On Poetry and Culture Shock

Translation and adaptation 2

The first one is an original, the second a literal translation and the third a less literal translation that fits the haiku pattern.

Tenderness has died.
Two fierce young bodies,
“Stirring memory and desire” (T. S. Eliot).

La ternura ha muerto.
Dos cuerpos jóvenes y feroces
“Removiendo el recuerdo y el deseo”

La ternura ya ha muerto.
Cuerpos feroces,
Puro deseo.

It was that little line that reconciled me with T. S. Eliot, about four or five years after my first introduction to him. It makes sense that the line came back to haunt me, since memory and desire make three quarters of my creative writing. I composed the original one, the English haiku, while I was driving to class. I had been thinking for weeks about writing a haiku around the quote. There is something in the tediousness of driving along the jammed A49 highway that switches my head off the road and on more creative things. Another reason why it took me long to write it was because my initial approach was nostalgic. I wanted to write a poem about remembering an old love when it’s completely over.

I think the second, shorter Spanish version is superior to the more faithful translation.

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