Tag Archives: Pablo Neruda

#221: Some Silly Translations for the 30th Day of the Month of April

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.

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4th Graders:
Love is a trip with water and stars
and air and drowning
and _______ sand storms
love is a battle with
lightning bolts
umbrellas
two bodies for one dead skin

Mine:
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.

 

 

 

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#146: Ode to Pablo Neruda’s Odes

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Ode to Pablo Neruda’s Odes

The socks,
the book,
the storm,
the fallen chestnut,
the watch,
the tomato,
laziness,
Pablo’s odes are
tropical fish in a tank,
darting back and forth,
reaching for sky,
coming up for air,
going down deep
for sunken treasure, the
nourishment of the mundane.
When the ordinary gets
the special treatment
and seems to deserve
every bit of it,
there is nothing
unworthy of praise;
no stone, pebble,
clod, or mote
is undeserving.

O, Pablo’s odes,
teach me how to do that.
I want the tank of my poetry,
the record of the day to day,
to be that lively, that swimming,
that vivid, coming up for air
and digging deep,
turning what is often overlooked
or ignored into something
reverential, monumental,
as vast as the ocean is wide,
commensurate to prayer, song, or
the dance of a thousand enchanted drummers.

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