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  Top » Catalog » Pages » Webzine
October 09: Three poems in Cornish by Mick Paynter

The first poem is a translation into Cornish from the Yiddish of Lev Berinski by Mick Paynter followed by the origional poem in Yiddish and a translation into English by Lucinda Schwaiger

Effeyth steryw an Mosk Djuma Djami yn Porth Ewpatoria

Dew dourik, dew dour- hag a dheghow hag a gledh an grommenn,
pan wre’ta dones, Musa Ibn-Yitsak, dhe vora gans an mor;
Dew dour ha portal y’ga mysk- avel darras
dhe’n brastir a dewessenn ha koesow hag ergh,
Dew dour a’th ledyas ynwedh a-dreus an tewlder,
Isa Ibn-Moysche: May sevis an muetsin,
yn ugh ha war’n peul (lachawle! lachawle !)
ha kyni war’n Mor Du dien delhevel,
hag an tour a gledh, may skrijas eostik,
gwithyas tewlder mara pe treghys genes,
edhen mar vuskok,
ha difuna’n chett dregynnus y’n sita Kostentyn
yn dha balas fethus pell dhe ves-
an gwerthor a vydh, Musa Ibn Isa.

Translated into Cornish by Mick Paynter

Der Stereoefekt funem Metshet Dzhuma-Dzhami in Evpatorishn hafn

Tsvey minaretn, tsvey turems – rekhts un links funem kupol,
ven du kumst on, Musa Ibn-Yitskhak, gants fri mitn yam,
tsvey turems un a portal in der mit – vi a toyer
baym kontinent mit zamdn, velder un shney;
Tsvey turems – vos hobn oykh dikh durkhgefirt in der fintster,
Isa Ibn-Moyshe: der rekhter, vu in der heykh
iz geshtanen (lakhavle! lakhavle!) der muedzin
un gehoylt ibern gantsn, minastam, Shvartsn Yam,
un der turem fun links, vu der nakht-shoymer, der solovey,
hot gekvitshet nor vi men shnaydt im,
a histerisher foygl aza,
un dem mazek dervekt in stambul, in dayn vaytn palats inem raykhn –
dem kinftikn negotsyant Musa Ibn-Isa.

Original poem in Yiddish by Lev Berinski


The Stereo-effect of the Mosque Dshuma-Dshami in the harbour at Jewpatoria

Two minarets, two towers – right and left of the dome
when you arrive, Musa Ibn Jitzchak, at dawn with the sea:
two towers and a portal in between – like a gate
to the continent of sand, forests and snow:
Two towers –that led you as well through the darkness,
Isa Ibn-Mojsche. The right, where high up
on the spire (lachawle, lachawle !) the muezzin stood,
and wailed, probably over the whole Black Sea,
and the tower on the left, where the sentinel  of darkness,
the nightingale, squealed as if you had cut him,
such a hysterical bird,
and woke the mischievous brat in Constantinople,
in your far away palace of luxury
the future salesman, Musa Ibn Isa. 

Translated from Yiddish by Lucinda Schwaiger

My yw genys yn kres an mor

Yann Berr Kalloc’h a skrifas bardhonegow brav hag yn Frynkek hag yn y vammyeth bys hag y vernans ev y’n Kleudhyow an Vresil Vras. Yma’n bardhonek ma skrifys yn y rannyeth y honan Gwenedek anedhi yn medhons i hi dhe vos haval es Kernewek. Wel ha my a glywas an geryow ma my a brederis  bos an imaj a vywnans ynni haval an bywnans koth omma, ytho my a’n treylyas yn agan dew yeth ni.Yn sur yth esa ow hlogh vy senys gensi! 
Jean Pierre Calloc’h wrote fine poems both in French and in his Breton mother tongue until his death in the trenches of the Great War. This poem was written in his own Vannes dialect which they say is very much like the Cornish language. Well, when I heard these words I thought that the image of life shown was like the old life here, so I translated it into our own two languages. It certainly rang my bell! 

My yw genys yn kres an mor
teyr lig  yn mes.
Unn dyji gwynn ena a’m beus.
An banal a dyv a-dal y borth,
ha’n annethow oll gans eythyn kudhys,
yn bro an Arvor.

Ow thas vy ‘vel y dasow
esa marner,
a vywas ev ha kudhys ha diskler.
Den trogh, ny gan nagonan y gawsow
par dydh par nos war’n mor medhel.
Ow thas vy ‘vel y dasow
a  ystennas roesow.

Ow mamm ynwedh a oberas
ha gwynn hi blew.
Gensi, hwys war agan talow,
dyskys ov vy, byghannik tra,
mysi ha tenna avelow
dhe waynya bara.

