Multilingual Poetry Recital International Mother Language Week. February 19-21, 2020

The Many Shades of Love


A Filipino Love Poem. Read by Zephira Zithri Guimbatan (Sophomore, Engineering)

Poem in Tagalog

Mahal kita. Ano? Parang sinasabi ko lang yan? Ikaw talaga. Sobrang dagdag. Okay, well… Mahal ko yung boses mo. Makinis. Malambot. Maaari kong pakingan yang boses mo sa buong araw. Mahal ko yung kamay mo. Malikhaing. Mapamaraan. Walang limitasyon sa magagawa ng kamay mo. Ginawa kang lumikha. Sa totoo lang.

Mahal ko yung utak mo. Alam mo, ang daming problema talagang nagkaroon dahil sa mga isip mo. Minsan nag aaway tayo dahil sa wala lang. Pero napakatalino mo. Kaya m’ong tignan sa labas ng kahon. Walang tigil sa mga isip at pag-aaralin mo.

At saka. Mahal na mahal ko yung puso mo. Ang daming nararamdaman. Minsan nasasaktan. Pero ang sweet, masintahin, mapagmahal. Hindi mo ako sasaktahin. Pakiramdam ko. Alam ko na mahal mo din ako. So alam mo na. Sana maniwala ka saakin. Makinig ka saakin: Mahal kita. Miss na kita. Hangang sa muli.

English Translation

I love you. What? You think I’m just saying that? I can’t believe you. You’re extra. Okay, well… I love your voice. Smooth. Soft. I could listen to your voice all day... I love your hands. Creative. Resourceful. There’s no limit to what your hands can do. You were made to create. Really... I love your mind. You know, there were a lot of problems that started because of your thoughts. Sometimes we would fight over nothing. But you’re so smart. You can see outside of the box. There’s no stopping your thinking and learning. Furthermore, I really love your heart. It feels so much. Sometimes it hurts. But it’s so sweet, passionate, loving... You won’t hurt me. I feel it. I know it. You love me too... So now you know. I wish you would believe me. Listen to me: I love you. I miss you. See you soon.


Because You Loved Me (by Maria Polydouri). Read by Evangeline Kravaris (Senior, Psychology)

Poem in Greek

Γιατί μ' αγάπησες

Δεν τραγουδώ παρά γιατί μ’ αγάπησες στα περασμένα χρόνια. Και σε ήλιο, σε καλοκαιριού προμάντεμα και σε βροχή, σε χιόνια, δεν τραγουδώ παρά γιατί μ’ αγάπησες.

Μόνο γιατί με κράτησες στα χέρια σου μια νύχτα και με φίλησες στο στόμα, μόνο γι’ αυτό είμαι ωραία σαν κρίνο ολάνοιχτο κ’ έχω ένα ρίγος στην ψυχή μου ακόμα, μόνο γιατί με κράτησες στα χέρια σου.

Μόνο γιατί τα μάτια σου με κύτταξαν με την ψυχή στο βλέμμα, περήφανα στολίστηκα το υπέρτατο της ύπαρξής μου στέμμα, μόνο γιατί τα μάτια σου με κύτταξαν.

Μόνο γιατί όπως πέρναα με καμάρωσες και στη ματιά σου να περνάη είδα τη λυγερή σκιά μου, ως όνειρο να παίζει, να πονάη, μόνο γιατί όπως πέρναα με καμάρωσες.

Γιατί δισταχτικά σα να με φώναξες και μου άπλωσες τα χέρια κ’ είχες μέσα στα μάτια σου το θάμπωμα - μια αγάπη πλέρια, γιατί δισταχτικά σα να με φώναξες.

Γιατί, μόνο γιατί σε σέναν άρεσε γι’ αυτό έμεινεν ωραίο το πέρασμά μου. Σα να μ’ ακολουθούσες όπου πήγαινα, σα να περνούσες κάπου εκεί σιμά μου.

