Iz (Trace/Tracks)

Iz was a poem we had to memorise at Uyghur school. I distinctly remember performing it with another student at a Nowruz event. It’s a straight forward yet complicated poem, with some great wordplay that goes beyond my understanding of the language. It gained new meaning in this essay I’ve mentioned before on this blog. In it, there is a translation which I have mixed feelings about (starting with the original):


By Abdurehim Otkur

Yash iduq mushkul seperge atlinip mangghanda biz,
Emdi atqa mingidek bolup qaldi ene nevrimiz.

Az iduq mushkul seperge atlinip chiqanda biz,
Emdi chong karvan atalduq, qaldurup chollerde iz.

Qaldi iz choller ara, gayi davanlarda yene,
Qaldi ni-ni arslanlar deshit cholde qevrisiz.

Qevrisiz qaldi dimeng yulghun qizarghan dalida,
Gul-chichekke pukinur tangna baharda qevrimiz.

Qaldi iz, qaldi menzil, qaldi yiraqta hemmisi,
chiqsa boran, kochse qumlar, hem komulmes izimiz.

Tohtimas karvan yolida gerche atlar bek oruq,
Tapqus hichbolmisa, bu izni bizning nevrimiz, ya chevrimiz.



Translated by T. Abdurazak, S. Saydahmat

We were young when we started our journey,
Now our grand-children are able to ride on horses.

We were very few when started our journey,
Now we’re advancing and left traces on the desert.

Our traces are in the deserts and in the valleys,
There are many heroes buried in the desert with no grave.

Don’t say they were left without graves,
Their graves covered with flowers in the Spring.

Left the crowd, left the scene, they are all faraway,
Wind blows, sand moves, yet our trace never disappears.

The caravan never stops even our horses become thin,
Our grand-children or great-grand-children will one day find those traces.


And now I found another translation which I think captures more of the poetic essence of it (although I don’t think you could ever translate this poem perfectly). I’ve transcribed it from this Facebook video. He seems to translate “Iz” as “Tracks”.


Translated by Michael from Atlan

Young we were when we set out on our great journey
Now our grandchildren have taken up the reigns

Few we were when we set off on our tiresome way
Now we, a caravan, leave tracks in the wilderness

Left were our tracks in the wilderness, even upon the peaks of mountains
Left were our heroes unburied in the dry desert

Yet they were not left unburied where the tamarisks grow red
They lie in tombs of blossoms and flowers of spring

Our tracks remain, our legacy remains, everything remains at a distance
And though the wind may blow, the sands shift, our tracks will never fade

Though our horses waste away, ceaselessly, our caravan presses on
In the end we leave these tracks for our progeny one day to find


…I’m not going to attempt this poem until I know Uyghurche better. Enjoy!



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