Today’s optional prompt asks you to make use of today’s resource. Find a poem in a language that you don’t know, and perform a “homophonic translation” on it. What does that mean? Well, it means to try to translate the poem simply based on how it sounds. You may not wind up with a credible poem at the end, but this can be a fun way to step outside of your own mind for a bit, and develop a poem that speaks in a distinctive voice.
De Bergen ils écrivent : nous reviendrons avant les fêtes,
vous nous manquez,
de la Côte : il est difficile d’aimer par procuration
pourquoi ce silence ?
Nous nous levons à l’aube
comme nos pères
le café et les conversations incompréhensibles
ont leur vertu.
En pensant à vous,
nous contemplons la mosaïque du soleil et de la mer
jusqu’au soir où la lune trace des chemins
pour les derniers pêcheurs
l’histoire nous parle autant que la nature
à Rome, il fait plus chaud qu’à la maison.
La distance joue inlassablement
son menuet mélancolique.
© 2006, Emmanuel Moses
From: Figure rose
Publisher: Flammarion, Paris, 2006
My response, I did not read the translation.
22 April 20
Let’s rendezvous in Paris
We can be secret lovers again
Walking the streets, looking at the mannequins in the shops
Not totally understanding what we see or read because our high school French teachers would be considered illiterate
It’s difficult to comprehend
The reactions of the locals
As we tumble into their stores
We are tolerated, but we seek
To understand a thousand years of history in a week
An impossible task, yet in my bones I feel like I made it home
After generations of travel
I’ve made it home
I don’t comprehend the conversations in cafes
But I still play the game of making up stories about the patrons
I can’t read the paper and feel embarrassed to ask simple questions
Where is the toilet, what is the special, how is your family
I can’t even express to the citizenry that I feel home here
I can barely thank them for their hospitality
I am not even a peasant in their eyes, but that could just be my paranoia, my secret lover reminds me that we are invisible to their daily lives
We visit the places where history was made
We walk over stones and parks where historic speeches were made, yet we are unaware of the subtleties of this City
If Rome was a mansion then Paris is a castle
Our travels will lead us to that city shortly
But for now we stay in Paris
The distance back to “home” seems to great a journey even with our technological advances
It has taken my blood over a hundred years to get here
Possibly more because I haven’t traced my line farther than my father’s father.
No, we will stay here and embrace the melancholy of misunderstanding
We will stay and become children again.
And the English translation