Poem a Day Day 16 Weird stuff.


Well this was weird.  First I tried a Celtic poem, but I found I had no idea how to pronounce the words. Or maybe that was the point.  This one is Latvian.  Remember it’s just the sounds, not an actual translation.  Although I did get drink involved.  Like I said. Weird.

1. original poem, 2 my transliteration “take” on it., 3. actual translation


NaPoWriMo – Day 16 to write a “translation” of a poem in a language you don’t actually know. Go to the Poetry International Language List, pick a language, and then follow it to a poet and a poem. Generally the Poetry International website will present a poem in its original language on the left, and any translation on the right. Cut and paste the original into the text-editing program of your choice (and try not to peek too much at the translation). Now, use the sound and shape of the words and lines to guide you, without worrying too much about whether your translation makes sense.

Latvian poem







© 1996, Janis Elsbergs
From: Rita kafija
Publisher: Apgads Daugava


Is your island and the briny

Coming not to rendezvous more

Is talk of gazing sight vacant

Is it missing gaia’s vision

Near to Skyros

Bailing never outs the boat enough


Why you are so divided

Man pecks at prizes caught

Yes, yes it’s stygian saki

Yes, yes it’s the lotus





Actual translation

I’m walking and wondering
why I leave no footprints.
I went this way yesterday.
I’ve gone this way all my life.

I won’t look back.
I’m afraid I won’t find my shadow.

‘Are you alive?’
a drunken gentleman suddenly asks me.

‘Yes, yes,’ I answer quickly.
‘Yes, yes,’ I answer
as fast as I can.



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