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"Poroi umirayut bogi" (Порой умирают боги) (English translation)

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Russian

"Poroi umirayut bogi" (Порой умирают боги)

Порой умирают боги – и права нет больше верить
Порой заметает дороги. Крестом забивают двери
И сохнут ключи в пустыне, а взрыв сотрясает сушу,
Когда умирает богиня, когда оставляет души
Огонь пожирает стены и храмы становятся прахом
И движутся манекены, не ведая больше страха
Шагают полки по иконам бессмысленным ровным клином
Теперь больше верят погонам и ампулам с героином
Терновый венец завянет, всяк будет себе хозяин
Фольклором народным станет убивший Авеля Каин
Погаснет огонь в лампадках, умолкнут священные гимны
Не будет ни рая, ни ада, когда наши боги погибнут
Так иди и твори, что надо не бойся, никто не накажет
Теперь ничего не свято…
 
Submitted by Brat on Wed, 21/03/2018 - 18:32
Align paragraphs
English translation

Gods Sometimes Evaporate

Gods sometimes evaporate, so - we all have no right of credence
Roads sometimes get covered with packed snow. Doors sometimes get nailed up crisscross
And all desert springs are drying away and a blow rocks tight soils
When there’s a goddess dying, when she leaves alone our kind souls
Fire eats up the walls that carry - and up in smoke go the cathedrals
And dummies begin to serry, bein’ strangers to their fears
The regiments march over icons, bein’ marshaled inanely wedgewise
There is now much more trust in 5-0s and heroin vacuum hedged vials
The crown of thorns will fade out; each man will then have his own law
And Cain who once murdered Abel will be a subject of folklore
The light will be put out in lampions, the sacred hymns will become silent
And there’ll be no hell and no heavens when all our good old gods die out
So you’d go and do what you planned not to fear, there’s no one to punish
From now on there’s nothing sacred…
 
Submitted by Brat on Wed, 21/03/2018 - 18:35
Last edited by Brat on Fri, 23/03/2018 - 15:07
Author's comments:

It's an equirhythmic translation. Regular smile

Comments
petit élève    Wed, 21/03/2018 - 19:55

It's been a while since you last paid a visit to Yanka.

умирают -> why not simply "die"? Maybe you could use something like "vanish", but I don't think "evaporate" really implies the idea of death.

nailed up crisscross -> I don't think that works. I can't find anything shorter than "doors get boarded up with crosses"

И сохнут ключи в пустыне, а взрыв сотрясает сушу -> I understand that as "and springs dry up in the desert while an explosion shakes the (emerged lands)".
"dry away" sounds like the springs recede in the distance as they dry up.
A "blow" is hardly likely to shake the ground, except if it's a really mighty one
"tight soil" sounds like a technical term to me.
All in all I'd rather keep it simple Regular smile

the walls that carry -> "the (load-)bearing walls" would sound more usual to me. I suppose it's a filler since the Russian aparently just says "walls"

serry -> that's extremely archaic. I might have read the word once ot twice, but I don't remember ever hearing it.

bein’ strangers -> why not "oblivious to their fears"? That would fit nicely, don't you think?

ровным клином -> I don't understand the metaphor. Is that about a blunt blade or something? I just can't picture a regiment marching in a "inane wedge" formation

погонам -> "5-0" as in "watch out for the cops"? I would have thought it was about epaulettes, as a metonymy for the Army or maybe an authoritarian government. Or is that some kind of slang?

завянет -> why not "wither"? More literal and same number of syllables

abide his own law -> that would be "abide by..." but that sounds a bit strange to me. "follow his own laws/rules"? "be his own master"?

a subject of folklore -> Folklore can be a subject of study or lecture, but a story that is part of folklore would rather be "a folk tale/folktale" or something like that.

you planned to don’t fear -> a point would make it a lot more readable. Or maybe "have no fear" to make it clearer it's a new sentence

there’s no one to punish -> that would mean "no one to be punished", while the Russian rather says "no one to punish you", right?

Today there’s nothing sacred -> maybe "from now on" ?

Brat    Thu, 22/03/2018 - 16:34
petit élève wrote:

It's been a while since you last paid a visit to

Yanka.

But it wasn't a great while, right?

petit élève wrote:

умирают -> why not simply "die"? Maybe you could use something like

"vanish", but I don't think "evaporate" really implies the idea of

death.

