Allow me to introduce a small anthology of world poetry,
as translated by the Google Search Engine Beta Translator, with only the
slightest editing on my part.
I find this machine translation a charming
surrealist game, fun to play, especially since so many of the world's
non-English poets are so poorly and so prosaically translated. Try it
yourself--Do a Google search on your favorite non-English-language poet,
and click "Translate this page," and then cut and paste.
Part of the fun is that in spite of the strange
juxtaposition of words and scrambling of sense, the literal translation
the Google software produces also coughs up lines of serendipitous clarity
that are better than any supposed scholars' rendering. But it seems to
me that poetry translation is the first refuge of incompetents and hacks
with their own agenda. It is a species of literary fraud opposite yet
apposite to plagiarism: the translator borrows the name and uses the work
as his soapbox to the poetic masses. Rilke is frequently a victim of this
sort of Englishing, due to his "spiritual" bent and notoriously
Another plus is that these "Googles,"
as I call them, cause great offense in people who worship "the greats"
of poetry the way Catholics venerate saints. Such a wailing and knashing
of keyboards. One local poet accused me of "shirking the real difficulties
of the art of poetry." Well, duh. A Google is cosmic kitsch as instant
as Tang or Sanka. It works precisely because it shirks the real difficulties.
As my friend Gene says, "WHEN ONE HAS ART
ITSELF, ONE CAN DISPENSE WITH THE PICKLES HANGING FROM THE RIB ENDS OF
Those are Gene's caps by the way--If there
was a crayon font, he'd use that.
One last note on Google itself. Google is
the homepage on my browser, and that is because it has become part of
my brain. My memory, to be precise. I no longer rack my middle-aged head
for names, dates, or quotes, because a Google search can find it faster
than I can remember it. To echo Phillip K. Dick, "Google can remember
it for me, wholesale."
Googles by San Juan de la Cruz
Oh nymphs of Judea,
whereas in the flowers
and rose perfumed amber,
you populate the suburbs,
and you do not want to touch our thresholds.
that already our vine is bloomed,
whereas of roses
we make a fragmentation hand grenade,
and he does not appear nobody in the countryside.
By the pleasant
and song of sirens you spell
that your wraths stop
and you do not touch to the wall,
because the wife sleeps, more insurance.
if in those your silver-plated semblances
you formed suddenly
the wished eyes
that I have in my drawn entrails!
* * *
Underneath the apple tree,
there with me you were newlywed;
there I gave the hand you,
and you were repaired
where your mother was violet.
Our flowery bed,
of cave of lions connected,
in dyed purple,
of built peace,
of thousand crowned gold shields.
To rear of your track
the young people cross the way,
to the flash touch,
to the marinated wine,
emissions of divine balsam.
In the inner warehouse
of my beloved I drank, and, when it left
by all requested fertile valley,
thing already did not know,
and the cattle I lost that before it followed.
There it gave its chest me,
there it taught very flavorful science to me,
and I gave him in fact
to me, without leaving thing;
there I promised to him of being its wife.
Google by Eugenio Montale
The baroque convent
of foam and of biscotti
it shaded a water end disc of a valve
and imbroiled tables, scattered here and here
of leaves and ginger.
Emerged a swimmer, ground under
one cloud of muscatel,
churches of our travel,
it spoke to its beyond border.
It pointed out the bridge in face that is passed
(it informed) with a toll solo.
It greeted with the hand, it sinked,
it was the same current...
And to its place,
outrider jumped from one remittance
a festive dachshund that latrine,
fraternal voice within the sultriness.
The storm that strops on the leaves
hard of magnolia the long thunders
marzipan and the hail,
(the crystal sounds in your nest
nocturne strange to you, of the gold
that is extinguished on the mahoganies, on the cut
of the books it binds to you, still burns
one sugar grain in the shell
of your eyelids)
the lightning bolt that incandesces
trees and wall and surprises them in that one
eternity of moment - marble manna
and destruction - within you carved
ports for your sentence and alloys
more than the love to me, strange sister, -
and then the crash rude,
of the tamborine on the fossil fruit,
scalping of the fandango, and over
some gesture that reels...
you addressed and with the hand clear
the forehead from the cloud of hats,
you greeted me - in order to enter in the buoy.
Google by Marina Tsvetaeva
On the stairs by shaking.
Faces under the putty.
Short. the fairy tale:
Neither tomorrow nor how do you do.
On the stairs of unsteady,
On the stairs of avid.
In the house, where they do not sleep at night,
Each stair is waterfall.
stew of the leaves of cabbage!
Accurately stairs entire/all of it is trigger,
It is accurately more (that. to live! to live. to burn!)
Partings on it, than encounters.
Thus, to the pink of mouths to fall greedily upon.
We now and then forget: how do you do.
The same of mouths leaving edge.
Who. when. he forgot: good-bye.
On the stairs of sensitive,
On the stairs of gullible.
From the culpable to the culpable
On the stairs of the urgent
Bread of the tenderness of destiny.
You know the sermon
That. it will eat.
It is dear in the benches!
It is emaciated. it is enterprising.
To sleep is possible tomorrow,
There is necessarily nowadays.
In the vital crush.
To take is possible tomorrow,
To give is necessary nowadays.
By explosion gas
That. it will give.
It will give!
(it is nowadays sharp-toothed
Gas) since for us
It will give! (tiger and panther),
(colors of composite,
Pravda...) Garlic, tomcats.
And in the black.
They love candy-
Worms of smallnesses!
Poet, bomb thrower, the Apache
On the stairs of friable.
As violin, as knoll,
As sweaty pile.
It works. furnace/heating!
Oh, it would fall and would fall!
It chewed up, rot, resinol!
Table. as there is the relative:
And in our
Stairs. the map/chart/card of dishes.
All types diet!
And in this stairs. Fraternizning.
Sleep It conveyed in the old times!
Gammas/ranges of the smells
>From the basement. to
Roofs. they cook!
Gammas/ranges of smells!
Stop up noses!
It is accurately in hell beaten,
It is incandesced. the screw/propeller
Which the pile
Feet. from the stairs
Two. the bone yes of rag.
Feet. with the stairs of the unsteady
It is quiet. Even. the cough
And in our
Stairs are their hour
The darkness erased everything
And contamination, and us.
And in the black
Stairs are their hour
Rhine, which collapsed from the Alps.
Waters against the asphalt
Above the court. it is figured:
There cross, there cluster...
And in the black
Stairs. the map/chart/card of stars.
Google by Arturo Rivera
The fingers in the piano, exercising
itself. The brush in the neck,
exercising itself. The light on the
fabric, exercising itself. The life with
the death, exercising itself. The love
and the forgetfulness, in a tiny circle,
Sight the picture of the bone, says
the voice that leaves the computer. It
observes the Municipal Palace with
his flag without shining colors and that
reddish seat where it only can go
through a guillotine. The price to go
into can be that they cut the head off.
And that dead animal, I ask to him?
- is a lamb with wood legs,
it responds to me. Nature between
parenthesis. Ballast without sun.