pakala

Ona Li Kama La

ona li kama la mi utala ala e ona.
mi olin e pilin moli.
ona li pilin wawa!
mi pilin e tawa pi telo loje pilin.
ona li jaki e insa mi
la insa li ante li ma pi kasi loje.
ike li telo nasa lete
la kepeken mi li wawa ala.

mi sona ala e ni:
pakala pi ale mi
li pali sin ala pi jan pakala.

jan Lowina li jan pona mi
li pona e mi. oko ona li toki e ni:
“ni li ken lon ala. meli ante
li pilin e ike ni tawa pini.
sina sona ala e ni tan seme?”

[the original:]

At First - Alice Walker

At first I did not fight it.
I /loved/ the suffering.
It was being alive!
I felt my heart pump the blood
that splashed my insides
with red flowers;
I savoured my grief
like chilled wine.

I did not know my life
was being shredded
by an expert.

It was my friend Gloria
who saved me. Whose glance said “Really,
you’ve got to be kidding. Other
women have already done this
sort of suffering for you,
or so I thought.”

[my back-translation:]

When It Came

When it came, I did not fight it.
I loved the feeling of death.
It was the feeling of life!
I could feel the flow of my lifeblood
That sullied my insides,
That made them a place for red flowers.
The canker was a frosted drink
That I rationed.

I did not know
That the destruction of my life
Was not new work for the destroyer.

Lowina, my friend,
Fixed me. Her eyes said:
“This cannot be. Other women
Have felt this grief to its end -
Or had you not heard?”

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