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What about putting together poems about language?
Thread poster: Aurora Humarán
Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 29, 2004

Four Quartets


words strain,

crack and sometimes break, under the burden,

under the tension, slip, slide, perish.

decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,

will not say still.



words move, music moves

only in time; but that which is living

can only die. words, after speech, reach

into silence. only by the form, the pattern,

can words or music reach

the stillness, as a Chinese jar still

moves perpetually in its stillness.


T.S.Elliot


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Say and Do Dec 29, 2004

Between what I see and what I say,

between what I say and what I keep silent,

between what I keep silent and what I dream,

between what I dream and what I forget: poetry.

It slips between yes and no,

says what I keep silent,

keeps silent what I say,

dreams what I forget.

It is not speech:

it is an act.

It is an act that is speech.

Poetry speaks and listens:

it is real.

And as soon as I say

‘it is real’,

it vanishes.

Is it then more real?

A tangible idea,

intangible word:

poetry comes and goes

between what is

and what is not.

It weaves

and unweaves reflections.

Poetry sows eyes in the page,

sows words in the eyes.

The eyes speak,

words look,

gazes think.

To hear thoughts,

see what we say,

touch the body of an idea.

Eyes close,

the words open.


Octavio Paz

Unfortunately, I do not know who translated Octavio's poem.
I will try to find more of his poetry translated into English. In my opinion, together with Borges and Neruda, Octavio Paz is one of the greatest Spanish speaking poets of all times.

Aurora

[Edited at 2004-12-29 16:22]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:00
German to English
poems about language Dec 29, 2004

An interesting assignment Aurora. This isn't exactly about language, but it comes close. I suppose it falls into the metapoetry category.

"Like ... metafiction ..., the metapoem is "supremely aware of itself as artifice and is unabashedly self-reflective." Metapoetry is self-declaratory in showing itself to be tackling issues of whatever nature head on, be these issues the art of composition, or the thematic indulgence of the poet; in other words, it refers to poetry that talks about itself."

http://wwwmcc.murdoch.edu.au/ReadingRoom/litserv/SPAN/36/Finn.html

---
Sound and Sense
by Alexander Pope

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offense,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense:
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar;
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labors, and the words move slow;
Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main.
Hear how Timotheus' varied lays surprise,
And bid alternate passions fall and rise!


[Edited at 2004-12-29 18:49]


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:00
English to Spanish
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TOPIC STARTER
Alliteration and consonance in harmony.... Dec 30, 2004

Kim Metzger wrote:

Sound and Sense


ease comes chance,
As those easiest dance.
'Tis harshness gives offense,
sound must seem sense:
Soft is strain Zephyr blows,
smooth stream smoother numbers flows;
surges lash sounding shore,
hoarse, verse should;
strives some rock's vast,
labors, words slow;
so, swift scours,
Flies skims.
Timotheus' lays surprise,
passions rise!



Sound and sense, sense and sound... Wow!

Pope was an exquisite writer. He had a very hard life, he was a dwarf (less than five feet tall) in times when being a handicapped was much heavier than it is today. But he was touched by magic, he was a gifted poet and today we can enjoy his words.

Thank you, Kim!

au

[Edited at 2004-12-30 00:23]


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To the German language Dec 30, 2004

To the German language

The Spanish language is my destiny,
Francisco de Quevedo's bronze,
but in the marches of the night
musics more intimate grab me.
Some came by blood—
Shakepeare's voice and Holy Scripture—
others by generous hazard,
but you, sweet German tongue,
I chose and sought alone.
Vigil and grammar and
the jungle of declensions,
dictionaries that never get it right
precisely, brought me near you.
My nights were full of Virgil
I said; I could have said
Hölderlin and Angelus Silesius.
Heine gave me high nightingales;
Goethe tardy love
indulgent and mercenary;
Keller the rose of a hand
in the hand of a dead lover
who knows not if it be white or red.
You, tongue of Germany, are your masterpiece:
love in all your
compound voices, open
vowels, sounds allowing
Greek hexameter
and rumor of night in the forest.
You were mine. At the limit
of tired years, I spy you
far-off as algebra or moon.

Jorge Luis Borges
translated by Christopher Mulrooney

[Edited at 2004-12-30 12:59]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:00
German to English
To the German language Dec 30, 2004

Aurora Humarán wrote:

but you, sweet German tongue,
I chose and sought alone.

You, tongue of Germany, are your masterpiece:
love in all your
compound voices, open
vowels, sounds allowing
Greek hexameter
and rumor of night in the forest.
You were mine. At the limit
of tired years, I spy you
far-off as algebra or moon.

Jorge Luis Borges


Thanks for bringing this up, Aurora. There is a widespread notion that German is a harsh-sounding language, full of "achs" and "krachs." Here's a typical opinion:

"Another point regarding this language is the sound of it. Few would ever claim that it is pleasant to the ear, and I have had several Germans ask me something along the line of, “Doesn’t our language sound quite harsh?” My answer usually is, “Well, uh… since you’ve asked, actually yes!” I cannot ever imagine Khalil Gibran, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda, or Rumi weaving their literary tapestries in German. For example, even “I love you” can come out sounding like a command… “Ich liebe Dich!”.

http://www.thetimesharebeat.com/eddie/eddie45.htm

But if only you could hear the sound of this poem, you'd realize that there can be nothing more beautiful:

----

FRIEDRICH HÖLDERLIN

HÄLFTE DES LEBENS

Mit gelben Birnen hänget
Und voll mit wilden Rosen
Das Land in den See,
Ihr holden Schwäne,
Und trunken von Küssen
Tunkt ihr das Haupt
Ins heilignüchterne Wasser.

