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gazakas

"Του Κάτω Κόσμου τα Πουλιά"

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Geeske requested the translation of this very difficult song, so I tried my best.First the greek verses and next the translation:

ΤΟΥ ΚΑΤΩ ΚΟΣΜΟΥ ΤΑ ΠΟΥΛΙΑ

   

Μουσική: Σταύρος Κουγιουμτζής

Στίχοι: Μάνος Ελευθερίου

Φαρμακωμένος ο καιρός παραμονεύει

μες τα στενά του κάτω κόσμου να σε βρει

και δεκατρείς αιώνες άνεργος γυρεύει

την κιβωτό σου και το αίμα να σου πιει

Σε καρτερούν μαστιγωτές και συμπληγάδες

μες τα μαλάματα μια νύφη ξαγρυπνά

κι έχει στ' αυτιά της κρεμασμένες τις Κυκλάδες

κι ειν' το κρεβάτι της λημέρι του φονιά

Κρυφά τα λόγια τα πικρά μες το κοχύλι

κρυφά της θάλασσας τα μάγια στο βοριά

θα σβήσει κάποτε στο σπίτι το καντήλι

και μήτε πόρτα θα 'βρεις μήτε κλειδαριά

Του κάτω κόσμου τα πουλιά και τα παγώνια

με φως και νύχτα σου κεντούν μια φορεσιά

άνθρωποι τρίζουν κι ακονίζουν τα σαγόνια

πηδούν και τρέχουν και σε φτάνουν στα μισά

                The Birds of the Next World

 

          Poisoned the time is lying in wait

          To find you into the straits of the next world

          And thirteen centuries unemployed is seeking

          Your ark and your blood to drink it

 

          Lashers and Symplegades are waiting for you

          A bride is sleepless amongst golden jewels

          She has Cyclades hanging from her ears

          And her bed is the killer's lair

          Hidden the bitter words into the shell

          Hidden the charms of the sea into the North wind

          The oil candle of the house will extinguish someday

          And you won't find neither door nor lock

          The birds of the Next World and the peacocks

          With light and night embroid a suit for you

          People grind and sharpen their jaws

          They jump and run and catch you on the half

   Acceptable every correction guys :)

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That's a good start!

Thanks a LOT, especially since I know it must have been a hard job. And it's only starting, 'cause now come the questions.

ο κάτω κοσμος: the world below? as in Helll, I assume? If so, 'the nether world' might be appropriate in English.

l.2

στενά: straits (as in see)  or streets (as in a city)? Or both?

l.3

άνεργος: "not working", is that right? is it 'unemployed', in this context, or maybe 'idle', 'waiting its turn while doing nothing'?

l.4

What's this about an ark? the Ark of the Alliance, or Noah's, or what?

l.5.

Sympligades and so on: ok, I looked up who they are in the mythology references. As it says in the travelguides "worth a detour" :)

l.6-7-8

This is probably Greece who is in trouble again (isn't she always), but who is she marrying, why isn't he in bed with her, and who is the murderer? And is it the groom or the bride that is to be murdered

When was the song written, anyway?

l.9

κρύφα: secret, mysterious, mystic, hidden - any or all?

The conch, or shell: something I'm missing there. I can imagine one of those big shells you blow to make a noise (ask Poseidon), or one of the small ones that make the sound of the sea in your ear, but surely there is a story behind that conch...

l.10

Same: this is a reference to something - pirates, a conspiracy, Vikings - oh, I can _imagine_  enough, but I don't know...

l.11

the lamp without oil: that would be one of those eternal flames kept before icons or statues?

l.12

and when it burns down, Judgement day?

or is my imagination running away with me? This is pure guesswork, remember.

l.13

Peacocks are bad luck, I've heard, or they foretell death or something - don't know why, there must be a story there, too.

l.14

κεντούν: my dictionary says it means both embroider and stir up or awaken - what at _weird_  language...

a suit of light and darkness - that's pure poetry, right?

l.15-16

I think these teeth-gnashing guys would be in mythology somewhere too, but where the helll?

