I Came to the World Before You


We spent a lot of time discussing the title (and first lines of each verse) of this poem and, in the end, stayed with Mahsn's literal translation because we liked the play on 'before' in English which can mean either a chronological 'before' or 'in front of you'.

As always with translations, there are some things that sound odd, even comic, in English and that just don't work. This was the case with the lines, 'to learn easily / to sprout over your chest', the syntax of which was hard to unpack, and we struggled to avoid making the lines sound cheesy or even offensive!

It was a pleasure to translate this unashamedly romantic poem by Abdulla Pashew.

Sarah Maguire, Workshop Facilitator