Monday, June 19, 2017

Wretched Pen-Pusher Or

Wretched Pen-Pusher Or

I shake the handle. Ring the bell.
The door is locked to me.
I need a key to get
inside J.K. Huysmans’
Against the Grain.

Here I sit with both
an American and an
English translation.
Some French words and phrases
too pregnant and succulent,
magical locks require
magical keys.

Each translator unlocks
I cherry pick some
enchanted juxtapositions that the
translators offer as their
interpretations of the writer’s intent.

A shower of sparks
the abuse of miracles
groans and grimaces
a taste for the marvelous
enchantments of style

black mercury ointment
languorous dejection
delightful sadness
shameless gyration
feverishly awaiting

a god who protects scoundrels
humdrum happiness
delicately tinted soap bubbles

a handful of poets sparkled
achieved through artifice
impact of galoshes

Two translations
neither more correct than
the other, each in their own way
enchanting and colorful.

Fiddle-faddle versus mish-mash
And twaddle
festive or voluptuous
like fire versus red hot needles
besotted or befuddled

the weather went from bad to worse
the weather was becoming very unsettled

This pitiable autumn or this lamentable autumn
moralizing nonsense or balderdash
Wishy-washy or ho hum

wretched pen-pusher or scribbler
or one who lackadaisically slaps the keyboard
not of a piano forte,
but his laptop

Wretched pen-pusher that I am

Sandy Kinnee

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