In English, btw, I think you can only sharpen the teeth, not the jaw. Figures of speech like that are tricky.

"When thou art done, thou art not done, for I have more" as a great English poet once remarked. Gazakas, I won't apologize too much, since you've brought it on yourself and anyway don't need to answer any more than you enjoy answering :)

And maybe someone else will enjoy helping out.

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Geeske,

  A lot of your guesses and suggestion are more than right.But let's see them one by one:

I.1

"Nether World" is a great expression,surely better than mine,but keep in mind that for Greeks Κάτω Κόσμος isn't a synonym for ####.It is rather a place where goes our soul when we die

I.2

In greek we have the same word (στενά) for sea's straita and for the narrow streets of a city (remember Βρέχει στη φτωχογειτονιά),so choose whichever meaning you prefer

I.3

Typically ,άνεργος means unemployed and we use the word άεργος for "idle",but I liked your interpretation of the word as  'waiting its turn while doing nothing'

I.4

I have not a single hint about the ark.The only thing I could imagine is that in an ark you put your most valuable things in order to keep them safe

I.5

You should know that in Modern Greek we use the word Symplegades to speak about great difficulties

I.6-7-8

The meaning here is inaccesible for me too

I.9

Κρυφά,κοχύλι:choose whatever you like,after all its poetry

I.10

Use your imagination

I.11-12

here in Greece we have those little lamps in front of religious icons.For the rest it's your guess

I.13

I didn't know this one about peacocks

I.14

The meaning here is embroider ,but more rarely we use the word as "pinch,penetrate"

I.15-16

Maybe you 're right about the jaws,I translated again directly the word σαγόνια

That's all for now 'cause a friend of mine is urging to go out for coffee  

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:wow:

isn't she awful when she starts asking questions...

The great thing about the song is, when you don't understand, it's beautiful and intriguing, and when you do, it's... beautiful and intriguing :)

I hope someone else will skip in with more ideas and/or background.

And I really would like to know when this song was written. Dalaras recorded it in '74 - well, Greece _was_ in dire straits at the time - but the details still escape me.

The great thing about the song is, when you don't understand, it's beautiful and intriguing, and when you do, it's... beautiful and intriguing :)

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It's been a few years, and as gazakas was saying to me only yesterday "aren't you awful when you start asking questions".... Some things don't change.

We still have not elucidated most of Eleftheriou's allusions - but, having got to know his work a little in the meantime, I am no longer bothered by it. He does it on purpose. Never mind.

And some things do change. Like, I'm making my own translations now. And they change all the time. Really. Every time I look at one, I want to change something. It's an occupational disease.

Anyway. Here god.

Του κάτω κόσμου τα πουλιά ___||___ The birds of the nether world

Μουσική: Σταύρος Κουγιουμτζής ___||___ Music: Stavros Kougioumtzis

Στίχοι: Μάνος Ελευθερίου ___||___ Lyrics: Manos Eleftheriou

Φαρμακωμένος ο καιρός παραμονεύει ___||___ Time, poisoned, is lying in wait

μες τα στενά του κάτω κόσμου να σε βρει ___||___ to find you, in the straits of the nether world

και δεκατρείς αιώνες άνεργος γυρεύει ___||___ And, idle for 13 centuries, it is seeking

την κιβωτό σου και το αίμα να σου πιει ___||___ Your ark and your blood to drink it

Σε καρτερούν μαστιγωτές και συμπληγάδες ___||___ Lashers and Symplegades await you

μες τα μαλάματα μια νύφη ξαγρυπνά ___||___ A bride is sleepless among golden jewels

κι έχει στ' αυτιά της κρεμασμένες τις Κυκλάδες ___||___ She has the Cyclades hanging from her ears

κι ειν' το κρεβάτι της λημέρι του φονιά ___||___ And her bed is the lair of the killer

Κρυφά τα λόγια τα πικρά μες το κοχύλι ___||___ Hidden, the bitter words inside the shell

