Our Birdsong is Near
Original by Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo
Translated, from the Tagalog, by Reya Mari S. Veloso
With how in our endless tomorrow
Are two older versions of us,
Amidst a multitude of younger ones,
Ache and bone inseparable
From the twisted strings
Of our tangled insides.
With how we carry on
Turning and whirling,
Even through a scarcity
Perhaps, no one can conceive of it.
A bird sings between us
However broken or off-key,
You and I will never catch it, or even try to.
The dried leaf in our journal is now in smithereens,
Know that in the thousand times we tried—
There are creases we can never unfold
With the trembling
Of our hands.
Nothing left to do but come
Hindi na nalalayo ang huni
Kung paanong ang kasalukuyang bukas
Ay dalawang matandang tayo
Sa kay raming kabataang sila,
Magkatuwang na rayuma’t buto
Sa kiwal na hanay ng mga
Kung paano nakukuhang uminog
Sa ganitong paraan
Nang pangilan-ngilan lamang
Ay, walang sinong makaiintindi.
May umaawit na ibon sa ating pagitan
Na may pilay ba o ano sa huni,
At hindi natin ito huhulihin, o mahuhuli.
Pulbos na ang dahong inipit sa kuwaderno,
Ang sarisaring pamamaraan—
At may mga bagay na hindi maituwid-tuwid
Sa ano ba namang nginig
Ano pa ang nalalabi kundi
Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo teaches courses on art and literature for the Department of Humanities at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Some of his recent works can be read online on Revolt, Katitikan, Luntian, Ani and ACT Forum Online. The original poem is part of his poetry book entitled Bukod sa maliliit na hayop.
Reya Mari S. Veloso teaches art criticism and literature for the Department of Humanities at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Her previously published papers are available at the ASEAN Journal of Community Engagement and the UP Los Baños Journal. She dabbles in film photography, young adult literature, and fanfiction. This work is her first attempt at translation.
Irina Novikova lives and works in Minsk. She graduated from the State Academy of Slavic Cultures with a degree in art and the Moscow Humanitarian and Technical Academy with a degree in design. Novikova is a member of the Krasnogorsk United Community “Comp,” the Russian Federation of Watercolorists, the International Art Fund (IHF), and the Union of Russian Artists. Her first personal exhibition, “My soul is like a wild hawk” (2002) was held in the Maxim Bogdanovich Museum.