Sanjyot Pia Walawalkar
Sanjyot Pia Walawalkar works as an Associate Professor and Equity and Outreach Librarian at Skyline College. Besides helping students develop their critical information literacy and research skills, she leads the library’s social-justice-centered programming efforts. Her research interests include critical information literacy, metaliteracy, and critical global citizenship education.
SPRACHE / LANGUAGE
Original German by Friedrich Rueckert (1788-1866)
Translated into English by Sanjyot Pia Walawalkar and Susanne Schubert
Mit jeder Sprache mehr, die du erlernst, befreist Du einen bis daher in dir gebundnen Geist, With every language you master, A spirit is set free within you That until now was bound Der jetzo tätig wird mit eigner Denkverbindung, Dir aufschließt unbekannt gewesne Weltempfindung, The freed spirit strives to make connections and unlocks an all-encompassing understanding of the world Empfindung, wie ein Volk sich in der Welt empfunden; Nun diese Menschheitsform hast du in dir gefunden. It senses the world in the way it is sensed by those whose language we learn Ein alter Dichter, der nur dreier Sprachen Gaben Besessen, rühmte sich, der Seelen drei zu haben. A wise poet once mastered three languages and proudly proclaimed That he had three spirits Und wirklich hätt‘ in sich nur alle Menschengeister Der Geist vereint, der recht wär‘ aller Sprachen Meister.” And only if all human spirits came together as one, Can we understand the language of all
Note from the translators: Friedrich Rueckert (1788-1866) was a German poet and translator, who translated works from Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Hebrew, and Farsi into German. His work is very much influenced also by these cultures, and the original poem appeared in the anthology Die Weisheit des Brahmanen – which translates to The Wisdom of the Brahmins. We chose this excerpt from his collection because it talks about the importance of languages and bringing cultures together. We believe that it is as current now as it was in the 1800s.
The original German text is in the public domain. The English translation is used here with permission of the authors.
A MARRIAGE — PRELUDE AND FINALE
prelude as I cuddled into my bed last night the soul still drenched, holding the damp moments lush with the warmth of your skin, eyes moistened the vase is now empty tired flowers have now dried dried petals sit clustered among strands of golden hair my heart aches, sweet sadness and pain while love deepens and desires are gently stoked the night is still dark when in my girlhood, my heart was opening its petals it was trampled ruthlessly will your tenderness and warmth help it bloom again? but, I hear a cacophony though headlights have gone dim and wars are fought far away I fear, the gentle whispers of my heart will drown in the clang of tradition and the tumult of modernity the spirit is shapeless, intangible, all encompassing but, the transitoriness of modern life of instant-mixes and buy-one-get-one-frees will it let our spirits seep through our pores and caress each other and carry the messages of our hearts and bodies? I fear. Written May 30, 2005
finale missed him.. miss him.. 4 years now disappeared? never even existed? man of my dreams, stayed in my dreams never realized glimpses of hope 4 years that's all memories at furnishing stores dreams lost in nurseries no home, no love, no sweet voice cries mama so many memories of holding tight as things slipped away of sadness cloaked in painful smiles of beautiful places and alcohol stench of loneliness in togetherness empty promises for a broken heart mutilated stomped all over yet lovable, stoic my phoenix heart letters written poems composed songs sung never for me my art never an iphone wallpaper my juicy mangoes not as tasty as her shriveled grapes countless lunches packed, dinners served giving forgiving letting go being there giving and more giving accident scene and imprisonment betrayals and abandonment my fault — loved nurtured a faulty seed in a barren land my husband, a fake weak man Written April 29, 2016
Copyright © 2022 by Sanjyot Pia Walawalkar. Used with permission of the author.