April 9, 2011

NaPoWriMo Day 9: Sonnet from Mu, translated

The following is a fairly literal translation of yesterday’s sonnet from Mu. I have made no attempt to reproduce the rhyme scheme.

Get it while you can

The day grinds light’s gears down to nubs,
while we the remnant gum our minutes to savor the char,
and chews the peeling garb from nubile birches
into night’s thick paste of signs.
Under master’s eye little work of small
worth is ours, delegated to thew and khaibit;*
but when god sleeps his slaves may play
and booze with fellow grunts and ground and sky.
The moon crept naked into my room,
her hands a cool stream trickling over my skin;
we slept in River Idshabi’s icy bed,
mingling limbs and glints and undertows.
Morning came, and milkmaid Tulid rose from the sheets,
deity still shining from her pimpled skin.
— Ogbar biku Ozdil

* A term borrowed from Egyptian mythology, since English lacks a term; neither is the Egyptian word an exact fit, but it comes close. The people of Mu, like the Egyptians, postulated seven souls within each person. What’s meant here is a lower soul with little in the way of awareness, a sort of robot.


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