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Napowrimo IV

12 November 2011

Fourth poem

I tried this once at uni for a poetry class and it worked really well, so here it is again… I wrote a few verses in English, then translated it through an online translation machine to French, and then put the French version into the translator to get a new English version. I could translate it to French myself, but when the machine does it, there are some mistakes and nuances that make the new English version more interesting and surreal to read. I like it because it lets me look at the poem in a new way, because while I wrote it, it’s not the words I wrote.

Here is the new English version, tweaked slightly by me:

Our damp summer evenings, Pennsylvania
has given way to a plethora of delights—barefoot
in the grass green velvet, watermelon wedges
wider than my face, and the fireflies, oh, the fireflies!
Magical creatures appear and disappear into thick air,
their flight paths we followed by connecting
the dots between their blinks.
One of the small jets appeared on the clothesline,
then through the pine trees and near the woodpile.
Hundreds of them blink on and off
in the yard, creating their own
set of constellations, a backyard milky way.

Sweet child I was, my favourite game
to play after being hypnotized by their flashing,
was “slap the firefly.” After an illuminated
if you can guess the location in mid-flight and swing
palm of your hand at the thing hard enough, the bug has fallen
lay in the grass and blink bright for a few minutes,
fading out to a low-watt glimmer
that his life ended. Shameful to think what a joy
a child could get, killing for a moment of
extended light in the grass.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 12 November 2011 21:29

    This is a beautiful poem. I am going to use this translator idea of yours in a creative group I am in on Facebook. While I love poetry but suck at it, there are several who write like you do (meaning: great) and I can just imagine how much they will like this. May I post an excerpt of this one with a link back and credit to you to explain it?

    • 13 November 2011 16:47

      Wow, what a nice compliment. A link back would be great, you may indeed post an excerpt. Thanks!

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