Jason (jcreed) wrote,

Nerd alert: esperanto things.

There's a poem I rather like, and it goes

Aliaj lipoj flustros vin
Pri amo kaj fidel';
Aliaj langoj nomos vin
Reĝino kaj anĝel':
Sed eble, dum aŭskultos vi
Penseto trudos sin
Pri l' nuna hor', jam longe for
Kaj vi memoros min.

[Literal translation:]
Other lips may whisper to you
About love and faithfulness
Other tongues may name you
"queen" and "angel"
But possibly, while you listen
A tiny thought will impose itself
Of the present hour, already far distant
And you will remember me

It's not even really the meaning of the words so much as the rhyme and meter and syntactic parallelism that feel so natural and simple and perfect to me. Although, for a verse about being remembered, I realized I didn't know who wrote it. The poem itself just stuck in my brain for years and years, and I couldn't even remember where I'd gotten it from. I'd occasionally look for it on the internet, but never found much useful. I remember there used to be a geocities page whose text, apart from the poem, was in Farsi, so it wasn't much good to me.

But! During my recent exhaustive paper journal indexing slog I came across a reference to it in volume 22 page 79, somewhere in mid-2002, which pinned it down as occurring in J. F. Conroy's "Esperanto por Komencantoj", a book that I'd owned then, but was since lost to a mold infestation in my mom's house.

I checked the NYPL system, and they did have a copy --- in storage. So I waited for it to be delivered, and finally went over today, hoping to finally put to rest the mystery of who wrote it. I went to the desk and told them I had an off-site request I was expecting in today... and was told no, there's nothing that comes up for your library card number, sorry. Tried another library employee and somehow she magically determined that yes, there was something for me, and here you go.

Ok, now, finally, put-to-rest-mystery time, yes? I skim through the 350 pages of the book, (it doesn't have an index, oof) looking for the poem. No good. I find a cheesy translation of "Oh my darlin' Clementine" and of course "La Espero" but no "Aliaj Lipoj".

I go through the whole book more slowly, backwards from the end, still nothing.

Was I confused and/or wrong in 2002 when I said I'd got it from this book? Was it a different edition? Were a pair of pages stuck together?

A third time through the book, slower still, nearly at the end, on page 329, I spot a slightly unusually formatted block of italic text, which somehow my eyes weren't expecting to see. Aliaj lipoj flustros vin... Got you!

And above it, at last, I see a descriptive blurb...

It's a poem Conroy found on page 238 of Montagu C. Butler's "Step by Step in Esperanto"... listed as "Unattributed". D'oh!

And indeed I can even find a pdf of that book and it's sitting there as "section 1068", tute sola, without any explanation or attribution at all.

It seems to appear in a 1926 book "Kantaro Esperanta" also compiled by Butler... so... Idunno. Maybe the dude wrote it himself.

Hmm, NYPL does have a Himnaro Esperanta by Butler from 1921. Could be so fortunate that this is essentially the same book but which changed title during some revision? If not, worldcat tells me the Kantaro exists in the university of chicago library system. Hmmmm I wonder if they have any sort of inter-library loan dealie with the CPL and whether my sisters have a library card...
Tags: esperanto
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