As always it was a pleasure to translate another of Karin’s poems, this one typical of her ability to approach deep philosophical questions by grounding them in direct and concrete imagery.
Canan’s version of the final line of the first stanza talks about ‘the pendulum hanging from the chain’. We moved this line so it’s now the second line because of the different way syntax works in English as opposed to Turkish. And we also changed it to a ‘swinging pendulum’ – like the one found on a grandfather clock – because we couldn’t envisage a pendulum hanging from a chain.
The only really significant alteration we made was to the final lines. In the original (and Canan’s literal translation) reference is made to ‘the name of a novel / For my soul the bell tolls’. We took this to be a reference to Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. The title of Hemingway’s novel is taken from ‘Meditation XVII’ by John Donne: ‘And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.’ Karin’s final line is a celebration of hope despite misunderstanding – quite a distance from the funereal gloom of the original (and the tone of Hemingway’s novel), which is why we altered the line to give the poem an uplifting ending.
Sarah Maguire, Workshop Facilitator