Γιατί, μόνο γιατί σε σέναν άρεσε. Μόνο γιατί μ’ αγάπησες γεννήθηκα, γι’ αυτό η ζωή μου εδόθη. Στην άχαρη ζωή την ανεκπλήρωτη μένα η ζωή πληρώθη.

Μόνο γιατί μ’ αγάπησες γεννήθηκα. Μονάχα για τη διαλεχτήν αγάπη σου μου χάρισε η αυγή ρόδα στα χέρια. Για να φωτίσω μια στιγμή το δρόμο σου μου γέμισε τα μάτια η νύχτα αστέρια, μονάχα για τη διαλεχτήν αγάπη σου.

Μονάχα γιατί τόσο ωραία μ’ αγάπησες έζησα, να πληθαίνω τα ονείρατά σου, ωραίε που βασίλεψες κ’ έτσι γλυκά πεθαίνω μονάχα γιατί τόσο ωραία μ’ αγάπησες.

English Translation

I only sing because you loved me in the past years. And in sun, in summer’s prediction and in rain and snow. I only sing because you loved me. Only because you held me in your arms one night and you kissed my lips. Only for this I’m beautiful as a wide open lily and I still have shivers in my soul. Only because you held me in your arms. Only because your eyes looked at me with your soul in your glance. Proudly I wore the supreme crown of my existence. Only because your eyes looked at me. Only because as I was passing you and you noticed me and in your glance I saw my lissome shadow as a dream to play, to suffer. Only because as I was passing you, you noticed me. Because you called me shyly and you reached for my hand and you had in your eyes the blurring of a complete love. Because you called me shyly. Because, you liked me; that’s why I remained beautiful. It was like you were following me where I was, as if you were passing somewhere close to me. Because you liked me. I was born only because you loved me, my life was given by your love. My graceless, unfulfilled life was fulfilled. I was born. Only because you loved me. Only because your unique love gave roses to my hands. I lit for a moment, the night filled my eyes with stars, only because of your unique love. Only because you loved me so well I lived in order to fulfill your dreams, beautiful man. I sweetly die only because you loved me so well.


Loa, Loa, a Basque Poem. Read by Dr. Irene Moyna (Professor, Department of Hispanic Studies)

Poem in Basque

Loa loa txuntxurun berde. Loa loa masusta. Aita gurea Gazteizen da. Ama mandoan hartuta. Aita gurea Gazteizen da. Ama mandoan hartuta. Loa loa txuntxurun berde. Loa loa masusta.

English Translation

Sleep, sleep, txuntxurun berde. Sleep, sleep, blackberry. Our father's gone to Vitoria, carrying mother on his mule. Our father's gone to Vitoria, carrying mother on his mule. Our father has much money, For he sold mother on the way.


A Russian Poem (By Marina Tsvetaeva). Read by Anna Timchenko (Doctoral student, Civil Engineering)

Poem in Russian

Мне нравится, что Вы больны не мной, Мне нравится, что я больна не Вами, Что никогда тяжелый шар земной Не уплывет под нашими ногами. Мне нравится, что можно быть смешной Распущенной-и не играть словами, И не краснеть удушливой волной, Слегка соприкоснувшись рукавами.

Мне нравится еще, что Вы при мне Спокойно обнимаете другую, Не прочите мне в адовом огне Гореть за то, что я не Вас целую. Что имя нежное мое, мой нежный, не Упоминаете ни днем ни ночью — всуе... Что никогда в церковной тишине Не пропоют над нами: аллилуйя!

Спасибо Вам и сердцем и рукой За то, что Вы меня — не зная сами! — Так любите: за мой ночной покой, За редкость встреч закатными часами, За наши не-гулянья под луной, За солнце не у нас на головами, За то, что Вы больны — увы! — не мной, За то, что я больна — увы! — не Вами.

