Friday, December 15, 2017

Snow, to the tune of Wind in the Pines

I have been exploring the idea that some or all of the Wind in the Pines poems in SB 11 are written in response to the corresponding Black-Naped Oriole poems earlier in the same fascicle.

If that is true then the poem below is a response to the Snow of my last post. Certainly some relationship between the two is likely in the fact that they both start with the same word, untuhun. With the consistent alliteration within each line it seems likely that this one would have been written by the same author that wrote Wind to the same tune.

nimanggi [雪],    Snow
Staatsbibliothek 11.19 (View Online)
untuhun ulejefi,    The sky tumbled down,
šahūn šarapi,    turned white as white,
beri beri benjime,    bringing one after another,
sisaha, sisa canggi,    it sprinkled, only sprinkles
5tuheke tuhekei,    fell, but as it fell,
inggaha inggari,

    it became fluff and down.

murušeme muduri,    Seeming that dragons
becunuhei bi,    were fighting,
emke emken esihe,    one scale after another,
10 fasar farsi farsi,    scattered piece by piece,
tucinjihe tucin,    came forth in order
sabubuha sabi.    to make an omen known.

Translation Difficulties

sisa. The usual meaning of sisa is “bean, pea,” which might suggest the idea of hail if it weren’t for the fact that Manchu has a much more common word for hail with the same number of syllables (bono). Given that sisambi means “to sprinkle,” I have read sisa as “sprinkes,” perhaps meaning snowflakes, or else maybe small icy drops.

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