κρυφά της θάλασσας τα μάγια στο βοριά ___||___ Hidden, the charms of the sea in the North

θα σβήσει κάποτε στο σπίτι το καντήλι ___||___ The oil lamp in the house will burn out someday

και μήτε πόρτα θα 'βρεις μήτε κλειδαριά ___||___ And you will find neither door nor lock

Του κάτω κόσμου τα πουλιά και τα παγώνια ___||___ The birds and the peacocks of the Nether World

με φως και νύχτα σου κεντούν μια φορεσιά ___||___ With light and night stitch a suit for you

άνθρωποι τρίζουν κι ακονίζουν τα σαγόνια ___||___ People gnash and sharpen their teeth

πηδούν και τρέχουν και σε φτάνουν στα μισά ___||___ They leap and run and catch you in the middle.

Translator's notes: "Sympligades" mean simply big trouble. The "καντήλι" is the lamp that burns in front of the icon. The peacock is a bad luck bird And I said, we still have not elucidated the rest!

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After the Hindu legend, the golden peacock gives the eternal youth.

Therefore is the peacock the incarnation of the sun (also for the ancient Chinese people).

In the ancient Greece the peacocks were present by the temple of Hera on the isle Samos, as a kind of description of her beauty.

Because of the change of colours to the spring beginning also a symbol of spring.

In Rom the bird of the goddess Junona and a symbol of apotheosis of the souls of female rulers (while an eagle was the symbol of the souls of male rulers).

For the old Christianity a part of the Paradise landscape.

Does this help?

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In Panos Karnezis story, a pair of vengeful twins let a pair of peacocks loose in the village cimetary.

That does not help either... but it makes a damm good story.

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We still have not elucidated most of Eleftheriou's allusions - but, having got to know his work a little in the meantime, I am no longer bothered by it. He does it on purpose. Never mind.

No, no, no!!! I am (almost) convinced that Elevtheriou does not do it on purpose and that only our mind is not sufficient (sorry, at least mine :confused: ) to analyze Elevtheriou's lyrics correctly.

Yes, you can "analyze" Elevtheriou's lyrics in the sense that you can find a clear meaning for all (or let's say: almost all) he writes! I have given one or two examples here in the Club (one was the song "Θέλω να φύγω σ επαρχία"). When I have time I will post other examples. (Of course I was never able to find out the meanings / the interpretation alone, it would have been impossible without the help of others, but as I said: It works!!)

To my mind this is the big difference of Elevtheriou's lyrics/poems to (most of) the lyrics/poems by Lina Nikolakopoulou or some others. That's why I admire him although I do not understand most of his work: I know that in this case (= in the case of Elevtheriou) it is my "fault" when I cannot find out the meaning of what he wants to tell us ( :lol: ) and that in his songs are hidden some fantastic ideas or "statements". (That's the decisive point: They exist, they are only "hidden" in a very particular way.)

Concerning this song here ("Tou kato kosmou ta poulia"), of course this is an extremely difficult one and as (unfortunately) I never analyzed this song with the help of others, I cannot say anything "constructive" about it, "proving" my above theory.

PS: Concerning the mere translation of the song (= without regarding the meaning of what we translate), I think that your work is correct, Geske.

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Although I have not made much progress understanding fully this splendid song, I would like to add my comments on the subject of the peacock.

The peacock is an ancient symbol found in many cultures around the world.

As Olga mentioned above, it is the attribute of Hera (the wife of Zeus) in Greek mythology.

An important cosmic and solar symbol in Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and Christian tradition, it is also a symbol of immortality, peace and prosperity.

From its ability to chase snakes and not be affected by their venom, the peacock is also seen as the victory of light against darkness, the upper world against the nether world.

In the 2 lines :

Του κάτω κόσμου τα πουλιά και τα παγώνια

με φως και νύχτα σου κεντούν μια φορεσιά

I understand the word παγώνια in the first line to be related to the word φως

and «Tου κάτω κόσμου τα πουλιά to be related to the word νύχτα.

The ones stitch with light, the others with darkness.

