Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday poetry blogging: Txoria Txori

When I studied in Germany, the linguistics department I was in required that we study either Basque or Georgian to fulfil our "exotic language" requirements. I picked Basque.

During one of the courses we read some Basque literature, and although there are some wonderfully complex works out there, the one that I find myself coming back to the most is this simple little poem by Joxean Artze.

The title literally means "the bird bird". I think this is maybe meant to convey something like "the birdiness of the bird". Sometimes it is translated as "The bird which is a bird", although I have also seen it titled Hegoak ("the wings").

Txoria Txori

Hegoak ebaki banizkio
neria izango zen
ez zuen aldegingo
Bainan, honela
ez zen gehiago txoria izango
eta nik... txoria nuen maite

The bird

If I had cut off her wings
she would have been mine
she would not have flown away.
But, then
she would not have been a bird any more
and I... it's the bird that I loved

You can hear four different versions of it set to music and sung here (unfortunately you don't get any complete tracks but just a taste of each). The version by Mikel Laboa is probably the most well known. The one by Etsaiak is just strange.

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turtlebella said...

Very nifty, the Basque language. I've only ever heard Basque on the radio driving through that part of Spain. Never actually gotten to stop there though.
And the poem is quite haunting itself. Thanks!

StyleyGeek said...

I envy you, turtlebella. Spain is somewhere I never got to when I was living in Europe. But I've heard the Basque country is beautiful. Certainly the photos I've seen have made me long to go there.