Translation of an Elegy

Translation of an elegy

A poem by Margaret Noodin

Inspired by this wintery wood image and a response to the fantastic poem, Elegy in Translation >> by Meg Day.

 

Nindanikanootaanan Gikaadendamowinan
Translation of an Elegy

Boonigidetawishin
Forgive me

boonigidetawishinaanig
forgive us all

gaawiin noondoosiinowaan
for not hearing

noondaagoosiiyan
not hearing

ezhi-niibawiyan zoogipong sa
the way you stand in the snow

giizis igo ge-niisibizhad miidash
as you draw down the sun

ge-nagwaadaman ji-mikwendaman
setting snares for memories

naaway’iing zesegaandagwadaban gaye wadikwaniwan
between spruce roots and branches

odoonan, oshkiinzhigoon, otawagan gaye niisiigininjaanan,
lips, eyes, ears and fingers

ingiw wewebinozhaawashkogwanag
blue feathers, green feathers waving

aagawaateshkaag ombiigweweg
casting shadows loud and clear

ge-noojimotooyan biboong gaye
your cure for winter and

odibaajimowinaniwaa mindimooyenyag
old wives’ tales

ge-noojimotooyan ezhi-nisidotaadizoyang
your cure for wounds of meaning

wewebaazhimoyang
a language of motion

mikomiyan, mikomiyang
reminding me, reminding us

mashkawaakwading
water is solid sometimes

mii miinawaa “debwetaagoziyang”
and “we are telling the truth”

nasab nitaagwad “dibendaagoziyang”
sounds like “we belong”

ombaabateg,
the way smoke rises up

ombaaniteg ombaashiyang.
a mirage we can ride.