Translation

with thanks to Jennifer Guyor Jowett for the Open Write invitation on Ethical ELA today:

Think about your reality.
What do you see today?
Ponder the possibilities before you.
Allow a free verse poem to develop.
Begin with the line I see…

*******

Translation

I see the sign
on an office wall

simple black frame
simple black font
on a plain white field

devoid of décor

just words:

Alles ist fertig;
es muss nur noch
gemacht
weden.

I do not read
or speak
this language

but that doesn’t keep
images from
springing to mind:

I see furrows
lush and green against
chocolate loam soil
spread out
like a billowing blanket
to tree-lined ditches

I see my childhood
materializing like a ghost
in the white summer haze

I see the cadence
of cicadas
and storytellers
around the dinner table
long ago
(yes, I see them;

rhythms
have shape
and color

as tentative as candleflame
as sustaining as river
as permanent as earth).

—I see it all
even if
I don’t always know
what it all means.

Eventually
I’ll translate
what I see
into words
on a page
for the knowing.

Everything is ready,
it just needs
to be done.

One thought on “Translation

  1. And of course there I was working to translate it before I realized you had provided it for us.

    German and I have a funny relationship. My father’s family has deep German roots, and they came to the country in the mid-19th century. But the German heritage and language has been mixed throughout generations. And then there’s there other, more problematic relationship of being Jewish to German-hood. It always strikes a weird balance for me.

    Still, I love this sentiment. Everything is ready – it just needs to be done. I’m thinking that’s a good mantra to carry around in my back pocket…

    Like

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