The Journal of the Institute for Lexical Ecology (ILE)
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Translexicalia IX
Ionis Astra, a Poldavian court lyric in Ityalian quatrains, by Patrolius, tracing a schizomythology of Norlian lupanar rituals involving stormy auks, rainbow snails, rim pot stop words, and sundry ludicts, is known to us in a singular, partially burnt, calf-bound quasi-incunabulum put out in On c. 1560. An offprint of a livraison à part of On’s Royal Association of Poldavian Scholars’ Philosophical Transactions bruits abroad for public appraisal a photographic simulacrum of P’s surviving gribouillis d’ithos à l’athos along with au courant marginal and facing transcriptions into standard idioms and scripts. Transcription, translation and annotation of coblas 4–6 by Ouida Willoughby Johnson.
Patrolius — Ionis Astra — Fourth Canto
Ionis Astra

Fourth Canto

Nelc pabsl toyvf us lista nines ene olnzi ian ktar
mes subios dragoman soto Rumi noro iso epoalæ
equilibrium sisti ulna lacuna agrippese ad ammine
lupanares sagradu asterlares us Oprah nopo Io od nene
Cunning as a poaching fox is that girl who drinks down straight ktar

And, citing Rumi, can chant a loping, swinging translation

Outdoing (with no pausing, no panting) six pan-piping bards

In this lupanar, oh holy star Io, virgin Ishtar!

In Patrolius’s fourth cobla — that flaming ruby among tawny topaz, that glabrous opal among scabrous onyx (Nilo fluvio, in cujus litoribus gignitur) — you’ll find out just how much that author of tautly ravishing stanzas was willing to risk so as to broach Norlia’s most hazardous approach. For it was not just that luck, having bound its ambassador to an origin in a mountainous land historically spanning from Pontic coast to Caspian, had thrust into his hand, thus, what was not your typical dragoman’s toolkit, consisting as it did of idiomatic Poldavian’s notoriously difficult grammar — crampons wrought from its 53 consonants; pitons cast from its 11 syllabic fulcra (what Poldavian grammarians call vocalic marrow); slings and cords wrung and spun from its 6 pitch tonics; grappling hooks built from its 14 modal moods marking (typically with an affix or two) distinct grammatical functions involving location, ablation (brought about by ablaut), allation, illation (thrust into a word’s groin with an infixival sting), sublation (spat out by syllabic duplication in association with a glottalic consonant or adjunction of vocal fry), prolation, comitation or association, privation (notions hinging upon loss or lack or having to go without), translation (a carrying across), partition of a part or quantity out of a group or amount, distribution (spilt across a discontiguous chain of anaphoric clitics), comparison, vialis, and nominal (a grammatical function common to many idioms that marks nouns and pronouns as logical actors in phrasal units) — but also that gallant Babur had graciously shown him half a quintal of loquacious ruth by putting his way, by shutting in his room, a stunning houri, Nirusa. You should now cast your mind back to our third cobla (Johnson 1999) for, notwithstanding my knack for nagging my author’s background with bourbon-bought claws, for harassing his royal bastions (Patrolius was a not so distant cousin of Poldavia’s King Kurmansgoï) with a sort of hypnotic coming and going of my rum-rung randy rowdy rooks, Nirusa’s singular contribution to Patrolius’s fluid transmutation of a knotty narration of Norlian customs into limpid Ityalian quatrains by way of provisional transcriptions in a tachygraphic patois of Pahlavi, Poldavian, Sanskrit, Chagatai, Lydian, and Latin (a small instar of which might run as follows: what I put out as ‘poaching fox’ shows up in P’s jotting as pabsl toyvf, that is, pabulans torvinus vulpus, or ‘grimly foraging fox;’ similarly, his sgoi cri in our third cobla, infra, is not only a pun on his royal kinship, but also an infusion of scio crinitus criticum, or ‘knowing from crown to crotch,’ which bard Dudu and his musical chums aim to accomplish from point to fruit with, soit a plurality of chanting corybants, soit a singularly moaning virgin) found in a calf-bound in-folio manuscript containing Gallo-Frankish variants dating from 1809 and 1813 of parts (long thought lost) of Potocki’s Manuscript found at Saragossa should not, cannot, must not boil down to simply acting as a carnal foil or horizontal support of “inspiration” for a plagiary through and with which any romantically vigorous troubadour could draw from a body as compact and luscious and intriguingly flush with story as Nirusa’s. No. That alluring buxom unstintingly obliging woman’s contribution was, as scurrilous citations in H. van Wacht’s-Dock’s Natural and moral history of Poldavia (1596, Gand: C. Plantin) and Subborainizy’s Book of Distaff Cuttings (Ktar og-Firrsan, c. 1600) avouch and affirm, both dominant and pivotal to this work of collaboration shot through with womaninity known as Ionis Astra.
Patrolius — Ionis Astra — Fifth Canto

