M

An artist translator is a MASTER potter.
The potter is given the content of spirit from an old pot and a recollection of its shape.
Mastery lies in manipulating the clay into a new pot.
She pours content into a form of her own creation
in her own language.
The translator is the Chinese ceramist
who recreates the spirit and makes and shapes
the vessel in which that spirit lives.

 

N

The translator plays with NOTHINGNESS,
with nada,
and from nothing comes everything.

De nada a todo Saint John of the Cross inserts
into a concrete poem drawing.

In nada the Spanish  poet saint found God.

What is unlikely and impossible to translate
is rich.

From nothing comes everything.

Untranslatable lines are natural meadows of
translation and yield the best wild herbs.

What has never been done in the adopted language
will expand its thematic and formal boundaries
and its literature. 

Traditions of theme and form are altered by the
infusion
of poems from other languages, 
and especially the impossible ones.

 

O

The art of translatio consists of carting words across.

Translation is voyage and the poet takes a
translation across the OCEAN. Any ship of any
description may be qualified to reach port, sailing
across the Sea of Fidelity
       or the Sea of License.

The port too will suggest in its name the conditions
of the sea by which the ship reaches its destination.
So the port where the cargo of poems lies anchored
 may be called Saint Faithful or New Harmony or
       Wild Strawberries.

But the port must have a name, a true name.
Modest subgenre designations will do: translation,
version, paraphrase, metaphrase, retelling,
imitation or
       whatever.

The ocean offers all things,
including these mixed metaphors
about the translation
       of poems.

Now, moving from the ocean inland up to the
ORCHARDS, if we endow the trees and their fruit
with proper names, we hungry readers and critics
should eat well.

Think of a hilly field on a Greek island with that
       rational light of the Mediterranean
when seven centuries before the common era, 
Archilochos wrote about figs and wanton women
and his own wild shameless sexuality. 

His poems with their sun in the time of the Dog Star,
now modernized as fragments,
 are all preserved in the multiple trees in a Greek
       orchard on the afternoon hill. 

The gardener has opened the way into the orchard
for you to pick and consume.
She may have decided to turn a peach tree into a
       prickly pear.
She has all kinds of phonic and cultural excuses
for making the switch.

The gardener may think you are looking at her own
body and hide behind her new garments of beauty.

 If you see her naked in the faithful raw, you may not
       look long.

Once you decide to eat from her orchard,
if you eat a prickly pear for a peach,
 be fair to her transforming art and donít make
       unfriendly faces.

Enjoy.

continue