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I had also tried to guess what is it all about - including various meanings of peacocks and birds. And it's certainly interesting all the information from Olga and Annemarie.

I personally stumbled over the "thirteen centuries" - I could only find that it corresponds to the time covering a period from the 7th century when Islam appeared on the scene - till the present time. And it did not sound very useful, so I dropped the matter.

Now, as it's been brought back to our attention by Annemarie - It would be interesting to discuss it again - not the translation which is adequate enough (except that I think the "Northern wind" from the first version is more accurate of the just "North" of the second version) - but the meanings.

I agree with Michael that "he does not do it on purpose" - meaning that he is not trying to confuse us intentionally (and whoever would do such thing, would not deserve to be decyphered). In an article from his book "Einai arrostia ta tragoudia" M.Eleftheriou said with his usual sense of humor that when he started writing poems to be put on music, the composers complained that with his style the singer and the listeners will have to stop after each strophe to ponder what did he mean to say.

On the other hand, he does it on purpose: with his laconic style where every word is loaded with meanings. For him it is the only right way. Someone like Eleftheriou writes to make the things clear for himself, not to teach others. The thought's been materialized in words. Now it's our task to deconstruct the words back - to get the thought out. It's never a lossless procedure. Not our fault if we can't get to all the details. The best thing in reading the poetry is a provocation to the mind to think. And if we loose this opportunity because of lack of curiosity - that's our fault ( just some thoughts: in hope of having more discussions).:)

Anyway, a new head-breaking session gave me the following thoughts:

- starting from the end: to me it seems that birds and peacocks are not different species, but both represent good forces of hope. (and the title says: "birds of the underworld" - or underground; peacocks are left out because they are of the same species). Therefore, symbols represented by the peacocks are interesting but not that essential. Peacocks emphasize the beauty of the birds, though.

- Is it OK with grammar if we say that they do embroidery ("embroidery" also seems more accurate than "stitch") day and night (meaning all the time, in a hurry) rather than FROM light and night?

- The following I consider the most important: a key to the poem - in my view.

Regarding the special and precise meanings carried by the words in this poem - "poisonous time" struck me like a thunderbolt (well, not necessarily bringing the solution - but an idea, certainly: and of course, might be erroneous):razz: .

This makes 13 centuries of Islam not that far-fetched. That time was (and still is - how poets can see through the future? It's amazing) poisoned - poisoned by fear, suspicion, distrust. It was still many years left until the fall of Constantinopole, but the poisonous time started working: clash of civilizations, fear, treachery started long before. "Fear eats the soul" - the title of a Fassbinder movie. It does.

I have to stress out that Islam or Christianity is not a problem - not a poison. Poison is fear. In times of war and peace alike, fear makes a person to strike first - afraid that it will be late the next moment. And then there is no end (like now).

That's what he wanted to say: it's the first line - poisonous TIME. People are victims - on both sides: until they will be ready to hear "the bitter words hidden in the shell".

And someone - from the underworld or underground - might be ready to bring his arc. The arc is "a chest to keep treasure". It does not have to be a specific Arc of Covenant or similar: I saw an expression "κιβωτος του πνευματου", Arc of Spirit. And the poisonous time is ready to grab the arc of spirit and to drink the blood of a person or persons who personify this spirit. It can be a spirit of Vizantium, of Hellenic wisdom, whatever has been lost in the past Golden Age - age of dignity.

And it's useless to expect the groom to start a new life with the bride - Hellas.

People poisoned by the time will destroy him. The same with the bridal bed: treason is waiting for the groom there. There will be no new life until the time keeps poisoning the people with fear and distrust.

Underworld might mean "underground" in a political sense or in a poetic sense or both.

- Coming back to the 3d strophe: bitter words of truth are hidden away in a shell. You might want to find it and blow the shell to hear. But nobody wants.

And the charms of the sea are hidden in a Northern wind - that can alone bring fresh and cool ideas. But they won't come - and the divine flame of human wisdom or spirit will eventually die out. There will be no home for you to keep warm (spiritually in the first place).

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