The universe of my voice

POETRY is a kind of art which is maybe the most dependent on its material, the phonemic organization of the language. This live sound, this atmosphere of the language cannot be reproduced in the best translation ever possible. That is why I don't like the word "translation" and prefer to speak of the interpretation of a person's poetry by another person, possible in another language. Well, even reading verse in one's native language, one doesn't have to translate it into one's own internal language of unique individual variations of sense and feelings. Is it very different from transferring poetry to the world of a different language, or from an artistic interpretation of poetry by the means of the other arts?

These pages present my interpretation of just a few poems by the Karachay poet Bilal Laypanov. From his many hundreds of lines, I have chosen those that are nearer to my own attitude to the world — this is what I could maybe say myself sometimes. The reader can notice that the verse collected here are never ethnically colored — it might as well be written in any other language of the Earth, or even in the language of an extraterrestrial dweller. I do not present Bilal Laypanov as a Karachay, but rather as a poet who brings the great universality of the art to all the people.

For comparison, the translations into Russian by an excellent professional interpreter Arcady Tyurin (late) are presented as well. Of course, neither Russian  nor English translations do not convey the phonemic organization of the original — but I hope that these interpretations do reflect its peculiar imagery, and thereby the distinctive features of Bilal Laypanov's way of thought and his personal vision of the world. Thus the universe of Bilal Laypanov's voice becomes open for the millions of readers in Russian and English, besides those reading in the languages cognate to Karachay. As for me, I just tried to be a poet first of all, and to give birth to the self-contained English-sounding poems, which might be thought of as originally written in English and made a part of the English native poetry before they found their expression in Karachay. Now, let the reader judge whether I have succeeded in that.

Ways of salvation
One could escape
digging into the earth.
But one could just learn to fly.

* * *
You love
to look in the stars —
I drink the sky
from your eyes.

* * *
Poetry is a lake
with the open eyes.
With my heart,
I drink its reflections,
with my palm,
I draw my face
out of its depth.
Nobody knows
how large the lake is,
but, when I sing,
the fires go up
on the opposite side.
I am no god,
to walk over waters
to get there.
But my life is enough
to measure
the universe of my voice.
And then
I will be a lake
with the open eyes...

* * *
The poet grows
from under the earth, like a tree.
After the death,
I will be a maple
hailing the ships
of the clouds,
wondering at the lightning,
enjoying the wings
the crystalline heights,
with my boughs cradling
the stars—
I will fall like the tears of dew,
sail through the wind
into the sky
with the centuries-old flight of
the human gaze,
into the infinite sky,
the everlasting sky.

* * *
The poet's epitaph:
The stars
have drunk all of his soul.

* * *
Never mind the years passing by.
Let them follow their destined way.
In the end, recollecting your life,
Love it all, with its ultimate day.
No one asked if you wanted to come.
No one cares when you are ready to part.
No eternity has ever become,
No eternally pulsating heart.
The day will burn down into the night,
Tired of the vanities of the world.
Come with it, close the door behind,
Leaving the flowers on the threshold.

The fallen beauty
The heavens gleaming in the pools of dirt...

* * *
Night — and his fingers black,
touching your skin so white...
Sleepless I'm lying on my back,
Passion obscures the sight.
Clenching my feelings tight—
but, after everything,
Day — and his hands of light
over your marble skin!
Flower caressed by the sun,
melt in the dark embrace—
I am your only one
Mad of that jealous chase.

By Bilal LAYPANOV Karachay poet from Norway,
a member of the Writers' Union of Russia and Norway


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«Золотая площадь». Международный журнал культурной и деловой жизни.
The Golden Plaza. International Magazine of Culture and Business.
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