Well, the main message of the song is about the vanishing

faith. So it doesn't come on a sudden of course (as death is usually

supposed to come) but the process lasts for some time. It's like you've

forgotten about an open bottle of some alcoholic beverage - and when you

finally find and try it - gosh! - its spirit (!) has completely evaporated. May

this underpin my version...;)

petit élève wrote:

nailed up crisscross -> I don't think that works. I can't find anything shorter

than "doors get boarded up with crosses"

Look at the original. It's a

bit compressed sentence. Normally it should be "крест-накрест", and the

used "крестом" would rather mean "with a cross (or a rood)" at first

glance. But at the second glance it becomes clear that it was meant

"crosswise". And there's no any board in the original, btw, a metonymy

"забивают" instead of the most common "заколачивают" is used. And it

still works, ain't it? Of course, English has it's own peculiarities so the final

word there should rest with a native who doesn't know Russian at all...

petit élève wrote:

И сохнут ключи в пустыне, а взрыв сотрясает сушу -> I understand

that as "and springs dry up in the desert while an explosion shakes the

(emerged lands)".

And it's not very far from the original, I'd say. Regular smile

Here "суша" (that means "the terrestrial part of the globe", "the firm-land"

in Russian) is a metonymy standing for "сушь" (which means "an

extremely dry land", "a tight soil"). It could be also perceived as "душу",

because the whole metaphor is about it.

petit élève wrote:

"dry away" sounds like the springs recede in the distance as they dry

up.

I think it doesn't stand much too far away from the original...

petit élève wrote:

A "blow" is hardly likely to shake the ground, except if it's a really mighty

one

I thought about a "quake", because the original "explosion" is a

bit too long to match the Russian rapid "взрыв". Wink smile

petit élève wrote:

"tight soil" sounds like a technical term to me.
All in all I'd rather keep it simple Regular smile

But it rhymes with the "souls" and

is close enough to the intended original meaning. BTW, "суша" is also a

'technical' term used mainly in geographic texts.

petit élève wrote:

the walls that carry -> "the (load-)bearing walls" would sound more usual to

me. I suppose it's a filler since the Russian aparently just says

"walls"

You're right, it's a filler. AFAIK, both "bear" and "carry"

could be used to talk about static load. The sentence reads like being

incomplete, but in case of fire using such jerky phrases comes at no

wonder. Wink smile

petit élève wrote:

serry -> that's extremely archaic. I might have read the word once ot twice,

but I don't remember ever hearing it.

You've forgotten to say it's too

French. Teeth smile It's dated, of course, but still in use in some military spheres.

Nevertheless I'll think about changing it into something different together

with the rhyming "carry".

petit élève wrote:

bein’ strangers -> why not "oblivious to their fears"? That would fit nicely,

don't you think?

I think it would! Though "being a stranger to fear" is

much more idiomatic, as well as the original "не ведать (!) страха", while

"being oblivious to fear" is closer to "страх позабыть/потерять". We might

need to ask a native which phrase sounds better, and is more idiomatic.

petit élève wrote:

ровным клином -> I don't understand the metaphor. Is that about a blunt

blade or something? I just can't picture a regiment marching in a "inane

wedge" formation

That's good! Because the author's intention was to

suggest a feeling of absurdity. It's like regiments prepared to wage a war

against icons and were driving a wedge, trampling them lying on the

ground. But that's senseless, ain't it?

petit élève wrote:

погонам -> "5-0" as in "watch out for the cops"? I would have thought it

was about epaulettes, as a metonymy for the Army or maybe an

authoritarian government. Or is that some kind of slang?

Well, you're making progress! This word means "cops" or "KGBists" or, sometimes, "soldiers" in Russian criminals' slang. "5-0" is mainly American, but I hope it's understandable being widely spread through TV, etc.

petit élève wrote:

завянет -> why not "wither"? More literal and same number of syllables

It's intended to rhyme with "Abel"... Wink smile And, besides, it's mostly about not a physical withering, but a kinda "withering" of its meaning. It's like the well-known crown turned to be not more than a bunch of withered sticks. So that its concept (or percept) fades out...

petit élève wrote:

abide his own law -> that would be "abide by..." but that sounds a bit

strange to me. "follow his own laws/rules"? "be his own master"?

You're right, its a daring try. Regular smile Because "to abide by" is a pretty strict construction that flows off the tongue automatically. But that dangling "by" ruins the meter! The only reason why I used it was that it reads like the canonical "Abide by His law"... I'll change it into "will have" instead... Or may you have some other suggestions?

petit élève wrote:

a subject of folklore -> Folklore can be a subject of study or lecture, but a

story that is part of folklore would rather be "a folk tale/folktale" or

something like that.

