E is for Erumpent and Etiolate

erumpent: adjective – bursting forth or through a surface.

etiolate: verb – 1. to bleach and alter the natural development of by excluding sunlight 2. a. to make pale b.to deprive of natural vigor: make feeble.

 

The NaPoWriMo challenge for today would have been daunting–find a photograph and a poem in a foreign language I don’t know then pretend I am translating the poem so that it describes the photograph–if I hadn’t recently read Here by Wislawa Szymborska. Her beautiful book of poems is laid out with the Polish versions on the left hand pages and the English translation on the right.

The Polish poems look so interesting; so many curious diacritics. The kreska or acute accent (ć, ń, ó, ś, ź); the overdot or kropka (ż); the tail or ogonek (ą, ę); and the stroke (ł) (from Wikipedia) all combine like a wild jungle of ferocious expression. I know nothing about the Polish language, so hopefully exploring the Polish poems (while covering up the translations) will spark some creative translation.

 

Contemplating the Other

                                                                                                            photo by Maria L. Berg

 

Contemplating The Other

Sad boy who stole my clothes, why are you made of flowers?
You float on a sea of boards beyond this barrier where I cannot go
You have my hair, my nose, my ball, even my shoes
But you do not have my smile, where has it gone?

When you sing, do you sound like me?
When you cry, who kisses you and wipes your tears?

If there is another of me, do I still possess specialness,
Or does acknowledging him etiolate me?
What becomes of me if the flower boy is more precious?
I want to play with him, but our hands are full.
He wants me to leave, but won’t turn away.

 

It took me a while, but I found a video of Wislawa Szymborska reading her poem “True Love” in Polish. I really wanted to hear her words in her language. And here you can see the words of a poem while she reads.

Happy Reading and Writing

and Exploring poems in foreign languages!

 

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