Sunday, April 17, 2016



I swear these prompts get more interesting every day! Today, at Found Poetry Review, Jeff Griffin wants us to play with translating a poem we find in another poet's book. 

  1. Get a book of poetry, preferably a shorter title, one that can be read in about an hour, and one you won’t mind highlighting.
  2. Read through it all in one sitting, highlighting all the words, phrases and lines that you find remarkable.
  3. When finished, go back to the beginning and transcribe chronologically all the highlighted text into a word processor, but do not include any of the punctuation. Just type up one big run-on sentence text block.
  4. Copy and paste your text block into Google Translate. Translate it back and forth between multiple languages at least five times. Then translate back to English. The newly translated/mangled text block will have some semblance to the original language you found remarkable—it’ll be in the same ballpark—but due to what gets lost (or added) in translation, as well as the fact that there is no punctuation for the translator to gauge, it will likely be completely strange, providing unexpected/new/altered/mistranslated words and attempts at sentences.
  5. Take this raw material and edit as you see fit until you have formed your poem.

Here is the run-on sentence I created after gently underlining relevant phrases in Sina Queyras' MxT, and it was hard to do that as I don't like marking up books I like, especially poetry books printed on the gorgeous paper Coach House Press uses (Zephyr Antique Laid, to be precise). But it is one of two poetry books I can get my hands on here and is the one I chose for its absolutely gorgeous language throughout. I managed to pick off a few favourites, and here they are.

swimming through milk of sky come into my arms that hush and stride choose your memories well my love death is a long meditation don't let the dead go until you have tasted them his tongue in the gutter of her page the wind has licked the marrow from your bones any moment of life not sung is wasted what have I left of what I have seen

English to Spanish
nadar a través de la leche del cielo ven a mis brazos que silencian y zancada eligen sus recuerdos , así mi amor La muerte es una larga meditación no deje que los muertos van hasta que ellos han probado su lengua en la cuneta de su página el viento ha lamido la médula de los huesos cualquier momento de la vida no se canta se desperdicia ¿qué he dejado de lo que he visto

Spanish to Lithuanian
plaukti per dangaus pieno ateiti į mano rankas , kad tyla ir Stride pasirinkti savo prisiminimus ir mano meilė mirtis yra ilgas meditacija neleiskite negyvą eiti kol jie įrodė savo liežuvį nuo jūsų puslapio vėjo pusėje jis palaižė kaulų čiulpų jokių gyvybės laikas nėra giedama švaistomi ką aš sustojo , ką aš mačiau

Lithuanian to Irish
seol tríd an bainne spéir teacht i mo lámha , go bhfuil tost agus carranna a roghnú a gcuid cuimhní cinn féin agus mo ghrá an bháis is meditation fada ná lig an dul marbh dtí go bhfuil siad cruthaithe a dteanga ó do thaobh gaoithe leathanach den ligh sé an smeara nach mbeidh am saol sung squandered cad Stop mé , an méid a chonaic mé

Irish to Catalan
naveguen pel cel de la llet entren en les meves mans, que el silenci i vehicles per triar els seus propis records i el meu amor a la mort és llarga meditació no et deixis anar morts fins que hagin creat un llenguatge de la pàgina de vent lateral de l' llepar la medul·la òssia no es canta desaprofitada quin moment vaig deixar de vida, vaig veure el

Catalan to Portuguese
cruzando os céus leite entram em minhas mãos , que o silêncio e veículos para escolher as suas próprias memórias e meu amor da morte é longa meditação se deixe ser morto até que eles criaram uma página de vento lateral idioma ' s sugando a medula óssea não é cantada desperdiçado o tempo que me pararam a vida , eu vi

and Portuguese back to English

crossing the milk heavens come into my hands, that silence and vehicles to choose their own memories and my love of death is long meditation let yourself be killed until they created a wind page side language 's sucking the bone marrow is not sung wasted time that stopped my life, I saw

and from all of that, in the mysterious ways poems come,  came this:

Until I Saw

Crossing the room to you,
my one, my womb-fruit wombat,
milk from heavenly heavy breasts
leaking into my hands,
the silence that fell when you latched on
you will remember subliminally, I hope,
the way I remember decades later
every time I see anything feeding its young,
that indescribably specific let-down
behind the nipple tingle-tango.

I loved you then, I love you now,
I’ll love you when I’m dead,
when meditation/memory is all that’s left  
to us to touch to be to love,
when wind ruffles the pages of life’s book,
tears out mine and flings it to the stars,
for once a wind rose up,
sang and swirled and swept up all desire
for anything but you who sucked me dry
as if I was meant to be the next desert,
as if I was marrow in a bone.

I was rushing through my wasted life
until I glimpsed the possibility of you.

Until I saw.



Taidgh Lynch said...

This is excellent. I like the whole process involved. I should try this. Thanks for sharing. I think you're the first NaPoWriMo poet that i truly enjoyed. Thanks.

Linda Crosfield said...

Thank you very much! Just surfed into your blog and really enjoyed what I saw there, too.