Hanleni halsen (introduction)

The Valdyan original

List of direct translations



Herman Miller

Fue Marrgarrel

Tez yezhrriag rrelta marrgai;
Reunma zhana grameot mugha;
Virr'ra mav por lhon khar thlomor;
Sora bezlu reamag tiri?

Of the Starling Song

Courageous deeds are spoken with the song of the starling;
The heron washes himself in the rain of morning;
The lark admires the sacred stars in the darkest night;
Who actually perceives the truth about birds?

fue marrga-rrel
[fy 'marga,rel]
about starling-birdsong

tez yezh-rriag-0 rrel-ta marrga-i*
['tez 'jez",riak 'relta 'margai]
speak courageous-deed-ABS. birdsong-INST. starling-GEN.

reun-ma zhana-0 gram-eot mugh-a
['r*U"nma 'z"ana 'gr*amO"t 'muGa]
wash-REFL. heron-ABS. rain-INST. morning-GEN.

virr-ra mav por lhon khar thlom-or
['vira 'mav 'por* 'Lon 'xar* 'l"omor*]
lark-ERG. admire star sacred at night-dark

so-ra bez-lu reamag tir-i
['sor*a 'bezlu 'r*Emak 'tir*i]
who-ERG. perceive-DIR. truth bird-GEN.

I've always thought that Jarrda sounds awkward and artificial, but this poem worked out nicely with only minor changes. No rhymes, but perhaps Janarr don't need rhymes in their poetry. In any case, the meter is almost consistently in trochaic tetrameter except for the word yezhrriag and the four successive stressed monosyllables in the third line.

The word for "starling" is a borrowing from Tirelat. The other bird names are former Jarrda words that have been reassigned to Tirelat.

The Jarrda version is actually genderless, but "him/herself" is exceedingly awkward in English, and I don't like the sound of "itself" referring to a living being.

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© Irina Rempt, Herman Miller 06-07-1999