Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Naomi *

Naomi admit to me where you go
The complete answer is simple
The answer is plain to understand
Tell me for goodness sake - not long to tell me

I have stamina here alone
with a plain alibi, or certain yarn
Orice did not tell or offer shit
I received the news or truth from Florarul

Polenul confessed you did not hide
in the large palazzo you cavorted
without a care as though we were finished
With umbrage and not a sign of confession

No confession not a word to me
Yes nothing to hear, of me, you gamete craven
Yes nothing stopped your pair of lips
No turbulent adventurous feet

Naomi admit to me where you go
The complete answer is simple
The answer is plain to see
Tell me for goodness sake, it is not long to tell me

I now see without interruption of my need to disbelieve
I have no more latent ability to not hear your passion
My dear you are a whore it is true
Yes former love now we are forever finished

* since this is a fairly word by word translation the lyric sense has been interrupted and word placement may seem awkward at times – yet the passion of the original piece 


The following is the prompt from Dverse in its entirety ....
Hello, everyone, Marina Sofia here back behind the bar tonight and so pleased to see all your friendly faces after the holidays! I thought we’d try to keep the summer mood going for just a little longer and attempt something fun and different today.
I’ve always been very passionate about how poetry sounds and always need to read a poem out loud to ‘get’ it.  So I’ve been intrigued by the concept of ‘homophonic translations’, i.e. translations that rely on sounds rather than meaning. It’s a humorous and easy way to free up your synapses to make some brand-new associations. Here is a classic example of what a schoolboy understood of a Latin text.
Caesar adsum jam forte.
Brutus aderat.
Caesar sic in omnibus.
Brutus sic enat.
Caesar had some jam for tea.
Brutus ‘ad a rat.
Caesar sick in omnibus.
Brutus sick in ‘at.
The result is often humorous, but it can also be serious. It won’t surprise you to hear that I made a funeral dirge out of a sweet little ballad when I attempted this exercise with a Croatian poem. Since this exercise works best when the translation is from a language you don’t understand at all, I’m offering you a poem in Romanian.
Lucian Blaga (1895-1961) was a Romanian philosopher, poet and playwright, particularly active during the period between the two World Wars. After 1948 his lack of support for the Communist regime in Romania led to his works being banned for being too ‘idealistic’, rather than describing ‘socialist realism’.
The beautiful, romantic and very melodious poem featured below is one of my all-time favourites. I don’t expect many of you to understand any of it (Italian and Spanish speakers may pick up the odd word or two) but I would like you to allow yourself to be carried away by the sounds and imagine a translation for it. (Don’t cheat by using Google Translate!) Don’t worry about the diacritical signs – just invent your own personal way of reading those letters.
Ne-om aminti cândva târziu
de-aceasta întâmplare simpla,
de-aceasta banca unde stam
tâmpla fierbinte lânga tâmpla.
De pe stamine de alun,
din plopii albi, se cerne jarul.
Orice-nceput se vrea fecund,
risipei se deda Florarul.
Polenul cade peste noi,
în preajma galbene troiene
alcatuieste-n aur fin.
Pe umeri cade-ne si-n gene.
Ne cade-n gura când vorbim,
si-n ochi, când nu gasim cuvântul.
Si nu stim ce pareri de rau
ne tulbura, piezis, avântul.
Ne-om aminti cândva târziu
de-aceasta întâmplare simpla,
de-aceasta banca unde stam
tâmpla fierbinte lânga tâmpla.
Visând, întrezarim prin doruri -
latente-n pulberi aurii –
paduri ce ar putea sa fie
si niciodatã nu vor fi.
Read the poem out loud  and try and see if any of the words sound a bit like English words to you. Do any words look like English or Latin or German or other languages you might know? Allow yourself to be swept away by repetitions, melodious cadences or word associations.
Now, try translating the poem using just the sounds and look of the words. Bring in the images that those words awoke in you. If you can, stick to the original line lengths and stanza shapes. Don’t make the poem longer by ad-libbing or over-explaining. Just go wild with it and see what you can come up with! The end result doesn’t have to be full of puns or even humorous.


  1. is that the for real translation? ha. you about have me convinced...
    def the passion comes through in your translation...ah the fire of betrayal,
    the hope she can be at least honest in this...well played doc.

  2. Ha.. If I have read a rough breakup - this is it.. I guess Naomi has been careless.

  3. Oooh, what an angry, fierce monologue of a betrayed man to his Naomi! Very interesting interpretation of the original - thanks so much for joining in.

  4. gamete craven - a cowardly reproductive cell? That is clever... really impressive how you got a complete tale from the text; made perfect sense to me...

  5. This is a clever interpretation - fancy you doing it word by word - what patience (!)

  6. Word by word--the only way to go. I did just that with a Neruda poem. For somehow, that way, these are now your words & a more cohesive narrative rises out of the exercise; nice work.

  7. This is a lovely interpretation of the poem ~ You have created a story of love and betrayal and sadness ~ Enjoyed this one ~

  8. Oh, I think it's gorgeous! An intelligible poem, an engaging story, and such beautiful language — you're a genius. I was sort of laughing throughout too, in delight at your amazing leaps of thought. I especially love "gamete craven".