Wrought well is the wall rock, now wrinkled and fallen to fate;
master’s pieces moulder.
Roofs are scrambled on floors, towers have tumbled,
antique frost clings to gaping gates and mortar joints.
Mutilated buildings are torn open, collapsed,
undereaten by antiquity.
The master artists, dead, departed,
have turned to clay in Nature’s hand—
Earth’s grip crafts the crafters.
A hundred generations have since walked
on their graves.
Lichen-grayed and red-stained,
the walls stood strong through
kingdom after kingdom,
storm after storm that collapsed the steep-spread heavens
to wage wars of wind and weather on the rock walls.
of skilled, ancient craft—
The zealous spirits that wove ingenious rings of mail
for resolute warrior bodies also wrought wires
around warrior walls that waged against nature.
The unbroken city must have been resplendent—
brilliant buildings, bathing halls, and steep-reaching gables
were all ears
to the mighty army’s trumpeting revelry
brimming from mead halls.
But fate spares none.
Encompassed with carnage, dealt disease,
the warrior city’s brave men met death.
The city became a battle ground,
then was empty,
Even the restorers perished; the city grew desolate.
Vaulted ceilings shed their red curved tiles,
shattered ruins lay on the ground,
heaps of stone piled in the places where
warriors of old—
filled with joy,
adorned in glittering war-trappings,
flushed with wine—
mirrored their treasure,
that surrounded them.
They were wealth—
a kingdom of glittering riches that glinted
across lands, onto oceans.
Oceans fed rivers.
Rivers streamed into walls, spewing steam in billows
upon glistening chests, breasts.
The streams heated bodies. Passion streams.
Opportunity was convenient – just go
Where men and women turned immobile,
the stream still steamed
hot and easy.
Then ice –
that heat-pulsed ring pool
where the baths were!)
is a fitting thing.
(Every) house. (The) city.
Some notes on this translation:
1. Repetition of rings and war connotations were so apparent to me in the text that I tried to highlight and emphasize them in relation to the city, its inhabitants, and the baths.
2. Instead of the connotation of the “city’s bosom” where the baths were located, I used “bosme” to mean a human chest/breast.
3. I switched the order of fragments in the last eight lines – a fragmented “re,” which I use to mean “then again” actually precedes “is,” which I interpreted as “ice.”
4. No translation that I ran across interpreted “is” as “ice,” but since the fragment is “is,” I decided to capitalize on the dichotomy of hot and cold, the irony of the city and its baths freezing over.
5. Instead of translating the fragment “un” as “until,” I interpreted it as an “undoing” of something, a reverse.
6. I switch from present to past tense in certain instances (i.e. "Feel the grim-ground…") to illuminate the observer/ponderer's connection in the present to the past.
7. I’m including this list just in case there are any simple questions about translation choices that I have straightforward reasons for.