Knowledge Is Unforgiving
Knowledge is unforgiving
It gnaws at you
What are you guilty of?
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
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
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'.
© Poetry Translation Centre 2004-2013