Fifth Canto

Et sgoi cri medoi teh larubatu nopo melos e artes
ad Iagip exodus kore ninsrata agrippese este unict
ubriacar nuskalo ecyipsh ripsi nene olnzi ian ktar
tradine oru nopo Atta soto Rumi ad ubriacar
Lust without bounds draws Io’s sons to mouthlush thrall: craft-avid

Girls born at altar’s pivot to birth in turn bards fit for bright

Moon promiscuity of spiral dancing and ktar swilling:

Your Rumi mirrors but dully Atta’s moonmad ritual!

In this ludict, I’ll chart a path from Patrolius’s first cobla, which sings of “craft-avid, mouth-lush young girl[s]” (Johnson 1999) to his fifth, a fulcral part of this “twain of copular song” (as Sagarch Flawndol calls our four-ply play of indagation) that is pivotal, not for its lyrical quality, but its historical worth, for its original composition is glottochronologically synchronous with Sogdianian incursions into Hamiltonia. How do I know? By Rumi (1207—1273), you smirk you shrug you curl your inquisitorial lip. Watch. Upon catching rumor that this unfamiliar Bactrian spiritist from Balkh was lurking in his only houri’s oracular sutras, our author, too, wrung or hung or dug his nails into his dubious brow. “Why,” that Poldavian ambassador to Babur (1483–1530) asks in his Afghan journal (partially burnt, alas, in a conflagration that wrought havoc on On’s National Library), “why would Nirusa’s fifth canto in particular flaunt an off-color allusion to a morcid pium-stung paragandist with nothing to gild his lyrical wings with but an all too orthodox grabbag containing six thousand or so humdrum transpositions into idiomatic Chorasmian of quaint Babylonian saws? I don’t know (non so), but I will find out (ma scoprirò).”. But what, you ask, might “craft-avid” signify? (“Mouth-lush,” you anxiously murmur, is downcomingly forthright.) This wound, this pain, this blood, this joy, this scar, this transformation from “pavid virgin” (canto 1 again) to proud, knowing woman for whom “singular ravishing” and “plural violation” (both from third canto) and “bright-moon promiscuity” (canto 5) stand, not for any trampling-upon sort of dusty humiliation, but for a luscious jubilation of sociophysiological truth. Rhythmic crooning. Positional pulsation. Soft patch of sand on a trail in thick woods. “Swart Atta’s wingbright gift” (back to our first canto). Schizomythic blood nourishing Norlia’s famous orchards of tangy apricot, bursting fig, dark juicy nutty plum, slick mordant tamarind, tart ambrosial citron, viscous plump scrumptiously hollow ktar fruit, and old-growth stands of hardwood. I’m thinking of walnut in particular. Sap in a barknotch of that thick strong trunk from which “this hollow ktar-cup of basswood” (canto 1) is struck. Rain in plow furrows. Plant clay pot within cast-iron sky. Schizomythic blood caught flowing in that basswood grail and drunk hot and throbbing. Schizomythic blood coagulating into that ktar’s (a sort of oud) buzzing triad of soul-stirring strings. From out of his mannal (initiatory hut of masculinity), a ktar-drunk and laughing Dudu darts, holding his turgid syrinx in his right hand, and slips into Atta’s lupan (initiatory hut of womaninity) to frolic around our “altar’s pivot and push” (canto 5). And Atta, too, tipsy and giggling but in no way wishing to avoid what’s bound to occur, darts from lupan to mannal to savor, “with no pausing, no panting, six pan-piping bards” (fourth canto). Fulcral act of schizolinguistic improvisation (“chant a loping, swinging translation,” fourth canto again). Rock hips back and forth in an upwardly spiral liminal invocation of ktar-strings’ “liquid music of wild pitch” (canto two) conflating ktar-syrup’s vibrant intoxication that sings in your brain (as all initiands know) with a ritual incantation’s conjunction: joyous, cordial, uncalculating, guarding-against-nothing, unpaid-for, gratuitous, virtuous, capital, high-class fucking! This is our tradition. Pussy down swallow off.
Patrolius — Ionis Astra — Sixth Canto

