >
              > > > settled in and surrounded
              > > > by red spider lilies--
              > > > autumn equinox
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > There is another translation of this haiku I have found:
              > > >
              > > > (First days in the Gochuu-an)
              > > >
              > > > moving in
              > > > higan lilies
              > > > at their best
              > > >
              > > > tr. Burton Watson
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > Is Mr. Watson's translation too minimalist?
              > > >
              > > > I have also come across a couple of nicknames for the red spider
              > > > lily, as found in the following exerpt:
              > > >
              > > > "Japanese people had long loathed higanbana because it grows in
              > > > cemeteries, blooms in autumn (a season when, according to
              > Buddhist
              > > > teachings, people enter a world of death from the world of life),
              > and
              > > > its bulbs contain a toxin that affects the nerve system. In fact,
              > > > higanbana has been nicknamed shibitobana (dead person's flower)
              > and
              > > > jigokubana (flower of the hell). Legend goes that people who eat
              > > > higanbana in hunger are destined to die due to the toxin."
              > > >
              > >
              http://www.kippo.or.jp/News/Asp/EngNewsList.Asp?NewsDateYY=2006&NewsDateMM=08&NewsDateDD=23&SeqNo=05%09%09%09%09%09%09
              > > >
              > > > I am considering how I could work the nicknames, as a description
              > of
              > > > the flower, into a translation of the haiku, but I haven't come
              > up
              > > > with any good way of doing it yet.
              > > >
              > > > Does anyone else want to take a stab at translating this haiku?
              > > >
              > > > Larry
              > > >
              > >
              > > Hi Larry, all
              > > I have a French translation (from the Atlan/Bianu 2002 anthology)
              > > which is substantially different:
              > >
              > > Les herbes folles
              > > se couvrent d'automne —
              > > je m'assieds
              > >
              > > (I wonder can 'crazy weeds' be justified?)
              > >
              > > Best wishes
              > > Norman
              > >
              >
              >
              > Hi Norman, and all
              >
              > To begin with, my attempts at translating this haiku stink! I don't
              > know what I was thinking.
              >
              > Regarding the French, all I have is my little pathetic high school
              > French-English dictionary, and the internet.
              >
              > Les Herbe Folles must be very idiomatic. It is the name of a book by
              > Jane Hamilton, the name of a flower shop, the name of a perfume (les
              > herbes folles en vente), and the phrase has been used as the title of
              > various paintings of wild flowers.
              >
              > Although the word for 'wild flowers' in French is 'fleurs suavage', I
              > suspect that 'les herbes folles' can also have a similar meaning,
              > although I've also seen it translated as 'bad grass'. LOL
              >
              > Onto red spider lilies. 'Spider lily' in French is 'lys araignee'.
              > The French must call lycoris radiata something. Would it be 'lys
              > araignee rouge'?
              >
              > I like the phrase "se couvrent d'automne" which I translate
              > as 'covers autumn [with] themselves'.
              >
              > "je m'assieds" must be idiomatic also: I sit. I wonder why the
              > translator wouldn't use the verb [or its noun
              > equivalent] 'emmenager', to move in.
              >
              > I suspect part of the reason for the choices made by the translator
              > into French have to do with not using words or phrases that were
              > deemed to be too long for a short verse form.
              >
              > Larry
              >


              Hi, and thanks for the response, Larry.

              I think there can be no doubt that the suspicion you voice in your
              final paragraph must be correct - that is a consideration anyone
              translating poetry must deal with. But accuracy is another one!

              You are right about 'herbes folles' being idiomatic - I was
              deliberately going OTT with 'crazy weeds'; in fact it is a normal term
              for 'wild grasses' (+-=kusa). But I do think it makes for a rather
              flabby translation in the haiku. I'm afraid my botanic French is not
              up to translating 'lycoris radiata'.

              > I like the phrase "se couvrent d'automne" which I translate
              > as 'covers autumn [with] themselves'.

              Hmm, no. To the best of my knowledge, this can only mean "cover
              themselves with autumn", which is downright odd, imo.

              And I'm aware of no idiomatic use of "je m'assieds", which would
              justify its choice here. So for the record, here's my crib of the
              French version above:

              The wild grasses
              cover themselves with autumn —
              I sit down

              Corinne Atlan is an experienced translator of Japanese, so I really
              have to wonder... I see Richard Vallance is here - perhaps he can
              throw some light on this?

              Bet wishes
              Norman
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