Short break

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I am having a lot of  pain at the moment so I may be absent for a while.I have to do what is vital.Then I shall come back

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The rational one can be almost deranged

Grief  and love are linked by  metal chains
Imagination cannot  foresee change
When love’s killed, its ghost will haunt  and blame

In our wanderings in the mind’s domains
The furniture in our mind is rearranged
Rage and love are linked by a  steel chain

The mind itself can change the human brain
The one most strong may be the one insane
When love dies, its shadow will  remain

The hate of loss  is like the mark of Cain
The rational one can be almost deranged
Grief  and love are linked by a  steel chain

What is lost will  heal in its due time
Murderous love   comes from the most estranged
When love’s killed its  ghost will  cause  much pain

Suffering most acute is now in place
Chronic losses cause a pale strained face
Grief  and love are linked by a  gold chain
When love’s killed, its ghost will haunt  and blame

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A day in the life of a poetry translator

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https://www.londoncalling.com/features/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-poetry-translator

Extract

LC: Every single word holds its own importance in poetry. How do you translate the meaning of an individual word if there isn’t a translatable word in English? 

CP: Finding a solution is part of the fun. English is a very extensive, nuanced language, so there’s usually some way to do it if you think long enough.

LC: What challenges do you face when translating a poet who has a very different heritage and culture from your own? 

CP: The fun is that the challenges are always different. Translating the Somali poet Caasha Lul Mohamad Yusuf brings technical challenges because her poetry is structured around alliteration. She often references the Quran so there are allusions I can miss that would be obvious to a Somali audience. You worry about misunderstanding, and that you might not be able to carry a poet’s particular formal skill or music into English.

LC: In Somalia, poetry is regarded as the highest art form. What themes do you find reoccurring in Somali poems, and why do you think this art form is so important to their culture? 

CP: There’s lots of romance. Love, men and women, the romance of the land itself. The green after the rain; the honey. It can be very delicate and lyrical. There’s also politics. Lots of politics. There’s a real sense that poetry matters, that people are listening to what poets say. Somali culture was traditionally nomadic, so it’s no surprise poetry is important. Unlike other art forms, a poem is so light you can carry it in your head.

LC: What is your involvement with the Poetry Translation Centre? 

CP: I’ve been translating Somali poems for them for five years now, and Somali week has become a very important date in my diary! I’ve particularly loved working with Caasha Lul Mohamad Yusuf, and am excited that the PTC are going to publish a major book of her work next year with Bloodaxe called The Sea- Migrations. She writes so powerfully about being a black Muslim woman and immigrant. Her poems feel very necessary right now. I’m also involved in the PTC’s translation workshops. Every week we look at a poem from a different language, hear about the context and culture from a literal translator and attempt a group translation. Last term was a crash course on everything from Chinese poetical ambiguities to Swahili syllabics. It’s amazing what good translations the collaborative process can create.

LC: For someone who has never read translated poetry before, where is a good place to start? 

CP: The Poetry Translation Centre anthology My Voice is a wonderful way in. It has the originals facing the translations which is really important. The magazine Modern Poetry in Translation is also fantastic.

LC: What do you think the medium of poetry does that no other art form can do? 

CP: I’m drawn to the intensity. In a novel it can take several hours of emotional investment to get to the place where you cry, a good poem can do it in thirty seconds.

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While I live, to whom am I of use?

The empty tomb is here inside my house
Not entire and not destroying all
This space  where used to dwell  my  loving spouse

The consolation is   bitter excuse
The loss of  love, my future state appals.
The empty tomb is here inside my house

As I live, to whom am I of use?
Where is the voice that to my heart will call?
A space  where used to speak  my  loving spouse

There is no resurrection for  our race;
But from the nuclear threat we each recoil.
The empty tomb is here inside my house

How is the world now ruled by the debased?
Are we redeemed  ever from our  Fall?
I miss  exchanges with my artist  spouse

Must we build  more iron  prison walls?
How bitter, Jesus,  is the human  bile.
The empty tomb is here inside my house.
This space  where we  mused, as spouse to spouse

 

So dust to dust and ash to ash,oh lord
Let us mourn without more wrath,discord
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Elusive inner presence, other me

 Elusive inner presence, other me,
Those bubbles on the water surface tell
Of life we cannot speak about nor see

We have many layers, currents pulled
Dynamic, swaying, living, dark unquelled.
Elusive inner presence, other me.

