Poetry Month #21: Experimenting

I generally try not to apologize for poems beforehand, even if I’m not thrilled by them. But I have to warn you on these ones. They're pretty different


The official NaPoWriMo prompt for today was to take a poem from another language and write a ‘homophonic translation’ of it. Essentially you try to capture what it says phonetically and put it into English, rather than actually translating the meaning behind the words.


So really, this is a fun exercise in playing around with other people’s words in order to create something new. I had a lot of fun doing these, but it’s not like I have a lot of respect for the results themselves.


I did three.


The first is based on a french poem by Victor Hugo. Here’s the original text:


“Quand je suis triste, je pense à vous, comme l’hiver on pense au soleil, et quand je suis gai, je pense à vous, comme en plein soleil on pense à l’ombre.”


Here’s what I came up with:

Play Solely   Come the sweet treats  She passes you  Come live in expense, oh, solely He conned the sweet key The pose of you Come on, play solely  And pass a lone burrough

That's pretty random. The next one I personally liked better. It’s based on a dutch poem. This one I transcribed from the audio of it being read. I set the speed really slow for the first few times, and then sped it up. Here’s the audio, I would suggest listening as you read: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIZPj7ifR1s


All is Left   Die stronger near the ancient passing cracks The mirror dark and broken from the down  And fathoms open for no man to mark A frozen frown bore me, when old and down

The work took us from the years  Save me,  The deep holds its hands warm, close  Grown enough a woman accused  Saving your long last note Desponding heavy bond,  Pull it off my shoulder, take and hold It wasn’t free, and we had kept his labor And lost the ring: my now and after gift You meant a deal from hours playing leave it And all that’s left is dumb When he is deaf


And finally, probably the worst ‘translation’ as far as smoothness goes, is this one based on an Italian poem. Once again, an audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_pqvHVxCMs


Paramedic       On chilling terrace see me stroke cholera Latte on Sunday, leave it there It’s a sort of indwelling gamble. Tragical,  This part of ‘be on call, be on call’ We’ll touch it all to music, oh Soon a call, a parry spurring  Doom tattoo Come and knock you Killing our new It still revolts to the breeze  ‘Seek,’ you will say Kneeling, ought to nearer

There’s that nonsense for you, and hopefully you find it interesting. I actually highly recommend trying this just for the fun of it. I'm glad I did it, strange as they turned out.

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