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Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

88. Concierto animal

I reread this book by Peruvian poet Blanca Varela (Pre-textos 1999). I decided to translate the final poem in the book:

the animal rolling around in the mud
is singing
love growls in his throat
and wrapped in filthy light
he goes partying

this makes the slaughterhouse
the arc of triumph
for this adventure
and health and harmony
hide in the guise of a star
and the black hazelnut
buried in his throat
lance blue beams to the winds

exhausted in the grime
singular diamond star in penumbra
he finds and loses god
in his hide
nuptials of choked melody
and blissful agony

what gift is needed
to enter the pond

___

Notes on the translation: I had to decide between "in the mud" and "in mud." I went with what sounded better in colloquial English.

I had to decide between "it" and "he." I thought the animal should have a gender, making it more personal. There could be advantages in "it" since I wouldn't have had to choose a gender.

I had to decide between dirty and filthy for sucia. I went with the intenser word.

For "se va de fiesta" I used a convenient English-language idiom. Too colloquial? Yet it is literal and makes sense at the figurative level too.

For "arco triumpal" I wanted to convey a monument such as that in Paris. English gifted me with an alliteration in "health and harmony."

For "apariencia astral" I used an interpretive translation: "the guise of the star" rather than the word-for-word "astral appearance."

I used a more active construction "makes..." in place of a logical connection in the original, "de allí que..."

For "connubio" I first used "marriage," losing the advantage of a rarer word. I chose among union, matrimony, etc... and then settled on nuptials.

I chose between joyful and blissful and went for intensity once again.

For "se necesita el don" I used "what gift," to intensify a bit the idea of the gift.

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