I’m not really proud of my efforts here, only because it seems rather slight for a culminating poem. I don’t speak Spanish, but my son and his school buddy Gracie are 4th graders in a bi-lingual immersion program, and they’re hanging out together on this last day of the month of April, so I enlisted their help for today’s napowrimo assignment: Write a poem in translation. So, here’s a thing by Pablo Neruda, translated by 4th graders, and then translated again from the fourth grade into adult English using the google translator.
Love is a trip with water and stars
and air and drowning
and _______ sand storms
love is a battle with
two bodies for one dead skin
Oh, love is a journey on water
and through stars; we drown in
its air and other rough weather.
Love is as fierce as lightning
upon two defeated bodies in honey.
Oh, jesus. That was terrible. I feel the need to redeem myself. The other idea from napowrimo would be to take a foreign language poem for which you know absolutely nothing and to write a poem in English using words that approximate in sound the corresponding foreign words. Let’s try that. Here’s one from Tomas Transtromer:
Den halvfärdiga himlen
Modlösheten avbryter sitt lopp.
Ångesten avbryter sitt lopp.
Gamen avbryter sin flykt.
Det ivriga ljuset rinner fram,
även spökena tar sig en klunk.
Och våra målningar kommer i dagen,
våra istidsateljéers röda djur.
Allting börjar se sig omkring.
Vi går i solen hundratals.
Var människa en halvöppen dörr
som leder till ett rum för alla.
Den oändliga marken under oss.
Vattnet lyser mellan träden.
Insjön är ett fönster mot jorden.
Then Half For Dingo Henning on a Mottled Garden
More shame on you as you sit off,
angsty arbiter sitting off,
a gamey arbiter in flight.
That every jesuit in the frame
has spoken of this sickening junk.
Oh, very malnutrition common in dingos,
very astute satellite ears rotor router.
All things border on sick onions.
Vulgar stolen, a hundred tails.
Varmint ska in half open doors
some leader tilleth and runs for Allah.
Then, O Dingo, marks under floss.
That way lies the mellow trade-in.
Insomuch as it fosters a mottled garden.