National Poetry Writing Month, Day #30

Today’s napowrimo.net prompt is to translate a poem. Seeing as how the closest thing I have to poetry in a foreign language is my small-ish collection of Japanese albums, and I do have experience translating Japanese, I chose as my poem a song by Nav Katze.

Green Eye

Reflections in water, adrift on a moonlit night
Even the sounds of sleep cannot be heard
            I open my eyes, embracing the darkness
            so that your smile will not disappear

I am always watching over you
From atop the sky, I am watching

If you cast the spell on a moonlit night
You may forget sorrow and confusion
            I am watching closely, keeping guard over the night
            so that your sadness fades away

I am always shining upon you
From atop the sky, I am shining

I am always watching over you
From atop the sky, I am watching


The original Japanese lyrics, by Miwako Yamaguchi:
月夜にただよう 水の影
眠りの音さえ きこえない
 君のほほえみが こわれないように
 目を開けて 闇をつないでる

いつも君を 見つめてる
空の上から 見つめてる

月夜に呪文を 唱えれば
迷いも憂いも 忘れそう
 君の悲しみが 消えてゆくように
 目をこらし 夜を見張ってる

いつも君を 照らしてる
空の上から 照らしてる

いつも君を 見つめてる
空の上から 見つめてる

Transliteration, by me:

Tsukiyo ni tadayou   mizu no kage
Nemuri no oto sae   kikoenai
     Kimi no hohoemi ga   kowarenai yō ni
     me wo kakete   yami wo tsunaideru

Itsu mo kimi wo   mitsumeteru
Sora no ue kara   mitsumeteru

Tsukiyo ni jumon wo   tonaereba
mayoi mo urei mo   wasuresō
     Kimi no kanashimi ga   kiete yuku yō ni 
     me wo korashi   yoru wo mihatteru

Itsu mo kimi wo   terashiteru
Sora no ue kara   terashiteru

Itsu mo kimi wo   mitsumeteru
Sora no ue kara   mitsumeteru

Notes:

reflections — literally: ‘water shadows’

embracing the darkness — literally: ‘connecting [with] the darkness’

so that your smile will not disappear — literally: ‘so that your smile will not be broken’

I probably could have got away with translating so that your smile will not disappear as so that your smile will not fade away for consistency with the later reference to sadness fades away. However, the verbs are different, so I opted to maintain some sort of distinction.

Song: ‘Green Eye’
Words and music: 山口美和子 (Miwako Yamaguchi)

Artist: Nav Katze
Album: 新月 (Shingetsu)
Label: Roux (Victor Musical Industries)
Catalog number: VICL-255
Release date: 21 November 1991.

The album credits do not list the publishing information; based on the personnel listed, it is most likely Fujipacific Music.

(30 April 2016)

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2 thoughts on “National Poetry Writing Month, Day #30

  1. Most impressive – even if the original does hurt my eyes! I really like that literal translation of ‘reflections’ – it adds an extra poetic element.

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