Monday, January 31, 2011

Venice Prayer

Why do I crave the fog,
a softened city silhouette?
Wrap me like a Russian nesting doll
in layers of mist that soak and sink;
Immerse me in damp whispers
and blur my outline into thick emerald lagoon,
bright, crisp stars twinkling above.

First published in Bear Creek Haiku. June 2013. Print and online.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Alaca Karanlık

Bana, bilmeceler karanlık bastırır.
Penceremden şarkı söylemeyi denerim,
ama alaca karanlık kent silueti, boğardı
ve şaşkınım.

To me, the puzzles grow darker.
I try to sing from my window,
but twilight drowned the skyline,
and I am distracted.

Erzurum, Turkey
January, 2011

Epilogue: I want to point out some interesting connotation differences between the two versions (this is the fun part of translating). Alaca karanlık, directly translated, means "darkness of varied colors" and connotes "twilight." Boğardı, directly translated not only means drowned, but also suffocated, strangled. Kent silueti, directly translated means city silhouette. So the direct translation of the third line is " The darkness of varied colors strangled the city silhouette."

My colleague gave the Turkish version to a class of 11th grade Turkish students, without showing them my English version. Here are their translations:

Riddles drown me in darkness.
I try to sing from my window,
but the twilight silhouette of the city, drowns me
I'm confused.

Riddles darken me.
I try singing out the window,
But the twilight silhouette of the city, suffocates,
and I'm puzzled.

To me, riddles bring darkness
I try to sing out my window
but the twilight silhouette of the city suffocates
and I am perplexed.

Riddles bring nightfall to me.
I try to sing out my window,
but the city silhouette at twilight, suffocates
and I'm amazed.

Riddles imply darkness upon me,
I try to sing out my window
But the silhouette of the twilight city drowns,
Surprises me...