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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: 24199

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: 397
Part of what makes poetry poetry is the ebb and flow of the wording. It can get lost in translation between languages.
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: [poetry] I have a question
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