English Translation

I like that you're not lovesick with me. I like that I'm not lovesick with you. That the heavy globe of earth will never float away from under our feet. I like that it's okay for me to be funny - unruly - and not play with words. And not blush in a suffocating wave, if our sleeves accidentally touch. I also like the way you, right in front of me, easily embrace another. And don’t condemn me to burn In the fire of hell, because I'm not kissing you. That you, my sweet, don't take my sweet name in vain, neither by day, nor by night... That never in the stillness of a church will the wedding choir sing “Hallelujah!” over us. I thank you with my heart and hand for the fact that you – not even knowing it! - love me so. For my peaceful nights, for the scarcity of our encounters in the sunset hours, for our nonexistent walks under the moonlight, for the sun not shining down upon our heads, for you being lovesick - alas! - not with me, for me being lovesick - alas! - not with you!

Information on the poem: This poem is dedicated to Mavriky Mints (1886-1917), an engineer from Poland, educated in European universities, who, very shortly after the poem was written, became the husband of Marina Tsvetaeva’s sister Anastasia. The poem, both metered (iambic pentameter) and rhymed, is untitled in the original.


His Shadow on the Sidewalk (By Norberto Ángel De Líbano Elorrieta). Read by Dr. Gabriela C. Zapata (Associate Professor, Department of Hispanic Studies)

Poem in Lunfardo

Su sombra en la vereda

Con el funyi negro tapando su mirada, iba el guapo taconeando en la vereda. Monograma en el lengue de buena seda y un ambo de primera lo empilchaba;

Los fanguyos brillaban como espadas, su elegancia se mostraba de primera. Una papusa lo tenía en la ganchera y en el pecho el corazón le palpitaba;

Se acercó a un farol que se hamacaba. porque la cita fue ahí por vez primera. Y apoyando su espalda en una ochava, encendió un cigarrillo por la espera. Haciéndole el aguante a la garaba se fue alargando su sombra en la vereda.-

English Translation

With his hat covering his eyes, the man was walking along the sidewalk. Everyone could hear the sound of his heels. Everyone could see the monogram in his silk scarf, his impecable suit, and his shoes, shining like metal shields. His elegance could not be ignored. A woman had trapped him in a heart-throbbing clandestine romance... He got close to the dancing street lamp where they had had their first date. He leaned against a wall, lit a cigarette, and waited for her. His shadow kept creeping over the sidewalk.

Source: Poem published in the blog Poesía, available at http://poesia.fullblog.com.ar/su-sombra-en-la-vereda.html.

Information on lunfardo: "Lunfardo (from the Italian lumbardo or inhabitant of Lombardy in the local dialect) is an argot originated and developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the lower classes in Buenos Aires and from there spread to other cities nearby, such as the surrounding area Greater Buenos Aires, Rosario and Montevideo. Originally, Lunfardo was a slang used by criminals and soon by other people of the lower and lower-middle classes. Later, many of its words and phrases were introduced in the vernacular and disseminated in the Spanish of Argentina, and Uruguay. Nevertheless, since the early 20th century, Lunfardo has spread among all social strata and classes by habitual use or because it was common in the lyrics of tango." (Text from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA, available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunfardo)


You Are the April of This World, Ode to Love (By Lin Huiyin). Read by Mian Qin (Doctoral Student, Computer Engineering)

Poem in Chinese










那轻 那娉婷



你是天真 庄严 你是夜夜的月圆






是燕 在梁间呢喃

你是爱 是暖 是希望


English Translation

I think you are the April of this world. Sure, you are the April of this world. Your laughter has lit up all the wind, so gently mingling with the spring. You are the clouds in early spring the dusk wind blows up and down. And the stars blink now and then. Fine rain drops down amid the flowers. So gentle and graceful. You are crowned with garlands. So sublime and innocent. You are a full moon over each evening. The snow melts, with that light yellow. You look like the first budding green. You are the soft joy of white lotus, rising up in your fancy dreamland. You are the blooming flowers over the trees. You are a swallow twittering between the beams. Full of love, full of warm hope. You are the spring of this world.

