Wednesday, 23 May 2018

A multi-language template poem


LIKE A MIRROR (Urdu version)

 

The two speakers face each other up close, like looking into a mirror. To read the last line, both speakers face out to the audience.

The writing in italics is phonetics for the language of the second speaker i.e. not English. There is a time line going down the page and phrases on the same line are spoken at the same time. So words at the same height are read at the same time! This is intentional.

 

 

First Speaker                                                                          Second Speaker


 


We haven’t seen each other,                                                                           ----------------------


In years and years…                                                                                       saal or saalo mey

I see with different eyes                                                                                 ----------------------

----------------------------                                                                         mein alag ankh sey deykhta hoo

I hear with different ears                                                                                -------------------------

---------------------                                                                                              mein alag kaan sey soonta moon

Is it better, or…                                                                                              -------------------------

-----------------                                                                                                   kya yey zyada kharab hay?

------------------                                                                                                  zyada acha hai?

Or is it crueller?                                                                                               --------------------

To be many                                                                                                     zyada

Oh la la. Ohhh lala la.                                                                                     Oh la la. Ohhh lala la.

La la sa la                                                                                                        La la sa la                                                       

Words: black, white, young, old, strong, weak, woman, man                        lafs: kaala, soofeyd, jawan, boorha, bahadoor, kamzor, aurat, admi

Religion or no religion                                                                                    mazmab ya nahi mazhag

Words seem different                                                                                     lafs alag lagtey hain

Emotions seem the same                                                                                 -----------------------

-----------------------------                                                                                    ehsaas ek hee hain

But we are one                                                                                                -------------------

---------------------                                                                                              But we are one

hum sub ek hain                                                                                              hum sub ek hain

 

 

LIKE A MIRROR

 

The two speakers face each other up close, like looking into a mirror. To read the last line, both speakers face out to the audience.

The writing in italics is meant to be translated into the first (or second) language of the second speaker i.e. not English. There is a time line going down the page and phrases on the same line are spoken at the same time. So words at the same height are read at the same time!

 

 

First Speaker                                                                          Second Speaker


 


We haven’t seen each other,                                                                           ----------------------


In years and years…                                                                                       In years and years…

I see with different eyes                                                                                 ----------------------

----------------------------                                                                         I see with different eyes

I hear with different ears                                                                                -------------------------

---------------------                                                                                              I hear with different ears

Is it better, or…                                                                                              -------------------------

-----------------                                                                                                   Is it worse?

------------------                                                                                                  Is it kinder?

Or is it crueller?                                                                                               --------------------

To be many                                                                                                     To be many

Oh la la. Ohhh lala la.                                                                                     Oh la la. Ohhh lala la.

La la sa la                                                                                                        La la sa la                              

Words: black, white, young, old, strong, weak, woman, man                        Words: black, white, young, old, strong, weak, woman, man

Religion or no religion                                                                                    Religion or no religion

Words seem different                                                                                     Words seem different

Emotions seem the same                                                                                 -----------------------

-----------------------------                                                                                    Emotions seem the same

But we are one                                                                                                -------------------

---------------------                                                                                              But we are one

But we are one                                                                                                But we are one.

 

 

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE USED IS             …………………………..                          

                  

 

In years and years

                                     

I see with different eyes

 

I hear with different ears

 

Is it worse?

 

Is it kinder

 

To be many                                                

 

Words: black, white, young, old, strong, weak, woman, man

 

Religion or no religion

 

Words seem different

                                               

Emotions seem the same

                                                         

But we are one.

 

 

 

This was written at one of times when the media was trying to scapegoat the local Muslim community for things they had no part in and did not agree with. As happens a lot. I went to Muslim and non-Muslim bonding events. I also wrote this poem to say that we are all humans together. The poem has words which are a template. The template on its own is given at the end. The template is translated into a non-English language and inserted into the poem. I have done this for Urdu. It can also be done with French, Spanish, Kinyarwanda… Obviously a lot of rehearsal is needed! The poem ends with the English speaker also speaking words from the non-English language.

This poem can be used with any language using the template to get phonetic alternatives. Using phonetics allows it to be performed by anyone. I recommend that anywhere from two to five other languages are used. To show the rich variety in our communities. So, the poem gets performed with English and Urdu, then English and (say) French, then English and (say) Spanish… Please use this poem at events with credit to me as author. No money needed. Just, if you can, post a film of the event on You Tube and tell me about it.

If using four languages you can use the same English speaker for all four variations. Or have a different one for each language. Whichever works for you. If not using actors or poets, I am happy for amateur performers to read the words off the page.

Here is my multi-voice site which can help teach you about how to use multi-voice poetry: https://multivoicepoetry.wordpress.com/

 

Email me if you want any help.

Ashby McGowan

No comments:

Post a comment