Poems

Prose Poem

Notes

Final translation completed on 31st October 2003

As this is a prose poem (the common term in English) the line-breaks are irrelevant. However, I’ve followed the pattern of Bhadra’s translation just to make the comparison easier.

‘Surrounded by’: ‘in the middle of’ sounds as though the sick woman is stuck, literally, in the centre of a wall: not the intention!

‘moan’: is gentler and more plaintive than ‘groan’.

‘bottomless pain’: this was a last-minute change to an earlier decision we’d made to use ‘black blinding pain’; this sounded fine (at the time) and corresponded more closely to the repetition of ‘black black pain’ in the original, but as so often is the case with translations, reading it out aloud at the end made the phrase sound risible and extreme. Which you may well think about ‘bottomless’ too. The latter has the ‘abyss’- sense advantage, but lacks the blackness….

‘Your empty, helpless eyes…’: the vowel sounds in the first part of this sentence work particularly well, as does the rhythm throughout and the alliteration of ‘drive’ and ‘despair’ at the end.

‘cut off my ears’: of course, cutting off your ears doesn’t stop you from hearing; but that’s what it says in the original, so we decided to go for the Van Gogh moment here and forget the empirical reality.‘I go from the deathly silence’: this was really tricky; getting the sense of the two different silences.

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