The philosophers like Langer all agree
A symbol is as deep as any well.
With life we barely speak about or see

A mermaid’s tail may flicker from the sea
The rhythm of waves our senses charmed, compelled
Elusive inner presence, other me.

Humanity is  called a living tree
If one leaf falls there is no plangent bell
For what we cannot speak about nor see

A coat embroidered three dimensionally
Will seize our eye and heart and soul as well
Elusive inner presence, other me.

The inner one must live in privacy,
Betrayed by none in marvelled secrecy.
Elusive inner presence, other me,
Open my blind eye,oh let me see.

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The cat waiting for a mouse

Cat-WatchingOh,  Oh,ginger cat you make your parents wince
As they watch you from the window  of their home
Why not go inside and eat their mince?

These  humans who have let you stay a dunce
And let you sleep upon  a cushion foam
Oh,Ginger you are making Mike and his wife wince

You sensed their home was warm and smelled of quince
And yet you hunt for birds and often roam
Why not go  and purr and eat sweet mince?

Adoption is a treasure fit for prince
And yet you  never write them a short poem
Oh, ginger cat you make your parents wince

Do not wash your whiskers and not rinse,
Conditioner makes your coat  get a good shine
So why not go inside and eat cat mince?

It’s hard to  draw correct cross species lines
And though you are a cat, you seem to  reign,
Oh, ginger cat, you give your parents  angst
Why not go to  town and rob a bank?

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As stunning as a handbag full of lead

As useful as a nail without a head
As  stunning as a handbag full of lead
As loving as a man who seems quite dead
As tasty as a worm on  mouldy bread

These similes will indicate  to you
My bills arrive and I am getting through
As soon our morals will  be  fried in glue
Love itself will find no avenue.

As loving as a god who died for you
As  acid as a lemon when you’ve  flu
As  powerful as a tiger trapped in  zoo
Love will come and nobody  is true.

The metaphors and similes fly through
The minds of all the children who once knew
That meaning is a story writ by you
Imagination slowly saves the  few

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In a narrow street, an incident.

The age of  all-out war, an accident
An Archduke shot. an Empire on the brink
In a narrow street, an incident.

Nobody stood up as a dissident
In their games, did leaders wish  to pause
The age of nuclear war, by accident?

In many narrow streets, coincidence,S
Since apples destroyed Eden, Newton  caused
In a narrow street, an incident.

Inevitably none  get all they want
From mother’s milk to dolls and other toys
The age of  all-out war, and infants’ rants

The time we have got left is rather scant
And there is  threatened bombing every day
In a narrow street, what incident?

There is no peace, just space between the wars
In her pram, the baby ignites toys
The age of all-out war, an accident?
In a narrow street, what incident?

Wilipedia: Shooting of heir to Austro-Hungarian Empire 1914

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What the world is for

His mission is to have a nuclear war
Then he would be appear in history books
The only questions , what  this war for?

Nuclear bombs  to him  are shiney   toy
Although  no  future author will be left to look.
For his vocation is to start the  final war

The death instinct is stronger than we know
For suffering humans and for legal crooks
The only questions  what  this war for

How the sins,  like fish, shall  leap and glow
Until the decent are untimely hooked
So opening the gates with Nazi heirs

On  tweet all the liars and their whores
On come ghosts and Satan’s  well trained cooks
The only question, what  this war  is for.

Oh, there will be no mourners  with their rites
As millions fry  without  long drawn out fights
His destiny, to have a nuclear war
The only question , what  this world is for.

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