January 10, 2013
Lament, by Labīd
We wither, unlike stars;     die, unlike hills and cisterns.
Ana shadowed my protector,     esteemed Arbad, who’s left us.
But ana do not grieve;     all sparrows exit the feast hall.
Novelties don’t excite me,     nor wyrdstaef affright me.
Men are like encampments     that soon become ruins.
They come with their kin,     leave only land behind when they go—
the last herdsman     rounding up the stragglers.
Man’s a shooting star:     light turned to ash.
Wealth and kin a stain     that soon wears away.
The work we do     inevitably gehrorene.
The wise grasp this;     the foolish fight it and lose.
If my wyrd holds off a while,     my fingers reach out for its stick.
Ana can tell you stories,     bent over the more ana try to straighten.
Ana am like a battered sword     that hasn’t gotten any less sharp.
Don’t leave me!     (The sparrow finds the exit suddenly—.)
O you reproachful wifcynn:     when the men go off
Can your witchcraft tell us     who’ll return?
Do you faint     because they flet ofgeāfon?
You make everyone weep!     for the burston bodies
of the irreplaceable friends     of your own youth.
But neither the witches     nor the necromancers know
what the aelmihtig intends     Just ask them:
Hwœr cōm the men?     Hwœr cōm our protectors?
They don’t even know     when the rain storm will come!
Labīd (Abu Aqil Labīd ibn Rabī'ah) (Arabic لَبيد بن ربيعة بن مالك أبو عقيل العامِري) (c. 560 – c. 661) was an Arabian poet.
He is translated here by Ange Mlinko, who is fascinated with the similarities between Semitic desert and seafaring Nordic poetries. Aren't you glad? I am. Below are Ange's word notes, and there are more thoughts here.
“Last Simile”: earn (eagle); gebidende (waiting for); hægtesse (witch); morgenceald (morning chill); westene (desert, wasteland); hæste (violence); bestelð (stealing [along the ground]); ēagan (eyes); swengeð (strike); eorðan (earth); wyrd (fate)
“Lament”: ana (I [Arabic], alone [Anglo-Saxon]); wyrdstaef (things decreed by fate); gehrorene (decay); wifcynn (womenfolk); flet ofgeaāfon (die, fly away); burston (bro- ken); aelmihtig (Almighty, God); hwœr cōm? (where gone?)
Posted by delire at January 10, 2013 04:52 AM