Information on the poet and poem: Lin Huiyin (Chinese: 林徽因, born 林徽音; pinyin: Lín Huīyīn; known as Phyllis Lin or Lin Whei-yin when in the United States; 10 June 1904 – 1 April 1955) was a Chinese architect and architectural historian. She is known to be the first female architect in modern China and her husband the famed "Father of Modern Chinese Architecture" Liang Sicheng, both of whom worked as founders and faculty in the newly formed Architecture Department of Northeastern University in 1928 and, after 1949, as professors in Tsinghua University in Beijing. Liang and Lin began restoration work on cultural heritage sites of China in the post-imperial Republican Era of China; a passion which she would pursue to the end of her life. You Are the April of This World is one of her famous modern Chinese poems. Possibly inspired by the passing of her friend/lover--the well-known Chinese romantic poet Xu Zhimo, who died of an air crash. (Text from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA, available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lin_Huiyin)

Old English

The Wife's Lament, an Old English Poem. Read by Dr. Britt Mize (Associate Professor, Department of English)

Poem in Old English

Ic þis giedd wrece bī mē ful gēomorre, mīnre sylfre sīð. Ic þæt secgan mæg, hwæt ic yrmþa gebād, siþþan ic ūp āwēox, nīwes oþþe ealdes, nō mā þonne nū. Ā ic wite wonn mīnra wræcsīþa. ⁠

Ǣrest mīn hlāford gewāt heonan of lēodum ofer ȳþa gelāc; hæfde ic ūhtceare hwǣr mīn lēodfruma londes wǣre. Ðā ic mē fēran gewāt folgað sēcan, winelēas wræcca, for mīnre wēaþearfe. ⁠ Ongunnon þæt þæs monnes māgas hycgan þurh dyrne geþōht, þæt hȳ tōdǣlden unc, þæt wit gewīdost in woruldrīce lifdon lāðlicost, ond mec longade. Hēt mec hlāford mīn herheard niman, ⁠āhte ic lēofra lȳt on þissum londstede, holdra frēonda. Forþon is mīn hyge gēomor. Ðā ic mē ful gemæcne monnan funde, heardsǣligne, hygegēomorne,mōd mīþendne, morþor hycgendne blīþe gebǣro. Ful oft wit bēotedan þæt unc ne gedǣlde nemne dēað āna ōwiht elles; eft is þæt onhworfen, is nū swa hit nǣfre wǣre frēondscipe uncer. Sceal ic feor ge nēah ⁠mīnes felalēofan fǣhðu drēogan.

Heht mec mon wunian on wuda bearwe, under āctrēo in þām eorðscræfe. Eald is þes eorðsele, eal ic eom oflongad, sindon dena dimme, dūna ūphēa, ⁠bitre burgtūnas, brērum beweaxne, wīc wynna lēas. Ful oft mec hēr wrāþe begeat fromsīþ frēan. Frȳnd sind on eorþan, lēofe lifgende, leger weardiað, þonne ic on uhtan āna gonge under āctrēo geond þās eorðscrafu. Þǣr ic sittan mōt sumorlangne dæg, þǣr ic wēpan mæg mīne wræcsīþas, earfoþa fela; forþon ic ǣfre ne mæg þǣre mōdceare mīnre gerestan, ⁠ne ealles þæs longaþes þe mec on þissum līfe begeat.

Ā scyle geong mon wesan gēomormōd, heard heortan geþōht, swylce habban sceal blīþe gebǣro, ēac þon brēostceare, sinsorgna gedreag. Sȳ æt him sylfum gelong ⁠eal his worulde wyn, sȳ ful wīde fāh feorres folclondes, þæt mīn frēond siteð under stānhliþe storme behrīmed, wine wērigmōd, wætre beflōwen on drēorsele, drēogeð se mīn wine ⁠micle mōdceare; hē gemon tō oft wynlicran wīc. Wā bið þām þe sceal of langoþe lēofes ābīdan.

