Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why Does the Sea Laugh?

They say translation is treason. A betrayal. And this is special when the case is a poem. But let us leave the word-for-word translation to dictionaries and sit together little bewildered in front of symbols. Symbols sometimes reach the shore of abstract. The words are symbols, for they are concrete, and in whatever combination they are, they would be still, codes, or in another word, symbols. But music is abstract. Words and music meet in a song.

(A male pronoun talking:)

Between me and you wall after wall

And I am neither a giant nor a bird

In my hands there is a Nay*

And this flute is broken

And I became a proverb of love

(The two lines Refrain is in a female prnoun – i.e. a female is talking:)

And why the sea is laughing while,

While I am going down unveiling flirtatiously filling the jars **

I came to Algeria with two Ph.D.s of psychiatry and an M.B.Ch.B. of medicine and surgery and that was 8 months ago and still, they don't answer me if my diplomas are equivalent. They are studying my case, they say, and "it is a difficult case" they add. Meanwhile, I cannot practice. I have worked as a seller in a pharmacy for two months and few days, and then worked with a relative as a repairer of different kinds of motors for another two months and few days. I have self-studied French, and read few Algerian history books and novels. Still the sea is laughing and I don't know why.

The sea is angry and is not laughing

For the story is not for laughing

The sea wound never withers

And our wound had never ever withered

And why the sea is laughing

While I am going down revealing my body childishly filling the jars

Wounds, the lyrics is talking about. Wounds, from them I got many. Ignorance, in me, and in my surroundings, keeps some wounds open. And in the sea, wounds hurt more, because they are sensitive to the salt in the sea. The sea might clean them, or heal them; I am still ignorant of these possibilities. After all it is life, a long lesson, and some lessons are not an enjoyment you know. I promise you that I will give myself a vacation as soon as I can and go out of the narrow classroom to promenade in beautiful Algeria. I will take pictures and share it with you. But for God's sake why the sea is laughing?

Our jars' pottery is GNAWI ***

Saying stories and songs

Oh jar of lowness I am intending

To not drink even if the water contains honey

And why the sea is laughing

While I am going down revealing flirtatiously filling the jars

* (A kind of flute made from reed).

** (This line of the Refrain is translated in a new way each time it is repeated hoping to convey the meaning better).

*** ( I have failed to find the meaning of the word GNAWI as an adjective to a type of jars but it can be used as an adjective to a type of music special to the Amazigh tribes in north African desert).

The song is originally of Sayyed Derwish. Here performed by Mohammed Munir.


tracy said...

Oh Sami, i am so sorry for your wounds, which you expressed so eloquently...i hope soon you will be laughing w i t h the sea and smiling again.

Sending Love, Your Sadeeka,

tracy said...

Thank you for the wonderful song!

saminkie said...

Thank you my Sadeeka Tracy for the nice words and wishes.