Thursday, April 1, 2021

NPM I: All kinds of weather

Sometimes I wish that I was the weather, you'd bring me up in conversation forever. And when it rained, I'd be the talk of the day.
~John Mayer

Happy April and International Poetry Month! I am embarking on a month of short poems in two languages, as I mentioned last week. I started studying Scottish Gaelic on Duolingo in January. It was a real struggle to get my brain to accept the quirks of Scottish Gaelic ("bh" makes a "v" sound? "mh" also has a "v" sound?)

But I kept going, and it seemed like it unlocked the "foreign language" part of my brain because French words that I knew from years ago popped back up. In a fit of folly, I added French to my Duolingo studies. It seemed possible (probable?) that taking two languages at once would totally confuse me, but it hasn't yet.

As I mentioned before, I invite all of you to send me your short dual language poems. I am delighted that Diane Mayr and Laura Shovan are sharing their works with us today!

Diane Mayr's poem about dogs cuts a little too close to the bone :-)


by Tabatha Yeatts

Innis dhomh,
Cò ris a tha do speur coltach an-dràsta?

A bheil e ceòthach, a bheil e dorcha -
Am faic thu leis an dealanach?

Tha e sgòthach an seo.

Tell me,
What is your sky like right now?

Is it misty, is it dark --
Can you see by the lightning?

It is cloudy here.


Two poems by Laura Shovan, with translations by Joseph Spring and Zhang Wanruo


A Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Mary Lee!


michelle kogan said...

Love all the poetry here Tabatha. Diane's dual language fits together seamlessly with her art, what fun with dog and cat. Laura's second haiku sets a lovely scene and reminds me of the film "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg." Hope that "Rough Weather" passes soon in your poem. Thanks for this rich bevy of Poems, and clever weather quote from John Mayer!

Bridget Magee said...

Love all of these multilingual offerings, Tabatha! I'm working on a Deutsch/English offering for you... :)

Mary Lee said...

So fun! As soon as I'm able to get back to it, my DuoLingo app has Arabic (talk about a brain stretch!), Spanish, and German on it (and potentially/poet-entially in my brain!

Linda Mitchell said...

Oh, wow! What a carnival for the brain. I love seeing the translations of the poems. I love using words in other languages in latest Oxen poem has a fair bit of Italian. But, I've never translated an entire poem. The fun stuff you must be learning!

Irene Latham said...

I love how you are challenging your brain, Tab, with learning two languages at once... I feel the same way about learning cello and ukulele! And there's something so wonderful about poetry translations. Thanks for these. xo

Janice Scully said...

I think it's fascinating the two languages side by side in your lovely poem. It's really delightful. I am tempted to return to Spanish, a language I studied in the past. Thanks for the inspirition, Tabatha.

Linda B said...

All wonderful, Tabatha. I admire you for taking up an added language. Maybe it's time to brush up on my French at least. I love everyone's poems, though I could only read Diane's, I enjoyed the English of them very much. And your weather quote is terrific. Happy April!

tanita✿davis said...

Oh, the barking... argh!
These are great fun.
I have a poem to share with you - I didn't write it, but it's in the Scots Shetland dialect:


Hirplin piano notts clim ta me,
win up da bannisters
ta whaar a’m dippit wi a book o poetry.
I listen ta pellet twiggins o rhythm
an soonds. Ivvery rin trowe
gits mair richt, mootie fingers finnin
touch an speed jöst whaar hit’s waantit.
Peerie-wyes a sang is wirkit
oot fae hooro, pattren fae stramash.
Da mester, plaised, picks anidder melody
fir her ta try. I apply mesel eence mair
ta me poetry, bit I winder
if a’ll geng me wye as aesy as shö.


Limping piano notes climb to me,
wind up the bannisters
to where I sit with a book of poetry.
I listen to ragged understandings of rhythm
and sounds. Every run through
gets more right, tiny fingers finding
touch and speed just where it’s wanted.
Softly a song is formed
out of noise, pattern from chaos.
The tutor, pleased, picks another melody
for her to try. I apply myself once more
to my poetry, but I wonder
if I’ll go my way as easily as she.

Maxine Rose Munro writes poetry in both English and Shetlandic Scots. I love the Scots dialects because with time, I began to be able to understand them easily. Some words have no direct translation, of course, and come straight from the Gaelic, but it was a treat to hear so many different ways in Scotland to say the same things.

Ruth said...

I love your multilingual poems!

Kay said...

I am so inspired by your NPM project. I'm finding it hard enough to write in one language! These are incredible. I love Diane's spring barking. And yes, we have had those spring skies (enjoying the sunshine and blue sky today). And I can see Laura's lupins (and nod along to George Harrison, too).

Diane Mayr said...

Thank you, Tabatha for featuring my dual language haiku today. It was a fun project for sure!

Keep on posting these inspiring little dual treats. Maybe I, too, will be inspired to learn another language. Spanish would be particularly helpful. (I'd be happy enough to master cat-speak!)

Buffy Silverman said...

So fun to see these poems with their translations--the Gaelic seems like quite a challenge. A few years back, when traveling was still a thing, I took Spanish and French at the same time. It was much less confusing than I expected, and my high school French came back quickly (and disappeared almost as fast.)

BJ Lee said...

So much, fun, Tabatha. I love language too, though I only have studied french. That dog opening the windows is SO FUNNY!

Sally Murphy said...

oh wow. Learning two new languages at once! I have not ever successfully mastered a second language though I have tried a few times. I blame my lack of persistence. I give up easily.
The poems are a delight - seeing them in two languages is a treat.

skanny17 said...

I am really enjoying this, Tabatha. I thought I wrote a comment but here goes so if it is a duplicate, please delete for me! I enjoyed Diane Mayr's poem about the dogs and cat, the French added so much. Also Laura's poem.
I sent you one via email. I loved the feel of the words in French.

Jone said...

Tabatha, how did I miss you were taking Scottish Gaelic on Duolingo? So am I along with SKYPE lessons through (My niece got me started almost two years ago).

I love how your poem begins: Innis dhomh

Here's mine:
aig èrigh na gealaich
teintean a' lasadh aig an tràigh
bidh sinn a' seinn òrain

at moonrise
fires ignite on the beach
we sing songs

skanny17 said...

The Scottish really throws me and I am 25% Scottish thanks to my maternal grandfather who was born here and maybe it was his grandfather who came here. I have to look at the genealogy dates to be sure. Never thought of trying Scottish and to me, this looks hard. How do you find it? Good for you!!!!
Janet Clare F.
I like your poem!
Is there a link for a site where we could input the Scottish text and they would say it back to us? I should check, but if you know, great!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

This is going to be fun. I think of Julie Paschkis, and how she wrote a bilingual book of poetry even though she was a Spanish learner, not a native speaker. I wonder why that was okay...and if I'll try?

Fran Haley said...

My sky is full of brilliant morning light at this moment - and my brain full of awe at your study of Scottish Gaelic and the composition of this lovely poem. Reminds me of how I've wanted to resume my study of French.. and now I feel a stirring to branch out in heretofore unknown word-waters... amazing, Tabatha!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

These are all so engaging! I love the humor in Diane's presentation, the layers of meaning in yours, and the beauty of Laura's haiku.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Oh my goodness, so much wonderfulness here. I missed last week but am delighted to discover this week. (Diane's contribution cracks me up!!) Laura is ambitious. And your poem - wow, my tartan hat is off to you - and to Jone - for the Scots Gaelic adventures. One of these days I hope to join you all in that, but you'll be far over those Highland hills by then, both of you! Just fantastic. (Et, bonne chance avec le Francais...) XO