Sunday, June 12, 2016

They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait

From Kedarnath Singh's poetry collection सृष्टि पर पहरा (tr. Nature Under Watch).

विज्ञान और नींद 

जब ट्रेन में चढ़ता हूँ 
तो विज्ञान को धन्यवाद देता हूँ 
वैज्ञानिक को भी 

जब उतरता हूँ वायुयान से 
तो ढेरों धन्यवाद देता हूँ विज्ञान को 
और थोड़ा सा ईश्वर को भी  

पर जब बिस्तर पर जाता हूँ 
और रौशनी में नहीं आती नींद 
तो बत्ती बुझाता हूँ 
और सो जाता हूँ 

विज्ञान के अँधेरे में  
अच्छी नींद आती है 

NF's English translation:

Science and Sleep 

When I board a train
I thank Science
The scientist too

When I alight an aircraft
I thank Science a lot
And God a little too

But when I go to bed
And sleep eludes me under lights
I switch off the bulb
And go to sleep

Under Science's blackout
One sleeps well


Arvind Krishna said...

Not to criticize, but may I offer the following translation?

When I board a train
I give thanks to Science
And the scientist too

When I disembark an airplane
I give many thanks to Science
And a little bit to God as well

Next paragraph is done well.

Under the darkness of science
One gets good sleep.

I don't get the last couple of lines though, as usual my ignorance.

Nanga Fakir said...

Good to see you offering your own translation! Hope to do some more of this in the coming days :)

Aadii said...

Nice translations.

I think the last line means that science does not solve ALL the problems, and it doesn't need to because sometimes you can just BE, just sleep!

Arvind Krishna said...

I heard this podcast by Radiolabs (you have to check them out!).

Hofstadter writes a book ( offering several translations of the same poem.

Nanga Fakir said...

Thanks! Will check.