Could Cain himself be a subject of folklore? Because that's what the author actually meant.

petit élève wrote:

you planned to don’t fear -> a point would make it a lot more readable. Or

maybe "have no fear" to make it clearer it's a new sentence

This is an intentional ambiguity, because the original line has its own one. Look, "твори что надо не бойся" could be read as "do whatever you want fearlessly", or "do, and don't be afraid of what you (normally) should be afraid". That's a kind of Yanka's 'trademark' puns. Wink smile Of course, it couldn't be represented in rhymed English literally, so I tried to produce a substitute. May that look weird, but it gives some smell of the original. Wink smile

petit élève wrote:

there’s no one to punish -> that would mean "no one to be punished", while

the Russian rather says "no one to punish you", right?

You
are right again! That was my intention to shift the meaning, first I supposed to write "we've no one to punish" that would bear a kind of ambiguity, but finally decided to write down "there’s no one to punish" to underline the fact that without faith there'll be no divine retribution - but only accidental mishaps not perceived as a punishment... But maybe the first variant is better?

petit élève wrote:

Today there’s nothing sacred -> maybe "from now on" ?

Marvellous! That's sharp! I'm already editing this line. Regular smile

P.S. Another doctorate, dang! Mark shouldn't look at this *lol*.

petit élève    Thu, 22/03/2018 - 18:30

I knew you wouldn't give up that easy Teeth smile

Крестом забивают двери -> that seems like an obvious allusion to religion. "Crosses are used to bar doors". Anyway, "crisscross" is not the appropriate word, despite the "cross" in it. It's more like an pattern of lines crossing each other, it does not evoke the shape of a cross at all.

Could Cain himself be a subject of folklore? -> I'd rather put it as "a folktale character". You might want @Gavin's opinion on that, but I think "subject of folklore" means "folklore as a topic", not a character or feature that can be found in folktales.

you planned to don’t fear -> "you planned to have no fear" can also be read as "you planned to. Have no fear", while "I plan to don't do" sounds like a broken version of "I plan not to do..." (which would rather be "I don't plan to" in the first place)

Gavin    Fri, 23/03/2018 - 09:28

Will be a subject of folklore...
That sounds ok to me, although I think I would prefer 'the' rather that 'a' in that sort of phrase. Alternatively you could just say something like "the story of Cain will become folklore" - that rolls of the tongue a little more easily.

Absolutely on "planned to don't fear" - that doesn't wash at all, suggestions are all good Regular smile

Gavin    Fri, 23/03/2018 - 09:40

...unless it's just a punctuation issue.
So you’d (you'll) go and do what you planned to, don’t fear, there’s no one to punish (you)

That works ok

although 'intended' might be a bit tidier than 'planned to'
and 'don't worry' is more typical than 'don't fear'

Brat    Fri, 23/03/2018 - 14:24

About folklore - you're just a party savior. Regular smile Of course, it's metonymical enough, just as well as the original that says literally: "Cain who murdered Abel will become the national folklore". And the actual meaning is that the holy story will become a folk tale, and Cain will cease being The First Murderer, and since that he will become a folklore character, like a simple villain of the piece. Regular smile I'm glad that the suggested metonymy works in English too.

As for the second, you see, the ambiguity suggested by the author would say us something like that: "You can go and do whatever you want without being afraid because there's nobody who'll (or who can/may) punish you" OR "You can go and do. Don't be afraid of what you, normally, should be afraid, because there's nobody ... ." It's reads somewhat broken in Russian, because it uses an accusative instead of the required genitive (in the second variant of meaning), so it sounds like a colloquialism, or a childish saying. I must concede that the English variant sounds too much 'broken' in the second case. I'll use the variant suggested by Pierre, although it is a bit smoother than the original. Regular smile

Gavin    Fri, 23/03/2018 - 14:47

It's really hard to express that ambiguity in English without using very broken English.

This just about works:

"you'll go and do what you planned, not to fear, there’s no one to punish you."

Arguably it could mean have both of your desired meanings depending on which comma you emphasise more.

what you planned not to fear = those things that you did not intend to be afraid of
-or-
not to fear = don't worry/don't be afraid/fear not

Brat    Fri, 23/03/2018 - 15:06

That reads like 'a bit' broken English. That's hotsie-totsie!