What I have in my mind

This article is a translation of previous one.

When I was browsing books about great writers or writings, I coincidentally made the acquaintance of other writers frequently, that mainly attracted me in the past, whereas I had suspended further research on them. I never anticipated to find out the notification in the book that one and another had actually met or they had been in the same place before, or he/she had been quoted as an example of their story. That was like unexpectedly completing a piece of gigantic jigsaw puzzle which is very hard in the process of making, I felt an ease which was the same sense of fitting something accurately in my heart. If I were to see as a flying creature the vast ground from the highest view among obscure clouds, it might be as well as seeing slight landscape through a chink which is getting wider. So I would fain tell viewers about my tiny experiences which are short, and to write down my prospect as well.

At first, I would like to mention of Khalil Gibran. I brought my mind to the translation of his poetry had been arranged among the works of Kamiya Mieko in the section of Misuzu Shobo in some bookshops since long time ago. I wondered his name supposed to be originated from west Asia, and I thumbed through one of Kamiya’s book. After that I knew that Kamiya Mieko was in the department of Psychiatry of Tokyo University, school of medicine, in which Kinoshita Mokutaro(Ohta Masao) was belong to the department of Dermatology as a professor. Such connection has directly nothing to do with literary meaning, however, people may get close each other unconsciously by somewhat called a gravity, I must say.

I learnt that Gibran was born in Lebanon, where the former Ottoman empire had occupied, and he has been famous for his poetry, especially “The Prophet” has been read worldwide. It is true that his works translated in Japanese are available in remote cities of Japan as well, nevertheless the original version can be purchased only online if living in local cities. It is all the more difficult to buy other language edition. The other day I found that Gibran firstly conceived the idea of “The Prophet” in Arabic. He went to the America in his youth and learnt skills of English, then he also went back home to receive higher education of Arabic.

Fortunately I got an ebook of “The Prophet” in English and Arabic version. I am not get used to read in Kindle, but it was a good purchase that I got it within 1,000Yen. As I read the introduction, that says it took twenty years to translate in Arabic. What a long journey it is! I cannot understand the concept of price tagging when I came across such a valuable book that is affordable less than 1,000Yen. I am also a member of Kindle unlimited in Amazon.com, so I am able to read the Japanese translation by Sakuma Takeshi for free. Then I have started to read it. What I felt was that it was easy to read and not many pages. But I have to mention that read easily and be comprehensible are not the same. The energy that the writer brought his heart to bear upon every single words must be so immense that I have to read it thoroughly. This is one of my utmost happiness to realise that I can examine it many times. As for the title “The Prophet”, it is a story like a manual of life course, the prophet Almustafa(المصطفى), teaches lessons to people who need guidance. I have not read the original poetry yet so it is not the time to speak of it. And I have got the reasonable reference book for studying Arabic at last, I would like to reverse translate gradually by using this ebook. Someday I would be happy to introduce the study result.

Secondly, I would fain speak of Rabindranath Tagore. Recently, I have very been attracted by the fact that non-English born person such as Gibran creates great English writings. Needless to say, Okakura Tenshin who is inordinately contributed to Kamegoro Law Firm is the one of greatest writer from non-Anglosphere, I believe. It is tremendously shameful for me to tell you that I thought that nothing better than using own language when expressing one’s own culture. How stupid I am! That is not true. At least Tenshin himself succeeded in attempting it in literature. Of course Gibran must have accomplished, not to mention Tagore and other writers who I do not know. I am very excited to know the fact all the more that Tenshin and Tagore knew each other, and visited their countries. It is said that Tagore has been to Tenshin’s tombstone when he died. Tagore was in Izura! He wrote “Gitanjali(গীতাঞ্জলি)” in Bengali, later on he wrote it again in English. Someday, I wish I could read his work.

I think that it is a huge encouragement for me to know that such people who are from non-Anglosphere write English literature. Particularly as for myself, who live in the world of totally different linguistic family, is quite an incentive.

I sometimes write articles in English, which are not praiseworthy contents and I think I am at best the third-rate writer. There must be many errors in my sentences. But I would like to keep writing my blog in English with my style. Then I would like to sophisticate my essay writing technique, not to be contented with the present situation, humbly tolerate the critics of others and review retrospectively by myself.

Finally, I would fain end the article by introducing a songwriter from Iceland. His name is Ásgeir Trausti. He speaks Icelandic but also good at writing beautiful lyrics in English.

Glistening nighttime dew, and she is walking with me.  

From the house of red, I hear a child crying.  

Foxes heading home, their prey hangs from their jaws.

And the forest knows, but it won’t share the secret.

When the king takes sides, leaving moral minds; soldiers take their share. Nighthawks seem to sense that now is the time.  

Deep inside them burns the raging fire of life.

He’ll take back what he owns.

Death cannot take hold, if I can keep momentum.  

Fortresses of stone, turn into crystal tears soothed by southern winds; I’ve found my strength now.  

And nobody knows, and we must keep their secret.

When the king takes sides, leaving moral minds; soldiers take their share. Nighthawks seem to sense that now is the time.

Deep inside them burns the raging fire of life.

He’ll take back what he owns.

When the king takes sides, leaving moral minds; soldiers take their share. Nighthawks seem to sense that now is the time.

Deep inside them burns the raging fire of life.

He’ll take back what he owns.

Dýrð í dauðaþögn, 2012 (In the Silence, 2013)

Thank you for reading.

