Sunday 27 February 2011

Inherited Traits in German

Reason 1: Why I love Facebook
I wrote this poem some months back, someone told someone told someone, and here's a German translation. Hopefully, Mr.Lörner and I will collaborate further.


Translation by Karlheinz Lörner

She chopped vegetables by the window
for years,
watching her son grow.
The neighbours, his uncles, her lovers-
all the jigsaw bits of a father.

She chopped vegetables by the window
each day,
he grew taller and stronger and stranger,
in the image of his father,
forever earning, forever "abroad".

On the first day of his first job,
just for a moment nervous like the child,
he trembled at his mother.

Pulling a knot below his collar,
the stale scent of lavender sachets she put between clothes,
she looked into his eyes,
the eternal wall between them falling.
"You have your father's ties."

Vererbte Eigenschaften

Sie putzte Gemüse am Fenster
Jeden Tag.
Beobachtete das Heranwachsen des Sohnes
Die Nachbarn, die Onkel, ihre Liebhaber -
Alle Mosaikstückchen eines Vaters

Sie putzte Gemüse am Fenster

jeden Tag,
Er wuchs, wurde größer und stärker und fremder

Ein Abbild des Vaters
immer Geld, immer "draußen".

Am ersten Tag seiner ersten Arbeit,
war er einen Augenblick lang ein ängstliches Kind

fürchtete sich bei seiner Mutter.

Sie richtete ihm den Knoten

dieser Geruch nach verbrauchtem Lavendel in der Kleidung
sie sah ihm in die Augen
diese Wand aus einer Ewigkeit
"Du trägst die Krawatte wie dein Vater.“

Monday 14 February 2011

The Rock

What happens when you try to write in spite of the elephantine writers' block in the room? See.

Old Professor Murthy
Led a life quite sedentary.

What others thought of as excessively pious,
He believed was merely elementary.

He chipped away on rocks all day,
His lectures in class were pedantry.

One day he found
A pebble so round
And shiny and smooth and confusing!

Rushing home, heart a-flutter
His watchful speech a stutter,
His hitched dhoti altogether amusing.

"Kamala!" he cried,
His wife by his side,
"Look what I found! It's confounding!"

Not observing his find -
Not the observant kind -
Kamala leaned on the table.

Her hand crashing down
On what the professor had found;
His whimper was low and feeble.

Now old Professor Murthy
Leads a life quite sedentary.

His wife prays all day
Deflowering the jasmine tree.

Alas, what the professor thought was igneous
Was merely sedimentary.