An Irrepressible Habit of Thinking Aloud

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the lady smiles
taelle
I don't really believe in poetry translations.
No, that sounds wrong. I mean, I enjoy them, but as sort-of-fanfics - a bit like screen adaptations of novels. maybe. They are interesting in what they are doing, and they have value in themselves, but do they let you know the original poet? I love Marshak's Shakespeare sonnets, but they are not much like Shakespeare's Shakespeare sonnets in both tone and intent.
So, then, if you (if I) read poetry, this has to be done in its original language.
Only poetry is probably most difficult form of reading in a foreign language. I mean, I'm more or less fluent in English, but I know myself to have dubious pronunciation, so am I sure the English poetry sounds right in my head? (thank gods for online audios of poetry readings)
And that's English, probably my best current language. Do I dare to read in any other language? ... I do, but am I right? This post is actually brought to you by me trying Ukrainian poetry and probably being in over my head.

Here's a Polish poem so that I wouldn't be too appalled to reread this post. I am worse at reading Polish than Ukrainian, but this one has inner simplicity (and I've read three different translations).

Kamyk jest stworzeniem
doskonałym

równy samemu sobie
pilnujący swych granic

wypełniony dokładnie
kamiennym sensem

o zapachu który niczego nie przypomina
niczego nie płoszy nie budzi pożądania

jego zapał i chód
są słuszne i pełne godności

czuję ciężki wyrzut
kiedy go trzymam w dłoni
i ciało jego szlachetne
przenika fałszywe ciepło

- Kamyki nie dają się oswoić
do końca będą na nas patrzeć
okiem spokojnym bardzo jasnym

(Zbigniew Herbert)

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