Wednesday, December 21, 2005

if you can't write an ode to what you're really thinking:



Day-colored wine,
night-colored wine,
wine with purple feet
or wine with topaz blood,
starry child
of earth,
wine, smooth
as a golden sword,
as lascivious velvet,
wine, spiral-seashelled
and full of wonder,
never has one goblet contained you,
one song, one man,
you are choral, gregarious,
at the least, you must be shared.
At times
you feed on mortal
your wave carries us
from tomb to tomb,
stonecutter of icy sepulchers,
and we weep
transitory tears;
spring dress
is different,
blood rises through the shoots,
wind incites the day,
nothing is left
of your immutable soul.
stirs the spring, happiness
bursts through the earth like a plant,
walls crumble,
and rocky cliffs,
chasms close,
as song is born.
A jug of wine, and thou beside me
in the wilderness,
sang the ancient poet.
Let the wine pitcher
add to the kiss of love its own.

My darling, suddenly
the line of your hip
becomes the brimming curve
of the wine goblet,
your breast is the grape cluster,
your nipples are the grapes,
the gleam of spirits lights your hair,
and your navel is a chaste seal
stamped on the vessel of your belly,
your love an inexhaustible
cascade of wine,
light that illuminates my senses,
the earthly splendor of life.

But you are more than love,
the fiery kiss,
the heat of fire,
more than the wine of life;
you are
the community of man,
chorus of discipline,
abundance of flowers.
I like on the table,
when we're speaking,
the light of a bottle
of intelligent wine.
Drink it,
and remember in every
drop of gold,
in every topaz glass,
in every purple ladle,
that autumn labored
to fill the vessel with wine;
and in the ritual of his office,
let the simple man remember
to think of the soil and of his duty,
to propagate the canticle of the wine.

7 little fish:

Blogger JP swam up to say...

I don't know why, but I've always found Neruda's 'voice' terribly affected and insincere, even if he had a few nice phrases here and there. Maybe it's his inability to express a sentiment that isn't essentially trite and commonplace, and was probably done better and in less words by someone like Omar Khayyam or Horace, in this particular case.

Sometimes I'm mean. I realise this.

12:04 AM  
Blogger MrGonSings swam up to say...

Being a native chilean and spanish speaker, allow me to tell you that Neruda's poetry loses a great deal when translated... To me, at least, it sounds like as if written by two absolutely different people... A sad, but true fact, that I believe also affects a lot of poets when they are not read in their original language.

8:12 PM  
Blogger JP swam up to say...

I'm willing to bet that may be the problem. Still, a lot of my favourite poetry is translated - whether from French, Latin or ancient Kannada, so perhaps it's just something about my own taastes.

2:41 AM  
Blogger theleftsock swam up to say...

i just try to do some research on whos doing the translations. thats really important. i look for people who are respected in that language. that way i know they cared about not just what the original person said, but what they meant.

5:06 PM  
Blogger JP swam up to say...

True. I hve read two different translations of Mikhail Bulghakov's The Master and Margharita. One, which claims to be more scholarly, becomes downright tedious at times - the other, seeking to emulate B.'s tone rather than his exact constructions, is far more readable. I also have multiple translations of Baudelaire and the differences really are intriguing.

I decided to look up some of Neruda's original texts. They somehow seem a lot prettier than any translations I've read. I may have to learn more languages.

11:16 PM  
Blogger jenn see swam up to say...

also helpful are those volumes that have both the original & the translation, usually on facing pages, so you can get the feel of both, kind of a cumulative effect, even if you don't speak the original language...

12:55 PM  
Blogger mysfit swam up to say...

[poems are extremely hard to translate - since much of the art of poetry is how it sounds/looks/subtle plays on words/etc - things that may become muddled in translation - i.e. do you translate words directly and lose the form, do you go for the closest conotations and lose sound - i had a friend a long time ago who was a published poet in the US, moved to France and was asked to tranlate his own poetry - he told me that it was like writing all new poems.

2:47 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home