Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Guinaiya Taifinakpo'

Several years ago this poem was used in the Inacha'igen Fino' CHamoru at the University of Guam as part of the poetry recitation category. This is a Middle School category where students have to memorize and then recite a poem written in the Chamorro language. I was honored that year when the other Chamorro teachers, who were and continue to be far more versed than I am in the Chamorro language, asked me if I would be so kind as to submit something. I had written this poem years earlier, while I was in grad school and working my way through a few books by Indian poets and authors such as Rabindranath Tagore.

At that point I was fluent in Chamorro, but constantly feeling alone in the language as I was staying in San Diego and couldn't always make it out to the Guam Club in National City for the senior lunches or the nobenas. During that period I ended up translating hundreds of poems and songs, some of which you can find archived on this blog, in an effort to keep my mind fresh and fluid in terms of Chamorro ability.

This is one such poem, and it remains one of my favorite poems from that era.

When it was used as part of the Inacha'igen, most students found it too abstract or long to memorize. I felt sorry for them, although that was the intent of the poem when it was first written, to try to take Chamorro to that level where it is writing in the stars and creating universes of meaning. A few students really loved the poem and the depth of its imagery. One of them came up to me after the category was finished and told me that because of this poem they wanted to get married in the Chamorro language, because love sounded pretty cool in Chamorro.

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“Guinaiya Taifinakpo’”
(After Rabindranath Tagore)

Kulang hu guaiya hao gi ti tufung’on na manera yan biåhi
Gi lina’la’ despues di lina’la’
Gi hinasso despues di hinasso
Gi guinife despues di guinife
Taifinakpo’

It is as if I have loved you in countless ways and moments
In life after life
In memory after memory
In dream after dream
Without end

I makahñåyi na korason-hu
Mafa’tinas yan mafa’tinas ta’lo
Gi un alahås kånta
Ni’ un u’usa gi i aga’ga’-mu
Gi lina’la’ despues di lina’la’
Gi hinasso despues di hinasso
Gi guinife despues di guinife

My bewitched heart
Is made and remade
In the necklace of songs
That you wear around your neck

Kada nai masangåni yu’ ni’ estoria put i antigu na guinaiya
Mañatmagåhet, nada mås
I piniti yan guinaiya manmafñas gi me’ñå-ta
Ni’ hafa ma sangåni yu’ put i manma’pos yan i manmofo’ña,
Todu ma chalåni yu’ giya Hågu

Each time I am told stories of ancient love
Its not real, nothing more
The pain and the love is faded before us
No matter what I am told about the past and what has come before
All leads me to you

Mafalulon hao ni’ i mina’lak i piti’on
Ya un pugao i hinemhom.
Sumimbulu hao hafa taia’go gi i maloloffan i tiempo
Hita na dos, muma’ya’ mågi gi i saddok ni’ milalak ginnen i be’bo’ ni’ muna’mongmongmong i korason tiempo

You are wrapped in the brightness of the highest star
And you chase away the darkness
You are a symbol of what is changeless in the passing of time
The two of us, float this way on a river from the spring which pushes forward the heart of time

Gumaiya hit chumecho yan un miyon na otro na amåntes
Ta taña’ i parehu na minames put umafakcha’i yan minala’et put umafa’sahnge
Lao ni’ unu lumamlamlam kulang Hita

We have loved beside a million other lovers
We have tasted the same sweetness from meeting and bitterness from separation
But none shines brightly as us

Pues taifinakpo’ yan taiachaigua’ i guinaiyå-ta
Ya tumutugong gui’ mo’ña taima’å’ñao
Gi lina’la’ despues di lina’la’
Gi hinasso despues di hinasso
Gi guinife despues di guinife

Thus without end, without equal is our love
And it charges ahead without fear
In life after life
In memory after memory
In dream after dream

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