Psalm 1 from The Chamorro Bible

translated from the Chamorro by Craig Perez

Salmo 1

1 Dichoso y taotao, ni ti mamomocat gui pinagat y manaelaye, ni y ti sumasaga gui chalan manisao, ni y ti matatachong gui siyan ayo sija y manmanmofefea.

2 Lao guiya lay Jeova, ayo y minagofña, ya y layña jajaso, jaane yan puenge.

3 Ya taegüijeja y trongcon jayo ni y matanme gui oriyan sadog, ya guaja tinegchaña gui tiempoña, ya y jagonña ti umalayo; ya todo y finatinasña mumemegae.

4 Lao ti taegüine y manaelaye; lao parejo yan y paja ni y güinaefe ni y manglo.

5 Sa enao na ti mangajujulo y manaelaye gui sentensia; ni y manisao gui y inetnon manunas.

6 Sa si Jeova jatungo y chalan manunas: lao y chalan manaelaye ufanmalingo.


Psalm 1 (‘objective’ translation)

BLESSED is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.


Psalm 1 (translated from the Chamorro)

we are cursed, in the path of the ungodly [...] the blessed sinners make counsel

their law is our Lord [...] a colony of day and night

a tree planted in sand; the river is a military landfill [...] no fruit, withered leaf

in the ungodly wind [...] we become wheat

to their congress of sinners, judgement, and sentence [...]

will the Landlord of our path ever perish?


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The Psalms were translated into Chamorro (the native language of the Pacific Island of Guam, a US territory) in 1907, as part of a missionary project to create a Chamorro Bible. During the proceeding US suppression of the native language, the Bibles disappeared from circulation. Although the books were reprinted in 1952, Y Salmo Sija (The Psalms) were omitted. The complete Chamorro Bible, including YSalmo Sija, was rediscovered in 2001 and is now available online at chamorrobible.org.


A native of the Pacific island of Guahan (Guam), Craig Perez immigrated to California in 1995. He completed his MFA at the University of San Francisco, and is co-founder of Achiote Press. His work has appeared in Jacket, Watchword, The Redlands Review, Slope, Rain Taxi, Quercus, and Galatea Resurrects, and is forthcoming in Traffic and Tinfish.

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[Calque will be periodically featuring new translations of poetry or short prose. These translations will run on the front page for a week. The feature will then be given a permanent link in the translators page. To submit single pieces for online publication, email us.]

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