Saturday, April 07, 2018

NaPoWriMo Day 5: Angel So Graceful

Prompt: Write a poem that, like the work in Translucence, reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own. Begin with a photograph. Start translating the poem into English, with the idea that the poem is actually “about” your photograph. Use the look and feel of the words in the original to guide you along as you write, while trying to describe your photograph. 

This was a total train wreck. God, I hate the result. Still, it's an interesting exercise in scansion, and the difficulties of translation (even though we weren't translating the poem per se.)

Photo: The V&A and Nick Veasey, Balenciaga's Tulip Dress

ÄNGLARNA I KARIS                          ANGEL SO GRACEFUL                              
Tua Forström, Finland

Går med alltför                                          You are beauty
tunna skor i februari                                   tulip bloom in February

på järnvägsstationen i Karis                      an elegant angel so 
av och an och röker                                    tall and proud and laughing

Tåg anländer och avgår                              Such confidence and 
I morgon är alldeles det samma                 A goddess of flirtation and satin

Det snöar lätt och glittrande                       These sweeping hems and shaped 
Det snöar lätt på deras ögonfransar            These sweeping hems which show off 
                                                                    shapely ankles

De andas lätt som aluminium                     The corset bones like aluminium
De känner till de gudsförgätna platserna    The hidden seams that shape the body subtly so

De skrattar! Inget förfärar oss så                The irony! Simple the dress might seem 
som när de skrattar                                      here is the irony

Inget förfärar oss så                                     Simple the dress might seem but
som de gudsförgätna platserna                    things that shape the body subtly so

Och det som är rödkantat                             Hidden underneath, disguised.          


Anonymous said...

How nice to read your poem, using a Fenno-Swedish poem as springboard. Good work!

Shuku said...

Thank you Ileea! This one was a difficult prompt for more reasons than one - but I've a whooole new appreciation for Fenno-Swedish poetry now, and a few more reasons to keep plugging at both languages!