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Two Contemporary Mongolian Poets

April 28, 2011 3 comments

translated by Simon Wickham-Smith and Lyn Coffin

1. G. Mend-Oyoo, translated by Simon Wickham-Smith

Чулууны аялгуу
(уугаан аялгуу)

Бумбан бор манхан наранд щарагдаж намайж
Бургих булнийн усөлмий юугий нь сүрчин сэрүүцүүлнэ.
Ерөөлөөр учирсан биз ээ, үйрмэг зөөлөн элсэн дунд
Ембүү хэдэн чулуу усны амь бараадна.

Онгон их элсэнд чулуу ховортойнх ч юм уу даа
Оргилох булгийн хэдэн чулуугаар тоглохын хорхой хөдлөөд
Аваачиж, адуу мал болгон наадсан өдөр
Аабын щилбүүрийн хуйв аянга цахилгаан щиг тачигнаж билээ.

“Булгийн хэдэн чулууг булааж авсан уу, та нар!
Бурхны нэрийг дуудаж буруугаа хүлээж гуй!
Чихээ дэвсэж байнаад урсгал чагна, та нар!
Чимээ аялгууг нь аргидан дуудаж авчир!”

Эрх цовоо булгийн урсгал сатааран намхраад
Эл хулийн дунд дуугаа хулжаасан байж билээ.
Хоёр өвдөнд хоорондоо толгойгоо хавчуулаад
Хорвоон учрыг сүүмэн ухаарч гэмщиж билээ.

Цоносон халуун тэр өдөр тоглоомон гэрээ нүүлгэж
Цолхийтэл булгийн уснаа буцаан тавиж билээ.
Булт чулууг зөөн зөөсөөр буруугаа засахад чинь
Булгийн аялгуу нь ирээд ход ход хоржигнож билээ

*

The Melody of Stones
(the original melody)

Gilded by the hazy sun which fills the ritual urn,
The waters of good fortune shower into air.
Amid tears and suffering, this is a benediction.
And how many silver pieces are there in those living waters?

And are stones rare on the vast sands of Ongon?
There are insects squirming among these lucky stones.
They take the stones away, excite the horses,
And father’s whip crashes like lightning and thunder.

“Have you stolen our lucky stones?
Call upon the Buddha and request forgiveness!
Keep your ears open, the current is strong!
Bring on the melody, call it forth!”

The flow of bright fortitude fades away,
The voices frightened off from these fawn-colored horses.
They tuck in their heads where the two old people are,
They regret how little they understand the world.

This blazing day moving the agreement of games,
The splashing water is taken back.
Returning all the stones, I repair my mistakes
The melody of the gifts comes gurgling.

* * *

2. Bavuudorj Tsogdorj, translated by Lyn Coffin

НАВЧ

Намрын залуу модод
Навчаа шидэлнэ
Гэнэн гал навчис
Гишгэсэн мөртэй минь адил

*

Leaf

Young trees in autumn
Throw down their leaves.
The incredible fiery leaves are
The same as my footprints.

* * *

ЗОХИРОЛТ САРНАА

Чи миний аглагийн аглагт суух юм
Чингэвч чамд ер очмооргүй нэгэн шалтгаан байна
Цаглашгүй ариун,таалшгүй эрхэмсэг
Залуу насыг чинь л би булаамааргүй байна
Зөвхөн чамтай,зөвхөн сартай
Зөрөг зам дээр би удмааргүй байна
Царай чинь харагдам,хөл чинь үзэгдэм
Сарны тунгалагт би гунигламааргүй байна
Гэгээн учрал,ариун тавилангаа
Гэргийнхээ өмнө,гэрийнхээ хойморьт
Өрж орхиод
Цаст уулынхаа чулуугаар
Өөрийгөө зодож сууна би
Чи миний аглагийн аглагт суух юм
Чингэвч чамд одоохон очмоор нэгэн шалтгаан байна

*

Under the Harmonious Moon

You exist so far from my world
But I have reason to want never to come to you.
I want not to hold aloft your youth
which is infinitely sacred and cannot be touched.
Alone with you and the moon
I want not to linger on the path.
And I want not to be sad in the moonlight
which reveals your face and legs.
So I offer my blessed meeting and my sacred fate
to my wife waiting at home.
Now I am pushing myself
through the stones of my snowy mountains.
You exist so far from my world
But I have reason to want to come to you right now.

