At Least Your Sensibility

Hello dear Readers! I’m terribly sorry for the long absence, but I have been very busy with this awful thing called Life. Anyway, a friend of mine recently introduced me to a poem by Ibaraki Noriko (1926-2006) that really stuck in my head. There are a number of English translations online, but I thought I’d try my hand at it. I hope you enjoy, and as always, thanks for reading. Comments are welcome!
 

At Least Your Sensibility

Ibaraki Noriko

Your heart is withering up
but don’t blame that on others.
You yourself neglected to water it.

You’ve become a grouch
but don’t blame that on your friends.
Aren’t you the one who’s become inflexible?

You’re irritated
but don’t blame that on your family.
You’re the one who couldn’t do anything right.

You’re youthful resolution is fading
but don’t blame that on life.
Your will was weak from the beginning.

You have so many faults
but don’t blame it all on the times,
abandoning your last dim rays of dignity.

Keep at least your own sensibility
from dulling
you fool.

「自分の感受性くらい」   (詩華集「おんなのことば」より)

茨城のり子

ぱさぱさに乾いてゆく心を
ひとのせいにはするな
みずから水やりを怠っておいて

気難しくなってきたのを
友人のせいにはするな
しなやかさを失ったのはどちらなのか

苛立つのを
近親のせいにはするな
なにもかも下手だったのはわたくし

初心消えかかるのを
暮らしのせいにはするな
そもそもが ひよわな志にすぎなかった

駄目なことの一切を
時代のせいにはするな
わずかに光る尊厳の放棄

自分の感受性くらい
自分で守れ
ばかものよ

Comments:

One thing I’d like to note is that all the English translations I’ve read have naturalized the word order so the lines read something like “Don’t blame ________ / on _________.” For example, here is the first stanza from a translation I found online (hopefully the author does not mind my posting an excerpt here):

Don’t blame others for
Your heart drying and cracking
You are the one who didn’t water

The above is closer to the original linguistically, though I have chosen to stay closer to the order of ideas or concepts as presented in the original, changing things more linguistically.

Your heart is withering up
but don’t blame that on others.
You yourself neglected to water it.

I do this often with images because I believe changing the order of images in translations changes your experience a great deal (though sometimes it is just necessary). This, however, is less about images and more about the order concepts are presented rhetorically (ie, the hearth drying out followed by the imperative not to blame). I feel like I might be stretching the integrity of my translations a bit by doing this. What are your thoughts? Comments, of course, are welcome. Cheers!

 ~苦栗鼠

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One Response to At Least Your Sensibility

  1. Pingback: Edits to previous posts… | Lost/Found in Translation

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