for Dick Higgins
in memor I am
[translator’s note. In 2002 I was asked to contribute to Alec Finlay’s edition of translations by several hands of Paul Celan’s poem “Irisch.” While working on my translation (which duly appeared in the second volume, Irisch (2), Edinburgh 2002), I began to work on other dimensions of the poem, then of other Celan poems. The present homeophonic translations are one result. By homeophonic translation I mean: listening to the sound of the [in this case German] poem until you hear it in English – the result, the poem heard, no doubt “says” a “different” thing from the “original.” Those quoted words are all questionable, more question than answer, I mean. So here are some of my hearings of Celan poems. They are, in effect, translations into Earish. A reference in italics at the end of each poem identifies those reproduced below as all coming from Celan’s book Fedensonnen here heard heading towards English.]
WILD YOU THEN NOTE SHARING FONDEST
in the view’s tongue
rune the shattered yards hounded a neighbor to rouse
and hay run thick thank him
Feel like it’s a war,
dash here the freed of twice failed curb’s rock
out tone ― go face them.
THE STREAKER, salt’s washer, clomb
grove’s keynote in dismal
gate and knickers off
Off the shudder see grass down even
in anchor shot and
naked as number dares
Give me this vague wreck
Give me this vague wreck
heave her the corn’s teacher to die in his laugh
this vague wreck
heave her down laugh’s path
this wreck that his story’s taken on
on hurts hung
THE TWISTED NINE
gone haggled to hill freevexed
the numb unblue
the glaciermilk cart
the foal vixen again dour
thus swimming the seal
ear her unbearable un-
SPADE. Unswam eager fetish
buys stitch the sopping fun Christ bomb,
off gay rowed fun
frost spree kin
hipped from womb shy noon neck,
day’s fence star flees off, where sand rouses,
neat even so bring him
the hovel there sign,
I need cup lasting, a
deep unafraid walker ―
coaches art one seeks there, over
DO WARS mean death
thick Kant I called them
weary of all it unfeels
DARES OUT A SHOCKED HEADED HEARSE
daring she goes feel install earring
groves shy mast forty
ALL DYING SEAGULLS ARE BROKEN? NAY.
Gay verse ether oak
see, the brief
hoofing took her:
that the well, the hornet
fern, the milk
the mood she tours clock be awayed,
the clock be dumb mood, weed her,
that she nicked oak
then elect throne dear idiot and
speak low, the dottle
for a biter too for
many take a long dying
The unstirred bleak kite’s if a fawn-high hayrick
dame fear them in
den, she’ll gird a needle key fixed
her n’t a Leah dish
hinter seek here.------------
EYING A HIM HILL tempest
lock in. Arm
enter knocked it them
The lid’s slack reflex averring
the hip begone
tomorrow’s two for
EDGE LOCKED, edge locked.
When weary at semester’s veering
blond cats going we to malls
allowing gone to
no outgone glued long Paris
though arctic is a steer
came again sprung and
under crooned emit on his sighing horn or
under tease to his tease to.
that opening line first piece "sings" !
as do the others...
seems to me soundings trump literality ?
"listen to the sound until you hear the English"
then "sing" unto the Erotic ?
[...] the brief
hoofing took her:
a line like
"day's fence star flees off, where sand rouses,"
image makes in me
sld be made that second "on" be
or is second "on" even necessary ?
not to beat-a-dead-horse stopped me never, so
was just 'playing' with a line from a Goethe poem ("Gefunden"):
Nun zweigt es immer
which the translator translates as
Now it keeps branching out
which google automatically translates as
Now it always zweight
and which I go with
Now breaching-out is always
as Pound said and as Wai-lim Yip has it opening (in Preface) his CHINESE POETRY:
"Wrong from the start!"
something rot REALLY stay for groundings in the sounds of as psalms are sing ?
so pardon my me just poking around
firstly into Radu Ioanid's The Holocaust in Romania & then back
into my Celan "stash"
(pardoning my 'me' for diverging on)
should be "branching"?
or do branches also breach ?
I once did a similar sort of 'earish' poetry for medieval latin texts. The result wasn't a homeophonic 'translation'of a particular text but a completely different poem. What I heard (and by 'hearing' I mean making a consistently random selection of phrases as my eye roved over the original) was something more akin to a syntax of 'translation' embodied in an original piece that, though derivative, still managed to lie moored off the coast, still faintly visible.
I always wodered in what sense the original medieval text acted as cause to the new poem. What seemed to be caught was a 'crystallization' of time, time not as past but as contemporaneous to the present act of translation. Perhaps this is what Deleuze mean't by "time-image" in his Cinema 2 work.
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