English Translation

I wrack this riddle about myself full miserable, my very own experience. I can speak it—what I endured in misery, after I was grown, both new and old, none greater than now. Always I suffered the torment of my wracked ways. (ll. 1-5)

My lord departed at first, from his tribe here over the tossing of waves—I watched a sorrow at dawn wondering where in these lands my chieftain might be. Then I departed myself to venture, seeking his followers, a friendless wayfarer out of woeful need. (ll. 6-10)

They insinuated, the kinsmen of that man, by secret thought, to separate us two so that we two, widest apart in the worldly realm, should live most hatefully—and it harrowed me. (ll. 11-14)

My lord ordered me to take this grove for a home—very few dear to me in this land, almost no loyal friends. (ll. 15-17a)

Therefore my mind so miserable—than I met a well-suited man for myself so misfortunate and mind-sorrowing, thought kept close, plotting a crime. (17b-20)

Keeping cheery, we vowed quite often that none but death could separate us. (21-23a)

That soon changed… it’s now as if it had never been—our friendship. I must, far and near, endure the feuding of my dearly beloved. (ll. 23b-26)

My husband ordered me anchored in a woody grove, under an oak-tree within this earthen cave. Ancient is the earth-hall: I am entirely longing— (27-29)

Dark are the valleys, the mountains so lofty, bitter these hovels, overgrown with thorns. Shelters without joy. So many times here the disappearance of my husband seizes me with a stewing. (ll. 30-33a)

All my friends dwell in the dirt, I loved them while they lived, now guarding their graves, when I go forth alone in the darkness of daybreak under the oak-tree outside this hollowed earth. (ll. 33b-36)

There I may sit a summer-long day, where I can weep for my exiled path, my many miseries—therefore I can never rest from these my mind’s sorrowings, not from all these longings that seize me in my living. (ll. 37-41)

A young man must always be sad at heart, hard in the thoughts inside, also he must keep a happy bearing—but also breast-cares, suffering never-ending grief— (ll. 42-45a)

May he depend only upon himself for all his worldly pleasures. May he be stained with guilt far and wide, throughout the lands of distant folk, so that my once-friend should sit under the stony cliffs, rimed by storms, my weary-minded ally, flowed around by waters in his dreary hall. (ll. 42-50a)

My former companion may know a great mind-sorrow— remembering too often his joyful home. (ll. 50b-52a)

Woe be to that one who must wait for their beloved with longing. (ll. 52b-53)

Source: The Anglo-Saxon Narrative Poetry Project, available at https://anglosaxonpoetry.camden.rutgers.edu/the-wifes-lament/

Information on the poem: "The Wife's Lament" or "The Wife's Complaint" is an Old English poem of 53 lines found in the Exeter Book and generally treated as an elegy in the manner of the German frauenlied, or woman's song. The poem has been relatively well-preserved and requires few if any emendations to enable an initial reading. Thematically, the poem is primarily concerned with the evocation of the grief of the female speaker and with the representation of her state of despair. The tribulations she suffers leading to her state of lamentation, however, are cryptically described and have been subject to many interpretations. Indeed, Professor Stephen Ramsay has said, "the 'correct' interpretation of "The Wife's Lament" is one of the more hotly debated subjects in medieval studies." (Text from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA, available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wife%27s_Lament.)

Created By
Gabriela C. Zapata


Created with images by Thought Catalog - "A beautiful poem about letting go and allowing yourself to fall into your lover’s arms by Janne Robinson. Excerpted from her poetry collection “This Is For The Women Who Don’t Give A F#CK” published by Thought Catalog Books | ShopCatalog.com." • JR Korpa - "Temple Okthacrome-1" • JR Korpa - "Pinkhrome-1" • JR Korpa - "PolarKhrome-6" • JR Korpa - "The last sun" • JR Korpa - "Inverse Flowers Color" • JR Korpa - "Medusa was here I" Lunfardo photo: Public Domain