Sixth Canto

Iso epo agrippeseæ tre meleses tradine oru
ludict nimloidu unict girtablullu ad exodus subios Oria
Norlia Zersionylladaru mnasiakakœ melos e artes
manna sagradu lacuna dosperu ipsilares non erat es
And vain again that dull mirror to catch sight of holy bard’s

Catoptric birthsong vaunting irid fancy of rainbow snail,

Portal scorpion sting, and wood-strong Norlian huts in which

Ishtar’s hand avidly crafts Oria’s lush lyrical mouth.

And so it was that, upon parting from this Afghan idyll, Patrolius took with him, not just your usual oxcartful of consular loot, but a full yak load’s worth of scribbling on various supports and topics, both courtly and common, out of which holographic morass of skin, pulp, bark, husk, and clay upon his arrival in Poldavia’s capital On (Norno-Ityalian Onra, Intrussyan Ongrad) six months on, Patrolius would, by toil or crash unspun, start to wring out various works of his opus, including not only his famous biography of Babur (On, 1510) put down in prosaic Poldavian, but also his Ionis Astra (c. 1517, known from a manuscript found in a manuscript found at Saragossa, c. 1813, by J. Potocki), a confabulation, or distillation, if you will, of much, but, alas, not all, of what Nirusa da Norlia (b. c. 1492, d. in childbirth 1506) had wrought into his spirit as a smithy might work platinum and gold into an iron dirk’s hilt, transforming an ordinary arm of parry and attack into an inlaid tool of lurid fancy. For Patrolius’s fulcral, or sixth, canto or cobla (along with his last; vid. infra) maps variations on a mythic untwining of a schizomythic umbilicus discharging out of his first, constituting an approximation of a soft thick lap-spill of Nirusa’s black hair humming catoptric birthsong (a notion not lacking for a myriad ways of translation: from mirror-song of birth to mirror-birth of song, from song-mirror of birth to song-birth of mirror, from mirror of song-birth to birth of mirror-song, and so on) with Oria’s full moon of promiscuity, of plural ravishing, illuminating nocturnal group goings-on, and Ishtar’s gibbous moon of monogamous mating, of singular ravishing, gazing down on a bibulous bard’s quick, painful sting, as of a portal scorpion, to wound and scar, to pardon and anoint, a woman’s only sin — that of virginity — whilst rainbow snails crawl from lowlands to high, and all drink that spicy liquor, ktar, from a cassidiform cup cut from ktar-wood, a sort of basswood which is chock full of sosigonic alkaloids (and it is known that, in association, ktar (liquor) and ktar (wood) function, not just as a strong aphrodisiac, but in an antimicrobial, antiviral capacity, and thus it is plain that “wood-strong” is an allusion to both font and sign, to both origin and symptom, of this loin-girding (in man), birth- and abortion-inducing (in woman — that is, if you add a particular amount of scorpion-stung rainbow snail infusion to it) concoction of ktar in ktar — a potion Nirusa would not, by all accounts, shy away from plying Patrolius with) whilst upon that lunular arc of altar (also cut from ktar-wood) found in your typical lupau (Patrolius, tranquilly translating in On from his rough transcriptions put down frantically in Kabul so many autumns and springs prior, hung an n from u’s hook, thus miscasting a prim, traditional Norlian “hut of womaninity” as a sultry Ityalian casita with vulgar Ronish connotations) a woman, in an assisting quorum’s company, communally splays thighs and lifts skirts, both to author a child, and to birth a child: vulva of intromission, vulva of parturition: bard’s inspiration, bard’s production: Dudu’s ktar, too, is cut from ktar-wood, and so too was that broad, smooth quirt-stock which Nirusa, donning a bard’s cap and gown, would on occasion, it is said, apply to a most quizzical part of Patrolius’s anatomy. A glass of rum, first, if you don’t mind, sir.
Copyright © 2000 Translexicalia and the Institute for Lexical Ecology (ILE)