Friday, March 1, 2013

'poetry's seed is the human heart, its blossoms are the leaves of words' - translator Angelee Deodhar




A book of translations that should have been acknowledged in whatever ways possible years ago (an example, I could have at least sent Ms Deodhar reimbursement for postage):

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu      100 Poems by 100 Poets

In 2007, translator/poet/(et cetera) Dr. Angelee Deodhar, of Chandigar, India (Chandigar, among loveliest of names) mailed bear creek haiku a copy of Ogura Hyakunin Isshu.  It has just resurfaced from among a stack tucked in a closet as I seek ‘yellow page’ books, books whose pages have turned/are turning yellow with an odor causing my strong allergy-like reaction (this book, thankfully, is healthy)

Fascinating.  This must be an important international poetic publication.  Briefly, from the forward by Dr Vyom, editor Haiku Darpan, this (my) paraphrasing -  ‘Japanese haiku is the world’s most loved poetic form today - direct translations from Japanese to Hindi (as of 2007) are virtually nil - speaks of her (Dr Deodhar’s) love for Japanese literature and her acting as a bridge between Japan and India - an invaluable gift for the Hindi haiku world’

from Dr Deodhar - ‘haiku, a relatively late form of waka - waka, first composed before the advent of writing in Japan to celebrate victories in battle and love or for religious reasons, for communication between friends and lovers - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu is of the best known collections of Japanese literature today’ - she writes of Uta-Karuta, Japan’s new year’s card game played with waka, and of Teika, the thirteenth century poet/critic, who may have collected these poems 

These two (para)phrases are key (for me) - first, ‘for any literary genre to be understood there has to be a knowledge of the socio-cultural background in which it was written’- 

second, and most important, a ninth century Japanese quote - ‘poetry’s seed is the human heart, its blossoms are the leaves of words - it moves heaven and earth, pacifies gods and demons, reconciles men and women, calms the hearts of savage warriors’ -

Japanese, to Hindi, to us - lovely, perhaps even magnificent -


The only thing I found
Was the moon of early dawn.   
                                                                  from a poem by Fujiwara no Sanesada


How the myriad unstrung gems
Are scattered everywhere around.          
                                                                 from a poem by Fun’ya no Asayasu


Here are brocades of red leaves,
As tributes to the gods.
                                                                 
                                                               from a poem by Fun’ya no Yasuhide 


oh, my - what else is in that closet 

see you in a moment

ayaz daryl nielsen       




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