Weh mir, wo nehm ich, wenn
Es Winter ist, die Blumen, und wo
Den Sonnenschein,
Und Schatten der Erde?
Die Mauern stehn
Sprachlos und kalt, im Winde
Klirren die Fahnen.

http://www.teeweg.de/de/varia/hoelder/haelfte.html

The Middle of Life
The land with yellow pears and full of wild roses hangs down into the lake, you gracious swans, and drunk with kisses you dip your heads into the sacredly sober water.
Alas for me, where shall I get the flowers when it is winter and where the sunshine and shadow of earth? The walls stand speechless and cold, the weathervanes rattle in the wind.


[Edited at 2004-12-30 16:43]

[Edited at 2004-12-31 00:52]


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Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:00
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
My words don't obey me Dec 30, 2004

Meine Worte gehorchen mir nicht

Meine Worte gehorchen mir nicht
Kaum hör ich sie wieder mein Himmel
Dehnt sich will deinen erreichen
Bald wird er zerspringen ich atme
Schon kleine Züge mein Herzschlag
Ist siebnfach geworden schickt unaufhörlilch
Und kaum verschlüsselte Botschaften aus

-Sarah Kirsch- *1935 in Wernigerode,Germany

My words don’t obey me

My words don’t obey me
I hardly even hear them my skies
Are expanding trying to touch yours
Soon the skies will burst open already I am
Short of breath my heartbeat
Increased sevenfold forever sending out
Barely coded messages

[aka The Translator's Lament;)]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:00
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
'Ursonating' with Kurt Schwitters Dec 31, 2004

As an anarchist I've always loved the guy who said "the basis of poetry is not the word but the letter". Putting this into action, he collected the letter 'a' in all its typographical forms, put it together in a composition, and began to read it, being careful to distinguish the "personality" of one kind of 'a' from another. Along with Raoul Hausmann, he explored sound poetry in the Dadaist movement.

You might read the introduction to his poetic work, and try to read the Ursonate score itself. If you're musically inclined, you'll get the point - you'd probably even see Rap's great-grandfather

P.S.: I tried to post the direct link, but it seems you'll have to go to the homepage: http://www.ubu.com/

Use the search box by typing in 'Ursonate'.

[Edited at 2004-12-31 00:56]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:00
German to English
Metapoetry Dec 31, 2004

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.
Jean Cocteau

Examination: The Function of Art
Paul Roche

“Do you write poems to please
Or to tell the truth?” she asked.
“To tell the truth,” I said.
“In which I lie. Necessarily.
To make a wound
Differently (from science or knowledge).”
“Because of the lie?” she asked.
“Yes, and difficult.
I lie for art. Creating
something new.”…”A box,
Or house?” she said. “Yes new
But not a house exactly.
Exactly, art must speak.”
“Like what?” she said.
“Like what it’s like to be a human being.”
“I thought art was beautiful,” she said.
“Of course—by how it tells the truth:
Necessarily—by lying.”
“The truth’s not nice,” she said:
“Sometimes…Murder, incest, suicide.”
“Yes, sometimes Oedipus,” I said,
“But also dreams are real
Dreams. The lie
Illuminates to wound;
The wound, to please.
To please is art. To tease
Out essences…” “So, more
Than craft?” she said.
“Oh much, but craftly, subtle.
Even subtile. Difficult.
Too much lying,” I said,
“Makes only sunsets.
Too much truth, the dead
Grammar of a mirror.
There is no way to weight
The leap of an eye.
It’s not the seeing but the vision.
Not the lasting but the moment.
Not the murder but the passion.
Something like a lie. Yes.
Pretence. Beautifully. To be…
The truth.”

http://sunspark.com/classes/e3h/artpoems.html


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:00
English to Spanish
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TOPIC STARTER
Sandburg Jan 3, 2005

Languages


THERE are no handles upon a language
Whereby men take hold of it
And mark it with signs for its remembrance.
It is a river, this language,
Once in a thousand years
Breaking a new course
Changing its way to the ocean.
It is mountain effluvia
Moving to valleys
And from nation to nation
Crossing borders and mixing.
Languages die like rivers.
Words wrapped round your tongue today
And broken to shape of thought
Between your teeth and lips speaking
Now and today
Shall be faded hieroglyphics
Ten thousand years from now.
Sing—and singing—remember
Your song dies and changes
And is not here to-morrow
Any more than the wind
Blowing ten thousand years ago.

Carl Sandburg


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
And... Jan 21, 2005

But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think;
'Tis strange, the shortest letter which man uses
Instead of speech, may form a lasting link
Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces
Frail man, when paper - even a rag like this - ,
Survives himself, his tomb, and all that's his.

Lord Byron (Don Juan)


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