Moon Seen Through Window At Night

33 Translations of a Poem by Lidia Kosk

Thirty-four Ways of Looking at the Moon in Warsaw

The current edition of the Loch Raven Review, a periodical devoted to showcasing the works of new and established writers of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and reviews, has published a remarkable project conceived by its long-time Translations Editor, Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka. For this global project, she selected a poem by Lidia Kosk, entitled “From the Window of My Apartment,” which called to her across time and space. She reached out to translators from around the world to contribute translations of the poem. Ms. Kosk-Kosicka is particularly interested in promoting translations of/in low-frequency languages. The original text of the very deep poem, both in its original Polish and in Ms. Kosk-Kosicka’s English translation, the basis for the work of the majority of the translators, allows for multiple interpretations.
The renditions of the poem, organized by language groups, include Polish, English, Kashubian, Czech, Croatian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, Irish, Breton, Romanian, Spanish, French, Catalan, Languedoc Occitan, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, German, Scots, Finnish, Hungarian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Turkish, Amharic, and Arabic.
There is also an original musical score written to the words of Kosk-Kosicka’s English translation, and the song performed by a choir, directed by the composer. All that, and more, is showcased in the video that features, among others, the moonscape of war-ravaged Warsaw, and the voice of the poet reading her poem. The composer interprets the poem as the voice of a narrator describing her experience during and after World War II, the state of the city of Warsaw turned into ruins, and its subsequent return to life. Similarly, many translators read the poem as a lament on the horror of War with the final triumph of the art.
For the full article explaining the development of the project and providing all the translations and the video, see:
33 Translations of a Poem by Lidia Kosk | The Loch Raven Review.

We are indebted to NML member Dr. Irmeli Kuehnel, who did the Finnish translation for this project, for calling this amazing project to our attention and enabling us to share it with our readers.

We would also like to bring to your attention another unique multilingual project of Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, the book Szklana góra/Glass Mountain by Lidia Kosk, showcasing the titular poem in twenty-two languages. The second edition of the book, enriched with QR codes provides a great opportunity to listen to the poem in the original Polish and all the translations while at the same time looking at the text on the page. The featured languages include Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Norwegian, Occitan, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian, and Upper Sorbian.

The original poem in Polish and the English translation are below. Please visit the Loch Raven Review page to see all 33 translations of the poem and watch the video featuring both languages: Polish, recited by the author, and English, performed by the McDonogh Upper School Choir under the direction of the composer, Philip A. Olsen.

Lidia Kosk

Z okna mojego mieszkania


Nad domem naprzeciwko,
co oknami patrzy ku memu oknu,
zawiesił się księżyc,
wśród skał i kamieni z obłoków.
I wisiał długo, wytrwale,
aż zapomniałam, że z nim zerwałam
na stałe.
Aż zapomniałam, że w duszy
już tak dawno brak grania,
aż cała byłam z zapamiętania.


Translated into English by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka


From the Window of My Apartment

Above the apartment house,
whose windows exchange looks with mine,
the moon got stuck
among the rocks and boulders of clouds.
He kept hanging there, stubbornly,
until I forgot that I had broken with him
permanently.
Until I forgot that my soul
did not sing anymore,
until all of me was a song.

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Fanni is Radnóti's wife
Located near the Tang capital city of Chang’an, site of the modern city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province, in central China.
Soldiers of that time commonly wore a white head cloth, similar to what is still worn by some peasants in China today.  The implication is that the conscripts were so young that they didn’t know how to wrap their head cloths, and needed help from elders.
Before China’s unification under the Qin dynasty in 221 B.C. there were several competing smaller kingdoms.  Han and Qin were two of these kingdoms. Han was located east of famous mountain passes that separated that area from the power base of the Qin dynasty, with its capital in Chang’an. The Qin dynasty itself only lasted about 15 years after unification due to its draconian rule, but soldiers under Qin rule retained a reputation as strong fighters.
The area of Guanxi, meaning “west of the passes”, refers to the area around the capital city of Chang’an.
This is an alternative name for a province in western China, now known as Qinghai, which literally means “blue sea”.  Kokonor Lake, located in Qinghai, is the largest saline lake in China.  
Before China’s unification under the Qin dynasty in 221 B.C. there were several competing smaller kingdoms.  Han and Qin were two of these kingdoms. Han was located east of famous mountain passes that separated that area from the power base of the Qin dynasty, with its capital in Chang’an. The Qin dynasty itself only lasted about 15 years after unification due to its draconian rule, but soldiers under Qin rule retained a reputation as strong fighters.
Oulart Hollow was the site of a famous victory of the Irish rebels over British troops, which took place on May 27, 1798. The rebels killed nearly all the British attackers in this battle. (Source: Maxwell, W. H. History of the Irish Rebellion in 1798. H. H. Bohn, London 1854, pp 92-93, at archive.org)
The phrase "United Men" is elaborated upon in the Notes section below.

Ghetto


An Italian word meaning “foundry.” It originally referred to a part of the city of Venice where the Jews of that city were forced to live; the area was called “the ghetto” because there was a foundry nearby. The term eventually came to refer to any part of a city in which a minority group is forced to live as a result of social, legal, or economic pressure. Because of the restrictions placed upon them, ghetto residents are often impoverished.

"You’re five nine, I am do-uble two"


A reference to the year 1959 and the year 2020.

"The Currency"


Meaning US dollars - this is drawing attention to the fact that Cuba is effectively dollarized.

"Sixty years with the dom-ino stuck"


This sentence is a reference to the Cold War notion that countries would turn Communist one after the other - like dominos. Cuba was the first domino, but it got stuck - no one else followed through into communism.

رحلنا


رحلنا, or "rahalna," means "we have left."

Habibi


Habibi means "my love."

Ra7eel


Ra7eel, or "raheel," means "departure."

3awda


3awda, or "awda," means "returning."

أهلاً


أهلاً, or "ahalan," means "welcome."

a5 ya baba


a5 ya baba, pronounced "akh ya baba," means "Oh my father."

golpe


Treece translates "golpe" as "beating", which is correct, however misses the secondary meaning of the word: "coup".

Carlos


The “Carlos” referred to in the poem is most likely Carlos Bolsonaro, a politician from Rio de Janeiro and the second son of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s current president. His and his father’s involvement in Marielle’s murder has been questioned and investigated.