Y knoukas Ankow hag orth an porth,
dh’y dhones abervedh.
Agan prys da gyllys glan yw yn kylgh
a gorflann plyw dhe goska;
hag ynnov vy y kanas na an bardh.
Mernans a gnoukas orth an porth.

A dhydhyow ow flogholeth,
pan yth, digeudh,
gans mamm an erewi dhe resek,
ha gans ow thas orth y byskessa ev,
ple’th esowgh hwi, ple’th esowgh hwi,
dydhyow ow flogholeth. Hweg esowgh hwi.

My yw genys yn kres an mor
teyr lig  yn mes.
Unn dyji gwynn ena a’m beus.
An banal a dyv a-dal y borth,
ha’n annethow oll gans eythyn kudhys
yn bro an Arvor.

Translated into Cornish by Mick Paynter


I was born in the middle of the sea

I was born in the middle of the sea
out three leagues clear.
I have a little cottage there,
the broom do grow about its door,
and the dwellings there all covered by the moor;
in the land of the shore.

My father like his fathers
was a mariner.
Poor man, nobody sang his cause,
by day nor night, upon the subtle sea.
My father like his fathers
stretched out his nets. 

My mother worked as well
although her hair was grey
With her, the sweat upon our brow,
a little thing, I learnt
to pull and pick potatoes,
and win our bread.

Death knocked hard at our door
and came aboard.
Our happy days gone, overturned,
to sleep within the graveyard of the town.
While inside me the bard began to sing.
Death knocked hard on our door.

Oh, childhood days, my childhood days,
I went without a care,
with mother running in the field,
and with my father, fishing on the sea.
Where are you now ? Where are you now ?
My childhood days. You were so fair.

I was born in the middle of the sea,
out three leagues clear.
I have a little cottage there,
the broom do grow about its door,
and the dwellings there
all hidden by the moor,
in the land of the shore.

Translated into English by Mick Paynter


And finally an unpublished poem by Mick Paynter 


A, vaw mar drogh es hirder an jydh,                               
yth yw hi has a wra ragos hireth                                    
pub dydh, rag hirneth floghel an gortos,                          
ha'n studh gorfennys pan dheu ev ha bos.    


Oh, boy, wretched as long is the day
it is its misery that makes you long alway
each day, and through all the childish ages wait
for when it comes that yet imperfect state.


> See details of Nothing Broken: Recent Poetry in Cornish

Best Sellers
01.From Bow to Biennale
02.Cornwalls First Golden Age
03.The Old Red Tongue
05.Grains of Gold
06.Celebrating Pevsner
07.Surfing Tommies
08.The Way Back
09.Scoot Dances
10.Star in a Night Sky
Forthcoming Books
Featured Books
Regular Cornish language classes with Mick Paynter.

London. The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Gallery permanent exhibition of women in medicine.

First Sunday of every month, Redruth. Shout with the Red River singers.

Second Wednesday of every month, Luxulyan. Prys Ton – Cornish Music Session.

Until 6 January 2018, Southend. Exhibition – From Mile End to Mayfair: The East London Group & their contemporaries.

until 17 December 2017, Bow, London. Exhibition – The Working Artist: The East London Group.

20 October 2017, Penryn, Cornwall. Cornish songs from the Red River Singers at the National Dialect Festival 2017.

20–22 October 2017, Penryn, Cornwall. National Dialect Festival 2017.

25 October 2017, Bangor Universoty. Cyflwyno The Old Red Tongue / Introducing The Old Red Tongue.

2 November 2017, St Columb Major, Cornwall. Hark! A talk about Cornish carols by Sally Burley and Hilary Coleman.

9 November 2017, Bodmin, Cornwall. Talk by Paul Holden on the architect Richard Coad.

16 November 2017, Liskeard, Cornwall. Paul Holden gives the Inaugural George Vaughan-Ellis RIBA Memorial Lecture.

26 November 2017, Heartlands, Cornwall. Red River Singers at the Weekend Market.

29 November 2017, London. Paul Holden talk on Princes to Paupers: portraiture in the Lanhydrock photographic collection.

14 December 2017, Bodmin, Cornwall. Shout at Picrous Night.

22 December 2017, St Day, Cornwall. Carols with the red River Singers and the Carharrack & St Day Silver Band.

24 December 2017, Tregajorran, Cornwall. Christmas Eve carols in the Square.

29 November 2017, London. Paul Holden talk on “Estate Mapping at its Finest”: the Lanhydrock Atlas, 1696.