Lexiconography 1




Lexiconography

Heid Erdrich often invites collaboration. She curates ideas, juxtaposing images across poets, places and languages. She asked Margaret Noodin to respond to her exploration of the Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe. Heid’s original text in English (written with an awareness of Ojibwe language) is translated into Anishinaabemowin and then back into English to reveal tensions between the language as Noodin sees them. The animated poem is not a strict translation of the English. The result is a poem that moves in multiple directions always working to honor the center where meaning and images meet.

To see an illustrated version of the poem with audio in both languages, visit http://heiderdrich.com/video/lexi1/

 

Lexiconography 1
Aabjito’ikidowinan 1
Used Words 1

for Nichols and Nyholm
Zhaabadiis Naano-zhoomaanke
miinawaa Earl Otchingwanigan

We used them long ago, clothespins.
Mewenzha n’gii ziinaakwa’igemi
Long ago we clothes-pinned

We can taste them still, clenched in our teeth.
N’gii gojipidaminan, n’gii ziinibidominan bito-wiibidoning
We tasted them, we squeezed them between our teeth

We pinched wooden clothespins on clouds,
N’gii ziinibidominan aanakwadoon
We pinch clouds

lines of a little child’s clothes,
aanziianan miinawaa waabooanan
of diapers and blankets

lines of a man’s clothes, heavy denim,
miikanot miinawaa bitomiikanotan
of pants and underpants

and a woman’s clothes—
gaawiin ziibaaskasiigoodenan
dresses without jingles

fine white fabric of night gowns,
nookaa niibing nibaawiiyan
soft summer sleepwear

under-things, blouses in clouds,
bidaankwaad biiskaanaan miinawaa
dawn clouds to wear and

and sun seen through clouds.
waasenaakwe’aanakwad giiskanaan
bright clouds of noon to take off.

We plucked the clothespins,
Ziinaakwa’iganan n’gii asiginaminan
We gathered clothespins

collapsed the clouds of clothing.
N’gii bisikiigaminan biizikiigan-aanakwadoon
We folded clouds of clothing

Wind combed the water, came crying.
Madweyaasin giwayaan obaasbinaakwaanan
The sound of the wind combed them dry.

We collected the clothes, the clouds.
Aanakwadoon miinawaa biizikiigan n’gii asiginaminan
We gathered the clouds and clothes

We used them long ago, clothespins.
Mewenzha n’gii ziinaakwa’igemi
Long ago we clothes-pinned

We taste them still, clenched in our teeth.
N’gii gojipidaminan, n’gii ziinibidominan bito-wiibidoning
We tasted them, we squeezed them between our teeth