Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fake translation

As I've said before, one of my favorite creative exercises involves taking a poem or other text in an unfamiliar language and "translating" it. Sometimes just a few words become a jumping-off point. You can return to the well again and again for ideas that startle you out of the ordinary.

I started here with a piece of a poem by Neruda. I don't know Spanish, but I know enough that I probably could have figured out a lot of the poem, so I didn't use it for much beyond the first line.

Poisoned Poem

The rule: write a sad poem each day. Thursday’s should be

saddest. Write, for example: “The stars are falling, o my love,

falling on your house.” Keep at arm’s length the vision

of the drapes, the bed, the cats aflame. Make the sorrow

beautiful. When the night comes, kiss your lover,

your children, kneel at the hearth, and throw the poem into the fire.

No comments: