Poems

Tranquillity

Notes

The first of two poems by Diana Amphimiadi that we translated, we were immediately struck by the delicacy of her inventiveness. Like 'May Honey', this poem reverses the course we would expect of its subject matter: the poem is not about how she gets used to the word 'tranquillity' (although that does occur later on in the poem - only to be undermined) but how she accustomed the word 'tranquillity' to her. And note that it's the word 'tranquillity', not the feeling itself, to which the poem refers.

Our most difficult task was to translate the first line which, in Natalia's literal is, 'How strangely I made the word “calm” (peacefulness)” get used to me'. We quickly settled on 'how strange' as the first words and then used 'trained' which, as the poem progressed, we realised wasn't quite right as the poet is not actively 'training' the word 'tranquillity' but, as we finally lit upon, 'accustoming' it to her. A wonderful poem that it was a pleasure to translate.

Sarah Maguire, Workshop Facilitator

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