Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Babelfish cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by --Tico--: http://flickr.com/photos/tico_bassie/4120114329/

It's Day 16 in NaPoWriMo and our task today is to "translate" a poem written in a language we don't speak, using this site. I chose this beautiful poem by Elisa Biagini. I decided to retell it rather than translate it, but after reading the real translation I really feel like a traitor for doing this to it:

I think she loves him a lot.
I think they don’t speak the same language.
She translates his life
With the aid of feng shui.
She sings to him,
Her voice in harmony with his voice.
They don’t speak the same language,
But she writes his life with her body.
She summons the wind to clear the path he is taking,
But there is that bit about the water she used to wash the dishes 
That I don’t quite understand.
She reads his life to him, 
I believe,
In strange doorways.
As he passes by, she pulls him
Into the museum she created of his life.
Of their life.
Hers is an artist’s portfolio.
She is a collector of memorabilia,
Trying to capture the essence of him,
To keep it on the shelves of her museum,
To protect it.
The acid rains
That have been falling for years
Will not taint the silver of their past.


  1. Not sure which one reaches out and touches me the most, the mystical original or your beautiful re-telling that adds a certain new flavor. Either way, thanks for introducing me to a new poet.

    I may try that re-telling thing with my favorite Portuguese poets.

    1. Ray, please try it. It is not easy (or, at least, not until you find the right poem). Elisa Biagini is great and I am glad I have found her. I'll keep reading her poetry. I found out that she writes both in Italian and in English and she has translated her own poetry into English.

  2. Well, I read first, your piece; and then Elisa Biagini’s. I had not heard of her before, and I found your piece as intoxicatingly Ekphrastic; hers, mysterious….perhaps because it was ‘Translated.” (something lost in translation?)
    Good Job.

    1. Marvin, thank you for calling my poem Ekphrastic. The last thing I wanted was to write a funny poem, so I tried a description. I love her poetry.