Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Agh! Poetry drafts.

I know there are people who just seem to think in poetry, who pin beautiful words and phrases onto a page and then move them about into a harmonious and beautiful form. I'm not one of the those. However, one useful tip I can pass on to those of you who share my struggles: Translate roughly 150 words at a time through babelfish, into French (for lyricism) or Italian (for wit) or even Russian if you just want to go earthy and sexual. Then cut and paste the result and translate back into English - you find some lovely ideas and words. 'The Gathering Tree' becomes (somehow) 'l' sourcilleux tree', which somehow found my intention, to try and describe the magical congregation of rooks and jackdaws in a tree on the ridge opposite our house. (It actually means 'beetle-browed' but for me will be the sorcerer's tree). The innocent sounding 'And clouds of inky rags approach from the east / Spiralling to the valley floor, brushing the brook / With feathery fingers, then riding the wind up, / Up to the ridge, to land in the Gathering tree.' became 'and the clouds of inky of rags moor from the east Of [zakruchivayushch] into the spiral to the sex of valley, cleaning [ruek] by brush [pri] feathery of finger, after this wind upward, to the ridge, to the earth in gathering the shaft.' Via a bit of Russian. This is why I like writing poetry, I've remembered.

1 comment:

  1. What an excellent process. There must be an opportunity to design a system that will do the whole process of translation automatically.
    Love it.

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