translation quiz

Icelandic poet Árni Ibsen did a wonderfully intriguing thing for the Poetryetc list last week. He translated all our weekly snapshots into Icelandic - without any lineation, to make it less obvious, then we all had to guess which was which.

I'm posting his translation below of just my snapshot poem and then my original underneath. The translation doesn't have the postscript of time and place, by the way:

eins og það sé formið sem skiptir máli hann plokkar flagnandi kalk af veggnum hvað þá með línurnar mínar og teygjur hörundsins stundum henta bílar götunni gætilega hér eru engin rétt horn sem heimta fullkomnun þau brutu greinar hlynsins og birtan æpir inn köttur nágrannans vill ekki þiggja mína huggun tungumál dagsins myndast við að koma spánskt fyrir sjónir hann dreifir mynt eftir stærð til talningar í för minni sum blöð ganga frá hægri til vinstri tefja mig ætíð bugður þínar ég sný út til skýjanna

as if it's form that matters

he picks peeling plaster from the wall

then what of my lines and spans in skin

cars fit the street sometimes gingerly

there are no right angles here asking perfection

they broke the branches of the maple and light cries in

the cat next door won't accept my consolation

today's language shapes up greek

he spreads coins by size to count in my journey

some papers move right to left

your curves will always detain me

I turn out to the clouds

Marrickville, 9.35am, Wed 27 October


Andrew Burke said…
... and he did them so fast! Perhaps we can get him to do a book of Australian poetry for Iceland ... featuring us, of course, and others ... :-) I can't fully track the verbs etc, but it seems their syntax is in a different configuration than ours -

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