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Monday, 16 September 2013

A poem about a Locomotive and Circle of Moms Competition

In her latest post for the Multicultural Kids Blog, Varya talks about translating children's rhymes and poems into other languages. I do it sometimes. Varya's post has inspired me to write my post- and it is extremely timely, too!

Julian Tuwim is one of the most famous Polish author of children's poems. I mention him for several reasons. One is because he was Jewish in a rather antisemitic Polish society. Like many expats and TCK's, he was ostracized by Polish (for being too Jewish) and by Jews (for being too Polish). 

Nowadays, he became one of the most influential poets, writing poems for both adulst and children. On Friday 13th this year, he would have been 119 years old, and this occasion was celebrated greatly in Poland. His sister Irena was a translator, and is responsible for rendering "Winnie the Pooh" into Polish.
You can read about Julian Tuwim here.

The second reason is that the poem I have in mind for you is just brilliant- not only because of its rhythm, but the translation is a masterwork. It really is.

"The Locomotive", or as it is known in Polish: "Lokomotywa", was written in 1938 but parents still read it to their children. I know it by heart and say it whenever we take the train to go somewhere. Little children will surely enjoy the rhythm. For older children, it si a great explanation of how a locomotive actually works (although modern trains are quite different).

The great thing is that "Lokomotywa" has been translated into multiple languages: English, German, French, Russian, Italian, Dutch and even Yiddish!

I found a great translation into English- please take a moment to read it here! I even wanted to paste the whole translation here, but I'd rather not for fear of copy right infridgement.

And here it is in English- it's not perfect, but I hope you'll get the idea of how the poem works.

And, here's Portuguese!

And finally, I have a request! I am participating in this Circle of Moms contest: 25 Top European Blogs! You can vote once a day till October 4th- I would appreciate your votes! It is very simple, just click on this button and click vote! Thank you so much!

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  1. What a wonderful post! The poem seems so familiar and so does the name of the author. I might have read it not once in Russian!
    I really enjoyed listening to the poem in different languages!!!

    1. Thank you, Varya! Tuwim may sound familiar to you because Tuwim also spoke Russian, and he also shared his hilarious struggles with translating Pushkin into Polish!


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