Dingo the Dissident

THE BLOG OF DISQUIET : Qweir Notions in the Armpit of Diogenes by DINGO the DISSIDENT binge-thinker since February 2008.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Jules Boissière: The Buddha (from the Occitan)

A poem about the  French colonisation of  what is now Viêt-Nam,
but was then Indo-China or Cochin-China,
translated by A.Z. Foreman

Our soldiers won then torched a domicile.

The owner with his sons ran half a mile
Under gunfire. On the ancestors' altar
Not guarding the old creeds or their old shelter,
The Buddha gave the wolfish men a smile.

How many hours has it been since! Where now

Is that house? Where's the pudgy god whose brow
And smile are sign of fate's indifferent law?
When man beneath mute Heaven prays or cries
I see again that Buddha's ruddy jaw,
His moonlike face and his too tranquil eyes.

Audio of Mr Foreman reading this poem in Occitan:

The Original:

Though Boissière was a native speaker of Lengadocian (Languedocian) Occitan, he, like the rest of his generation, wrote in Provençal Occitan, specifically the variety of Rhodanian (Rhône Valley) Provençal which had been raised to literary status in the late 19th century  by Mistral and others among the Félibrige movement. I give the poem in original Roumanille-Mistralian orthography, copied directly from Li Gabian, and in the more recent 'classicising' orthography. .

Classical Orthography

Lo Boddha
Juli Boïssièra

Brulavan un ostau, nòstei soudards   vincèires;

— Lo mèstre ambé sei fius peralin   fugissiá
Sota la fusilhada; e sus l'autar dei   rèires,
Luènh d'aparar l'ostau, l'autar e lei   vièlhs crèires,
Ais òme' alobatits lo Boddha sorrisiá

Quant d'ora' an debanat desempèi! Monte es ara

L'ostau? Monte es lo Dièu poput de   quau la cara
Sorrisenta retrais lo Sòrt indifferent?
— E sota lo cèu mut, quand l'òme   prèga e crida,
Revese dau Boddha lei gauta'   acolorida'
E sa fàcia de luna, e sei vistóns serens.

Original Lengadocian Orthography

Lou Bouddha
Juli Bouissiero

Brulavon un oustau nòsti soudard vincèire;

Lou mèstre emé si fiéu peralin fugissié
Souto la fusihado; e sus l’autar di rèire,
Liuen d’apara l’oustau, l’autar e li vièi   crèire,
Is ome aloubati lou Bouddha sourrisié.

Quant d’ouro an debana desempèi! Mounte   es aro

L’oustau? Mount es lou diéu poupu de quau   la caro
Sourrisènto retrais lou sort indiferènt?
E souto lou cèu mut, quand l’ome prègo e   crido,
Revese dóu Bouddha li gauto acoulourido,
E sa fàci de luno, e si vistoun seren.

from http://poemsintranslation.blogspot.com

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