Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Malak na Puti'on Tåsi--Dedicated to those lost at sea, again

A few days after I offered up my mistake-riddled "Reinen I Langet, I Piti'on Tåsi," I realized that my favorite Chamoru hymn (and the only one I know gi kirason-hu) used metaphors of the ocean. I initially heard it at the first funeral I ever attended on island as an adult--for someone else who the sea took too soon, a fisherman.

It seems strange to me, upon reflection, that all of the Chamorus I know, myself included, automatically ask for permission when visiting the jungle--but do nothing similar when going in the water. Perhaps I haven't been here long enough or been around the right people (those people who bleed saltwater, they're there so much) to learn the proper way, or perhaps it's the guellas yan guellos who prefer the land, or perhaps we've taken our relationship with the sea for granted. Either way(s), it seems a shame to neither approach nature with humility nor awe.



Ma'lak na puti'on tåsi chachalåni i batko-ku
Radiant star of the sea, guide my boat
su'on mo'na gi tano'-hu u fåtto lalakse
[That] smoothly propels towards my land
Li'e' guini Maria i piligru na senlåhyan
Behold here Maria the numerous perils
Ya un tailaye i sahyan yanggen ti un gigiha.
And a cruel table if you do not lead the way.

Ma'lak na puti'on tåsi chachalåni i batko-ku
Radiant star of the sea, guide my boat
su'on mo'na gi tano-hu u fåtto lalakse
[That] smoothly propels towards my land
I ma'udai na taotao ha fa'poposgue i tasi
[Håfa kumekilek-ña i fino' Inglis, håfa i sihetu--i taotao pat i batko pat i piti'on tåsi?]
The boater leaves the sea
Yan i nanan mina'åse' chumochoma' i chaochao.
And most holy mother forbade rough waters.

Ma'lak na puti'on tåsi chachalåni i batko-ku
su'on mo'na gi tano'-hu ya u fåtto lalakse.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reinan I Langet, I Piti'on Tasi--Dedicated to those lost at sea

(Icon by Liliana Dumitru. You can also find her work here.)

The sea took two away.

I can't find any Chamoru prayers online dedicated to those who the ocean decided to claim. Perhaps because Santa Maria Kamalen is
the patron saint of Guåhan, no one prays to St. Brendan (Irish apostle who saw a giant sea monster) or St. Nicholas (yes, the Greek bishop on whom Santa Claus is based doubles as the patron of fishermen and prostitutes) for the specific purpose of protecting those who make their lives gi tasi.

But it turns out that
Stella Maris, or Our Lady, Star of the Sea, is the patroness for Catholic missions devoted to seafaring. Given the island's veneration of the Virgin, it would seem altogether appropriate--and culturally reassuring, no matter what one's spiritual persuasion may be--that some incarnation of Our Lady extends from the sandy floors to the waves on the reef.

And while I normally detest the metaphors associated with death, in this one hymn I do find some solace in the idea of "life's surge" (which I clumsily translated as "napun lina'la'"). My only hope is that the grieving families can, in time, find peace in theirs.

Translation of "Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star"

Abe, reinan i langet, i piti'on tåsi,
Chachalenen i lina'on gi papa',
I napun lina'la' ha matmos ham,
Na'såfu ham ginen i piligru yan i triniste.

Nanan si Jesus, i piti'on tåsi,
Tayuyuti i lina'on, tayuyuti para guahu.

I Bithen benikno yan sensiyu,
Manisao ham, ta fanaitai para hågu,
Na'håsso iyo-mu Lahi ni apåsi
I presiu iyo-ta isao.

Sen pura i Bithen, i piti'on tåsi,
Tayuyuti i inisao, tayuyuti para guahu.

Yan Guiya na gaige gui' i langet,
Una na Yu'os, tres na taotao,
Humale' i lina'la', i grasia, i guinaiya,
Mandimu ham para hågu.

Sen ma'lak reina, i piti'on tåsi,
Tayuyuti para i famaguon-mu, tayuyuti para guahu.