LIMBA TONGUE
Antonella Anedda

trans. Jamie McKendrick
(from the Sardinian dialect)
Non tenes baùle 'e istrisinare in supr'e nie
Ma unu cane a trémula in s'iscuriù.

Limba-matre ses triste.
S'azu s'inniéddigat in sa sarràine.

Sa mùghit'anziat.
Sos ventos si coffundent.
Eolo survat et Babele s'isparghet.

Fiza-limba tràchitas a ghineperu.
Una tremita tua naschinde
est ch'astula de livrina in mes'a isteddos

et sas nues, sas nues a sa thurpas fughint
iscanzellande dae chelu onzi zenžas.
You own no coffin to drag across the snow,
just a dog shivering in the dark.

Mother-tongue you're heavyhearted;
garlic blackens in the copper pan.

A low drone rises from the hearth.
Winds tangle throughter all confused.
Aeolus blows but Babel's left alive.

Daughter-tongue: creak of the juniper.
Your shudder at birth's a shard chipped off
a storm among the planets

and the clouds, the clouds blindly race
obliterating from the skies all trace of lineage.

Copyright © Antonella Anedda 2006, trans. copyright © Jamie McKendrick 2006; publ. Modern Poetry in Translation III.4


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