On Poetry and Culture Shock

Translation and adaptation 3

Translation and adaptation 3 Again: the first one is an original, the second one is the literal Spanish translation, the third one is a Spanish adaptation that scans, from a haiku cycle that tells the story of a break-up.

Blue sky, blinding snow.
A lovely orchid withered
Left out in the cold.

Cielo azul, nieve cegadora.
Una orquídea preciosa se marchitó
Cuando la dejaron a la intemperie.

Nieve y cielo azul.
Las rosas se han quemado.
No las cuidaste.

I have said before that the English version is the closest I have come to a poem about my teenage years. Being a teenager was no fun; bullied for two or three years and being generally ignored for the rest. One of the highlights was a skiing trip that went better than any other school activity of the previous seven years: that’s were the blue sky and the snow come from. The other two lines are anachronistic, since they refer to the time that came before. The second Spanish version turns it all into a reproach for a neglectful partner that has nothing to do with the initial conception.

I was thinking of the orchid in the photo, one of Mapplethorpe masterpieces; the metaphor of woman-as-orchid is as evident as the teeth of pearl and the hair of gold, but thankfully it is not as overused.

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