Half and Half (Pilton 2)

Is “A.” for “Archibald“? 

A.k.a. Pelton, Felton, píltən (‘crazy’).

The editor of this frontier-era rhyme dispenses with any translation, signaling that the readership around Olympia mostly understood Chinuk Wawa in 1876.

Today’s doggerel poem rings with much less racial prejudice than Pilton’s first one, just published on my website.

It’s equally a technical accomplishment, managing a prodigious amount of rhyming in Jargon.

half and half pilton



Poor Siwash snuffs the morning air. 
     Chaco siyah copa chuck,      (‘[Which] comes a long way, from the water’)
Just as the beast leaps from his lair 
     Pe clatawa iscum muckamuck.      (‘And goes to get food.’)

He views the landscape far and near, 
     Klosh tumtum copa illahe,      (‘Thinks well of the land’)
Where oft he’s chased the fleet wild deer — 
     Yaka halo tikke elite.     (‘He doesn’t care to be a slave.’)

He sees the mountain’s summit high — 
     Wake clatawa sockalle copa cold —     (‘Doesn’t climb up to the cold’)
And for past dangers heaves a sigh, 
     Elup yaka chaco old.     (‘[They were] before he grew old.’) 

Upon its hooks his rifle rests; 
     Wake tikke alta mamook poo!     (‘[Which] doesn’t want to shoot any more!’)
His leather belt and buckskin vest, 
     Mamook chaco warm, hiyou,     (‘That made [him] warm, [so] often’)

Are hanging by his faithful gun — 
     Wake yaka ipsoot mowitch skin.      (‘He doesn’t hide the buckskin’)
Each day he counts their service done, 
     Copa sitkum sun pe ict tintin.     (‘At an hour past noon.’) 

Farewell old gun, we’re growing old. 
     Musket klosh, clahayum six.      (‘The rifle is good; goodbye friend.’) 
Our tales of pleasures have been told. 
     Wake holoiama, copet ict.     (‘No more, only [this] one.’) 

We’ll leave these haunts to younger sports, 
     Clatawa siyah copa stick,     (‘[Who] go far into the forest,’)
And hunt a quiet, cool resort, 
     Elup nika chaco sick.     (‘Before I get sick.’) 

Sochalie Ty-hee, nanitch nika;     (‘Creator, see me;’)
     Alke nika mimaloose     (‘I’m going to die’)
Lolo tumtum copa nika,     (‘Take thought of me’)
     Pe potlatch klimmin seahpoose.     (‘And give [me] a soft cap.’) 

— from the Olympia (Washington Territory) Washington Standard of August 5, 1876, page 2, column 4

More details about the Chinook Jargon portions:

…Chaco siyah copa chuck,
cháku sayá kʰupa tsə́qw,
come far from water,
(‘[Which] comes a long way, from the water’)

Pe clatawa iscum muckamuck.
pi łátwa ískam mə́kʰmək
and go get food
(‘And goes to get food.’)

Klosh tumtum copa illahe,
łúsh-tə́mtəm kʰupa ílihi,
good-think about land
(‘Thinks fondly of the land’)

Yaka halo tikke elite.
yáka hílu tíki iláyti(x)
he not want be.slave
(‘He doesn’t care to be a slave.’)

Wake clatawa sockalle copa cold —
wík łátwa sáx̣ali kʰupa kʰúl
not go up to cold
(‘Doesn’t climb up to the cold’)

Elup yaka chaco old.
íləp yáka chaku-úl
before he become-old
(‘[They were] before he grew old.’) 

Wake tikke alta mamook poo!
wík tíki álta mamuk-p’ú!
not want now CAUSE-shoot
(‘[Which] doesn’t want to shoot any more!’)

Mamook chaco warm, hiyou,
mamuk-chaku-wám, háyú,
CAUSE-become-warm, much,
(‘That made [him] warm, [so] often’)

Wake yaka ipsoot mowitch skin.
wík yáka ípsut máwich-skín
not he hide deer-skin
(‘He doesn’t hide the buckskin’)

Copa sitkum sun pe ict tintin.
kʰupa sítkum-sán pi íxt tíntin
at half-day and one hour
(‘At an hour past noon.’) 

Musket klosh, clahayum six.
mə́skit łúsh, łax̣áyəm síks.
rifle good, goodbye friend.
(‘The rifle is good; goodbye friend.’) 

Wake holoiama, copet ict.
wík x̣lúyma, kʰapit(-)íxt.
not other, only one.
(‘No others, only [this] one.’) 

Clatawa siyah copa stick,
łátwa sayá kʰupa stík, 
go far in forest,
(‘[Who] go far into the forest,’)

Elup nika chaco sick.
íləp náyka chaku-sík.
before I become-sick.
(‘Before I get sick.’) 

Sochalie Ty-hee, nanitch nika;
sáx̣ali-táyí, nánich náyka;
above-chief, see me;
(‘Creator, see me;’)

     Alke nika mimaloose
áłqi náyka míməlus
     FUTURE I die
(‘I’m going to die’)

Lolo tumtum copa nika,
lúlu tə́mtəm kʰupa náyka,
take thought about me,
(‘Take thought of me’)

     Pe potlatch klimmin seahpoose.
     pi pátlach t’łímin siyápuł
     and give soft hat
(‘And give [me] a soft cap.’)

< Mamook chaco warm > is another example of fairly old-fashioned Chinuk Wawa double prefixation; later varieties, and those farther from the old lower Columbia River homeland, would simply say mamuk-wám.

< Sitkum sun pi ict tintin > is a novel but clear way of expressing “1:00 PM”. I’m used to reading a Kamloops-area structure, which would be < iht tintin kopit sitkom son > ‘one hour after mid-day’.

< Copet ict > is kind of ambiguous here between ‘[he’s] all alone’ and ‘just one [story]’.

< Lolo tumtum > appears to be a calque — a literal translation — from English ‘take thought’. It’s not an expression typical of Chinook Jargon, in my experience and in my research.

The ‘soft cap’ of the final line nags at me. Is this a stereotype of someone on their death bed? Or of old men’s garb?

What do you think?
Kahta mika tum-tum?