Santino Spinelli: Roundup (From Abruzzese Romani)

And another from Spinelli...

By Santino Spinelli
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

A bang on the door in the long dead of night,
disciplined hounds with long fierce teeth,
assault rifles raised in a face half-asleep
sleep smashed dream gashed night-terrors awake;
black uniforms cool cruel eyes
hatred revulsion and heinous slander
punishing windstorm innocent eyes...
the door banged shut a dream pulled apart
tears on the ground...gutted hearts.

The Original:


Ni dàb ki vuddàr andrè i barì ràt
dànd barè di ǧiukèl mardè,
ni putinì a katàr pru muj sovaddò
sunò dukkaddò sunò trašianò;
kalè jurvibbè kià ǧiungalè
nafèl bi mištipè doš barì,
bar bravàl kià laččè...
a vuddàr pandindì ni sunò ningaddò
rovibbè pri pù... jilè čindè.

Notes on the Romani:

baro: the adjective occurs three times, in different senses — the first in barì ràt (one of a handful of multi-word idioms in Romani which actually can be traced to India) meaning idiomatically"the dead of night, the middle of the night" (literally, the long/big night), and again in dànd barè "big teeth" referring to the hounds' terrifying teeth. And then in doš barì where its meaning is more abstract.

Sunò: this word which, in common Romani can mean either "dream" or "sleep", appears three times each with a different spin. The dream one was living in, the nightmare one wakes up to, the sleep of unawareness reft is all of these things.

kià: metathesized form of common Romani jakha.

Nafèl bi mištipè: perhaps a subversion of a sugary mištipè binafèl?

Doš barì: a very polyvalent phrase. I suppose "great injury" might be another way to translate it. Doš can mean a number of things including injury, misconduct, misdeed, flaw, sin. But it seems like the sense of falsification is to the point — and Spinelli clearly thought so in his self-translation. 

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