* * *

ЭНЭ ЦЭЦЭГ ҮНЭРТСЭН САЛХИ…

Энэ амгалан цэнхэр үдшид хайр хүрнэм
Дорно зүгийн шилтгээн энэ яг л мөн
Энэ алтан дэлт үүлсэд хайр хүрнэм
Дорно зүгийн дэнлүү энэ яг л мөн
Энэ цэцэг үнэртсэн салхинд хайр хүрнэм
Дорно зүгийн аяс энэ яг л мөн
Энэ цэцэн ногоон царцаанд хайр хүрнэм
Дорно зүгийн амраг энэ яг л мөн
Энэ мэлмэрээ цагаан саранд хайр хүрнэм
Дорно зүгийн жүнз энэ яг л мөн
Энэ мэлтрэх бүлээн нулимсанд хайр хүрнэм
Дорно зүгийн шүлэг энэ яг л мөн

*

The Wind with its Smell of Flowers

I love this peaceful blue evening
It is absolutely a castle of the East
I love this cloud with its golden mane
It is absolutely a lantern of the East
I love this wind with its smell of flowers
It is absolutely the fragrance of the East
I love this sagacious green locust
It is absolutely a darling of the East
I love this moon in the white waves
absolutely the mirror of the East
I love these lukewarm falling tears
absolutely a poem of the East
This wind with its smell of flowers.

* * *

G. Mend-Oyoo is the Poet Laureate of Mongolia. Under his editorship, an anthology of American poetry in Mongolian translation has been recently published in Ulaanbaatar by the Mongolian Academy of Culture and Poetry. A tribute to him by David Lehman appeared recently on the Best American Poetry blog.

Bavuudorj Tsogdorj wrote his first poem when he was 11. He is married, has two boys and lives in Ulaanbaatar, where he serves as general editor of the ‘New Era’ radio station. He is currently at work on an epic poem about Vajrapani mountain, at 4060 meters the highest in Mongolia. He is a Nyingma Buddhist. An anthology of some of Bavuudorj’s poems and some of Lyn Coffin’s poems was recently published in Mongolia under the title Eastern and Western Poems.

Simon Wickham-Smith has translated the work of many contemporary Mongolian writers, and is the translator of The Hidden Life of the Sixth Dalai Lama (2011, Lexington Books). He is curently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Seattle, his dissertation being on the Mongolian poet G. Mend-Ooyo’s novel Altan Ovoo. In 2007 he was honored by the Mongolian government as an Honored Cultural Worker, and in the same year he was the recipient of a PEN International Translator’s Grant.

Lyn Coffin is a widely published poet, fiction writer, and playwright. Eight of her books have been published, three of her own work, five of translation. A ninth book, translations from the Czech of Jiri Orten, is forthcoming from Gazoobitales Press, under the able stewardship of Thomas Hubbard. Lyn has an honorary doctorate from the World Academy of Arts and Culture (UNICEF) for “poetic excellence and her efforts on behalf of world peace. As a graduate student, she was Joseph Brodsky’s teaching assistant the two years he taught Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. Poems of hers have been published in many languages, including Spanish, French, Belgian, and Mongolian. Her story appeared in Best American Stories 1969, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. Lyn is teaching at Ilia University in Tbilisi this spring, lecturing on English and American Literature while translating modern Georgian poets with her esteemed email friend and colleague, Professor Gia Jokhadze.