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[poetry] I have a question

Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
I was told by a man whose opinion I can�t but respect that Brodsky in English translation can�t hold a candle to himself in Russian. I said I enjoy his English poems as much as Russian, he said �it�s because you are Russian�. Can you tell me, what�s wrong with this one, for example? (Just for example).

Epitaph for a Centaur

To say that he was unhappy is either to say too much
or too little: depending on who�s the audience.
Still, the smell he�d give off was a bit too odious,
and his canter was also quite hard to match.
He said, They meant just a monument, but something went astray:
the womb? the assembly line? the economy?
Or else, the war never happened, they befriended the enemy,
and he was left as it is, presumably to portray
Intransigence, Incompatibility � that sort of things which proves
not so much one�s uniqueness or virtue, but probability.
For years, resembling a cloud, he wandered in olive groves,
marveling at one-leggedness, the mother of immobility.
Learned to lie to himself, and turned it into an art
for want of a better company, also to check his sanity.
And he died fairly young � because his animal part
turned out to be less durable than his humanity.
[ October 16, 2005: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]

Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24189

My armchair criticism: the images are poetic, but much of the linguistic trappings of "poetry" are missing here: no alliteration, or verse, or onomatopoeia. There is some rhyme, but it's almost Seussian and hardly counts.

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John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
... that Brodsky in English translation can�t hold a candle to himself in Russian.

I thought that "Epitaph for a Centaur" was originally written in English, so it's not a translation. That aside, I do agree with EFH: that poem flows like belleslettres, not like a poem.
M Burke
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 25, 2004
Posts: 391
Part of what makes poetry poetry is the ebb and flow of the wording. It can get lost in translation between languages.
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
subject: [poetry] I have a question
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