Knowledge Is Unforgiving

by Abdellatif La‚bi

Knowledge is unforgiving
It gnaws at you
What are you guilty of?
Something forgotten
or overdone?
To feel yourself burning with the words
you draped over the unnameable,
pinned to your seat
while sipping your coffee?
Dare to say it:
despite being free of evil
you are its hostage
Can we melt the executioner's heart
change human nature?
No one has the answer
redemption, Redemption
you murmur
that insoluble equation

The literal translation of this poem was made by Andre Naffis-Sahely

The final translated version of the poem is by The Poetry Translation Workshop

Notes

We grappled most with the very first word of this poem which Andre, in his literal version, quite correctly had translated as 'consciousness'. In the end, we went with 'knowledge' because of its sense of something actively gained and human, rather than the more passive, almost biological 'consciousness'.

Comments

  1. March 11th, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    zak Alaoui says:

    i don't why you have chosen impossible equation in stead of using the same word 'insoluble' equation.we normally say this equation does not have a solution, not impossible to solve.insoluble is also a 'solution'. good translation +thanks for the interest you have shown to this original poet.

    The PTC writes: Thanks, Zak, for noticing that mistake which we've now corrected. Glad you like our poems.