私の考えていること

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 ある一つの著作なり文人について読み調べると、思いがけずとある箇所で他の著作家について記されていることがある.その著作家というのは以前から関心を寄せていた人物であることが多い一方で、それ以上の関心を留保していたことがよくあった.引用のこともあれば、実際に人物らが出会っていた、同じ場所を出入りしていたということを知る.作りかけのジグソーパズルの一ピースが意図せず偶然当てはまるような感覚で、心の中でもぴたりと符合する心地よい感覚を覚える.私が飛翔体となって巨大な地上の文学を暗雲たる空から俯瞰するとすれば、雲と雲の切れ目が少しだけ広くなって、わずかに地上の景色が見えるような、そんな感じでもある.そんなことが何度かあったから、それについて短いけれどお伝えすることとし、私の展望と合わせてここに記そうと思う.

 一つは、Khalil Gibran (ハリール・ジブラーン)のこと.私は、ずっと前から書店のみすず書房のコーナーに、神谷美恵子の著作が並んでいて、その中にGibranの詩訳が置いてあったのが気になっていた.名前からして西アジア出身の人物かな、という類推のもと、パラパラと本をめくったことがあった.神谷美恵子は木下杢太郎(太田正雄)が皮膚科教授であったころの東大医局に出入りしていたと後に知った.こうした縁は文学上直接な関係があったわけではないにせよ、人々は何らかの奇妙な引力でお互いに惹かれ合うのかもしれない.そういうしかない.

 Gibranは当時オスマン帝国の支配下にあったレバノンの出身であること、詩作がよく知られていること、特に「The Prophet:預言者」が世界中で翻訳されていることを私は知った.和文翻訳は確かに大きな書店でも並んでいて、有名だ.だが、原文は地方では通信販売でしか手に入らない.他言語であれば尚更である.私は別の時期に、GibranがThe Prophetを最初はアラビア語で構想を練ったことを知る.彼は若い頃に渡米し英語の素養を身につけるが、帰国しアラビア語の高等教育をも学んでいる.

 幸運にもアラビア語版と原文同時収録の電子書籍を手に入れることができた.私はあまりKindleを使わないから不慣れだが、1000円未満で入手できたのは良い.本の紹介を見ると訳に20年ほどかけたと書いてある.何という長い旅路であることか.これが1000円未満程度になってしまうとは物の価値はよくわからない.私はKindle unlimitedにも入っているから佐久間彪訳の邦訳を無料で読むことができる.そして早速読んでみた.私が感じたのは、思ったほど分量がないことと大変読みやすいということであった.ただ、読みやすいのとわかりやすいというのは意味が異なる.一言一句にかけるエネルギー量が他の作品と違うであろうから、何度もよく読む必要がある.これは何度も味わえるということだから、嬉しいことこの上ない.預言者という題名であるが、人生における手引きのような感覚で、預言者アルムスタファ(المصطفى)が人々に助言を与えるといった内容だ.私は原文を読んでいないから書評はこれからとなる.そして私はアラビア語の勉強に相応しいであろう教材をようやく入手できたから少しずつ、勉強がてら逆翻訳してみようと思っている.近いうちに紹介したいと思う.

 もう一つはRabindranath Tagore(ラビンドラナート・タゴール)のこと.私は最近、Gibranのように非英語圏の人物が優れた英文を著す、という事実に大変心惹かれている.勿論、亀吾郎法律事務所でお世話になっている岡倉天心も非英語圏の優れた著述家であろうと私は思っている.このようなことを言うのは無知を晒すようで恥ずかしいのであるが、私は、自国文化のことを表現するのに自国の言語以上に優れたものはないと思っていたことがあった.何という愚かさ.そんなことはないのだ.少なくとも天心はその試みにおいて成功している.もちろんGibranも成し遂げているのだろう.そしてTagoreも、私の知らない数多くの文人達も.私は天心とTagoreが親交を持ち、両者が互いに行き来したという事実を知り、益々興味が湧いている.Tagoreは天心の死後に彼の墓を訪れているという.Tagoreは五浦にいたことがあったのか.彼ははベンガル語でGitanjali (ギタンジャリ:গীতাঞ্জলি)を著し、後に英文で同著を書いたという.いつか彼の作品を読んでみたいと思っている.

 こうした人々が非母国語で文学作品を創作するというのは、心做しか大いに勇気づけられるものではないのかなと思う.特に語族が大きく異なる文化圏に暮らしている身としては.

 時々私は英文をブログに載せるが、どう贔屓目に見ても私の英文はよくできているとは思えない.様々な瑕疵があるに違いない.だが私は私なりの英文を書いていこうと考えている.そして後から見直してみたり、他者の批評を謹んで受けて少しずつ良いものを目指していきたい.

 最後に、アイスランド出身の作曲家の歌詞を紹介してお終いにしたい.彼はÁsgeir Trausti(アウスゲイル・トロスティ).彼の母語は勿論アイスランド語であるが、英語の美しい詩を書いている.

King and Cross

Glistening nighttime dew, and she is walking with me.  

From the house of red, I hear a child crying.  

Foxes heading home, their prey hangs from their jaws.

And the forest knows, but it won’t share the secret.

When the king takes sides, leaving moral minds; soldiers take their share. Nighthawks seem to sense that now is the time.  

Deep inside them burns the raging fire of life.

He’ll take back what he owns.

Death cannot take hold, if I can keep momentum.  

Fortresses of stone, turn into crystal tears soothed by southern winds; I’ve found my strength now.  

And nobody knows, and we must keep their secret.

When the king takes sides, leaving moral minds; soldiers take their share. Nighthawks seem to sense that now is the time.

Deep inside them burns the raging fire of life.

He’ll take back what he owns.

When the king takes sides, leaving moral minds; soldiers take their share. Nighthawks seem to sense that now is the time.

Deep inside them burns the raging fire of life.

He’ll take back what he owns.

In the Silence, 2013