29 jul. 2011

After Gelman


Anyone can get warm
wearing the hide of a wild boar

but to satisfy a real hunger
nothing like a mother's soup.

At the table nobody imposed conditions--
bread, sometimes beer, bright-red

tomatoes, oil, the salt
that makes forgetting easy to eat.

What a spoon for the rice!
How it sang against the bowl!

What am I supposed to do with this
appetite for what was and what wasn't?

At five in the morning
streets of poverty

and language slipping by,
the sun giving grammars of peace

to the plants in the courtyard,
glimmers that left too soon.

This is more of an interpretation than a faithful rendering, so i won't quote the original. I felt it had to sing in English, that I had to establish different line-breaks, stanza structure, and syntactical relations, and posit a plausible speaking voice that would be saying all this. It would be better if it were even more free, because then I would worry even less. Right now it's in that awkward place between translation and complete re-interpretation.