Poesy, Poesy . . .
19 May, 2011
Poesy, Poesy . . .

The popular Georgian poet Rati Amaglobeli is warmly accepted by the Georgian lovers of poesy, and his poetry is enthusiastically embraced by the Nation. Being a professional philologist, he has mastered the usage of a Georgian lexical treasure in his very special way. Rati became known to the nation at an early age. He is also famous for his public readings which have propelled him right into the hearts and minds of both his young and rather mature listeners.  Poet

Amaglobeli’s name has already crossed the boundaries of his beloved Georgia, where he is just as much honored and venerated as at home. 

Rati Amaglobeli is also a successful translator. He has tried his pen on internationally renowned giants of poetic thought like Goethe, Morgenstern, Nietzsche, Rilke, Tsvetaeva, Akhmatova and Brodsky. Thanks to him, those masters of poetry sound in the Georgian language today even more illustriously than before. Rati, as young as he is right now has a lot in store to tell the world, which is waiting for even stronger poetic breath-release from him.

The poem which I have humbly translated, using my modest skills, has appealed to me for its spontaneity of thought and purity of attitude within which pain and love for his native people and tradition are as vibrant as Rati Amaglobeli’s creative mind itself. Frankly, I have not consulted him in the process of translation, and I am certainly inclined to apologize for having enough temerity to embark on this incisive but still scintillating endeavor.

Rati and his English-speaking readers will judge me better.

 

‘KARTVELEBS’ – Tribute to Georgians

Rati  Amaglobeli

Georgians are eager to make appearance at burial-service,

Farewells strictly banned when leaving the somber place,

Hours pass by while they linger in front of door way,

They hang around to hear the stories while they wait,

Gentlemen giving way to ladies with flowers handy,

Made up faces in front of mirrors – just to be ready

To shine better when stepping in circle around the coffin,

Heavy and tired, moving slowly, prepared to pop in,

Dutiful comments on lifeless face – that’s our fate –

Will follow amply, responsibly, with sorrowful trace,

‘Why the poor thing has darkened so, has gone so blackish?’

‘Be blessed by Lord’ – will only be heard at party of wake,

Younger females give up their seats to elderly matrons,

In orderly manner, tending to the body, lying in state,

Bestowing condolence to relatives with heart-ache,

Meet the mourners’ eyes, looking sides or gazing away,

Mourners think quickly, eyes register all those who came,

Not missing anyone, fast minds working night after day,

Busses ready to accompany the casket all the way,

Guests prepared for toasting later, there is no delay,

Georgians utter lavish praises for the dead to pray,

Eternity in the heaven, blessings never stray,

Honors not denied to those who no longer play,

For the living – vice versa – modest is the praise,

Children, women who are pregnant at the party will not stay,

Though the repast after funeral will keep going all the day,

In the end the guests are sated, all prepared to get away,

Women ambling in front, men will follow their mates,

Georgians love to go to concerts, celebrations, jubilees,

Most favorable of those – sounds of stunning jazzy days,

Shakespeare – among the greatest, they want to ever stage,

Hamlet, Lear and vicious Richard are the finest, they say,

Bursting into fired discussions: it’s not easy to create

Stage production of Chalk Circle, even tougher Woman Snake,

The proclivity is present to compare events and dealings,

Delving into the appraisals, ambiguities and feelings,

Still another inclination – love for novelty with taste,

Fifteen-day exhibitions wouldn’t matter – just first day,

Funeral party’s never crowded, guests will never overstay,

Georgians love the shows of Sturua, bashment, music of Kancheli,

Trips abroad are cool and stylish, seeing off each other – trendy,

Coming home – even better, fresh impressions always handy,

Back at home, to get together is a necessary game,

Sensual whispers heard around, not to do it is a shame,

Mentioning of big directors has been made commonplace:

Peter Brook and Giorgio Strehler – fixtures, running them insane,

Georgians flaunting erudition – Marquez darling of the day,

‘Hundred Years’ is choice reading, hot debate of book they make,

Comprehension of that writer should be shown in word and phrase,

Which was ever grasped or studied, making flattering a case,

To relax, unwind a little, they love to make pace

To resorts Tsavkisi, Tsqneti to participate in race,

Letting this continue fully till the summer season passes,

Georgians love to do the research into one another’s asses,

At the cherished time of bathing, let me utter if I may,

They start to see the neighbors off to blazing sunny place,

Cozy rooms on beaches wanted, reservations promptly made,

This is done as if in theater seats are ordered, I’m afraid.

Feeling happy to get shelter, all alerted just in case,

Packing sachets, bags, belongings, what a joy, what a grace!

But resorts in seaside regions have no longer much of space,

Georgians swarm to chosen beeches they need to still embrace,

In-between the seasons flow memories of olden days,

Sitting, waiting till they cluster on the seashore once again . . .

 

That’s the way the tribute ends here, fleeting as my dream,

Prologue dropped, as is the postscript – not quite big a deal,

Georgians worship as wealth discovered and they surely feel:

Just three scholars – Georgia’s favorites – have a great appeal.

 

Translated by Nugzar B. Ruhadze

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