- Sci-fi comic about ancient things people find in melting icebergs
Translating the poem "Chasm"
We hear of Chasm for the first time in Chapter 4 (of "Cold obsidian"), from Sereg.
Chasm is a red world under Omnis. Chasm’s time, relative to Omnis’s time, almost stands still. Thousands of years ago, before the Tricksters, people used Chasm as a universal shortcut between different places of Omnis. While you travel there, time in Omnis moves very slowly for you. A long journey in Chasm may last a mere second in Omnis. Very handy if, say, you have do deliver something quickly or visit your relatives on the other side of the world during the weekend. Alas, the worldholders used Chasm to deal with the Tricksters’ problem three thousand years ago, so travelling there is no longer safe. Modern Chasm is full of monsters.
Yet to the Chasm our hero, Maximilian, goes for the reasons that are his own…
Some things he mentions (frozen sunset, rain, and forest; him covering his eyes with his hand before entering Chasm) are part of the story behind the poem, so it is important to keep them in translation. Another important detail is Chasm being red and time standing still there. Everything else can be safely changed or omitted.
The original Russian text:
Провал Под нашим миром есть другой, Беззвучный, пламенно-багровый. В него, прикрыв глаза рукой, Спустился я, на все готовый. На все, о чем я знал давно Из старых книг и древних песен. Я ждал, чтоб тьма сменилась сном, А оказался в жутком месте. Здесь время – прах. Его здесь нет. И, стоя на пустынном бреге, Я видел, как горел рассвет, Застывший в небесах навеки. Прошел я сквозь беззвучный лес, Сквозь дождь, застывший на подлёте... Я умирать не стал бы здесь, Но вряд ли вы меня поймёте.
My rough translation
Chasm There is another world under our own. It’s silent and fiery-red. There, my eyes covered with my hand, I descended, ready for anything, For everything I knew about it From old books and ancient songs. I thought the darkness would make way to a dream But ended up in a terrible place. There, time is dust, it stays still. Standing on a desert shore, I watched the sunset burn, Frozen in the sky forever. I walked through the silent forest, Through the rain frozen mid-fall… I wouldn’t want to die there, Though I doubt you’d understand why.
Alan Jackson's comments and translation (final version):
[I hope the change to a terza rima feels right to you; and I have tried to keep the overall sound as well as the assonances at the beginnings of lines that help bot to pull your poem together and – I think – to give it its special tone.
I have used repeated rhythm patterns in an attempt to convey the almost-timelessness of the land, especially in the third verse.]
Beneath our world, another world is there
Soundless, fire-red; that I descended toward,
With hand-covered eyes, in all ways prepared.
From old songs, old writings, from ancient lore,
I had believed the dark preluded a dream
Not the nightmare terror-world that I saw.
I stood on the bleak strand. Time like dust seemed,
Left where it fell. Frozen in the far sky
I saw the sunset’s ever-burning beams.
In the still forest the path I walked by
Led through raindrops frozen in mid-fall there.
No place to meet death, though you won’t grasp why.
Jump to another poem:About the project:
My scifi and fantasy novels have a lot of poems in them that can not be removed without destroying the plot. Alas, my English in not good enough for translating poetry. Alan Jackson helps me translate the poems. It makes the translation of my novels possible.