White Cranes (revisited)

I made several changes to my translation of Rasul Gamzatov beautiful poem “Zhuravli” (White Cranes) based on very helpful suggestions from Zara Girnius. You can also listen to a beautiful performance of the song based on this poem (music by J. Frenkel) on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGUfVjFmgG0&feature=related

White Cranes

Sometimes I imagine that our soldiers,

Who fell in battle in the days gone by,

Were not consumed by earth, covered with boulders-

They turned into white cranes flying high.


They fly from yesterday into tomorrow,

And call our pain to us from on high.

Is this not why so often, with such sorrow,

We turn our silent gazes to the sky?


The tired flock flies on as dusk gets near,

In misty fog as far as eye can see,

And that formation has a gap so clear,

Perhaps there is a place in there for me.


The day will come and I will gladly follow

The flock of cranes into the murky haze.

And from the skies my message raw and hollow

Will bring you grief that time cannot erase. 


2 responses to “White Cranes (revisited)

  1. Very lovely! Thank you for posting this.

    Lady Nyo

  2. I think you’ve done a great poetic rendering of the original – even though it’s not an exact translation, it manages to convey the sense and feeling tone of the song without sacrificing too much of the literal meaning.

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